Disappointed with Orcas Fire | Letter

Disappointed with Orcas Fire

For the past 30 years I have been on various boards and committees (public and private) that have dealt with board development, community visionary, strategic planning and tax district budgeting.

I have never during all that time witnessed a board or commission make such a gross error in judgment as our two fire commissioner’s did on Monday, Oct. 3.

Two weeks prior to that announcement, at the monthly fire district meeting, I was so encouraged, as well as many other attendees, to see what great candidates had come forward to fill the vacant commissioner’s seat. I was also very encouraged to hear the support from the audience in support of expanding the commission to 5 members. All five candidates would be a good and necessary fit for the expansion. However, only two Tim Fuller and Jim Helminski have what the commission so desperately needs at this moment.

The budget needs to be approved at the November meeting. There have been no public workshops or discussion on our two million dollar budget. Normally that starts in September. They are in the middle of hiring a new chief, negotiating a union contract and a lawsuit. Tim Fuller and Jim Helmninki are the ones that could provide the guidance and experience in making these decisions. Tim being a retired fire chief would be especially helpful in understanding the fire budget and hiring a new chief. Amanda could have been a good choice back in March or on a stable five member board but not right now.

This current commission had had to cancel two public meetings this year (never happened before) due to lack of a quorum because of a commissioner on vacation. We need commissioners that are committed to being here and willing to work with and understand the Washington State Open Meeting Act. Recently they had to admit that they broke the law regarding this act.

We need a five member commission and yes it will cost us tax payers to get it on the ballot the first of the year but I bet not nearly as much as the costly mistakes between hiring a new chief, contract negotiations and a lawsuit and a new budget. So disappointed.

Leith Templin

Orcas Island