Bedell for fire commission | Letters

The Islands Sounder (Oct. 11, 2017) featured the Nov. 7, 2017, election race for Orcas Fire Commissioner no. 3, the position held by Barbara Bedell since her 2009 appointment to a vacancy, followed by her 2011 election for a full six-year term.

Opposing candidate Ed Sutton wrote that he is running “to offer the community a choice and a new face on the OIFR Board,” and also that “two terms in any particular position are sufficient.” Actually, Commissioner Bedell has served 1.3 terms and is now running for her second full term; so by Sutton’s own standard, Orcas has not yet enjoyed “sufficient” Bedell service. We agree wholeheartedly.

As for “new faces,” in February 2017 voters just expanded the Orcas Board of Fire Commissioners from three to five commissioners, and one of the original three positions was recently vacated by a retirement and filled with a new appointed commissioner. So, given the arrival of three new commissioners already in 2017, this November election needs to secure not a fourth “new face”, but rather the proven leadership, memory, public confidence, and continuity required on this important Orcas board in a time of transition. For all of these Barbara Bedell is the ideal candidate.

In her eight years as Orcas Fire Commissioner, Barbara Bedell has proven her teamwork and leadership skills. She served as the lead Commissioner for three of those years, has chaired or attended scores of documented public meetings, has helped to recruit and hire the last two permanent Orcas fire chiefs, has actively helped construct one OIFR five-year plan and eight annual OIFR budgets, and has worked through many difficult OIFR financial, personnel, policy, facility and equipment decisions. Hers is not just experience, but proven, critical, and specific experience in this important Orcas public post.

In this time of board transition, Orcas is indeed fortunate to have Barbara Bedell running for re-election to the Orcas Fire Commissioner no. 3 position. Please join us in voting for Barbara Bedell.

Norm & Christy Zimlich

Deer Harbor