Union owes community an apology | Letter to the Editor

I was impressed last week at the OI Fire Commission meeting. I feel very fortunate we have such a highly qualified commission. I have seen many commissions and this one by far brings the most knowledge and experience. Our department typically has its up and downs. When Tim, Jim, and Rick became commissioners I took a back seat because I knew we were in good hands. Their qualifications have been unmatched by any previous boards. These three have decades of experience from being a fire chief in two large metropolitan cities, the CHCO for the USSS, and a business financial and operations consultant for corporations across the US. Janet brings valuable experience in HR and Wes brings business experience and community involvement. This board is not only looking out for the public’s interest in how our taxpayer dollars are being spent, they also are willing to share their expertise with the department and are trying to do the right thing for everyone.

I feel the union owes this community an apology. We have had enough fear and anxiety. Their unfounded accusations have only brought more fear and anxiety to our fragile community. Boards are bound by state law and when they have done their investigations there will be full disclosure.

As for comments made by past commissioners this board is managing our tax dollars in a transparent and conservative way and would never cover up the shenanigans that have taken place in the past. When an overtime payroll of $70,000 was discovered, they questioned it. Hence, the union’s actions.

Being a nice person isn’t a qualification for a board position. Boards have different needs at different times. I believe this board should continue its work. I know and trust that the community will get all the answers they are waiting for when it is appropriate. I am voting for Wes, and I cannot really say he is a friend of mine, but I do consider Patrick a friend. This is not a popularity contest.

I also believe that it is inexcusable for the allegations being said against our chief without any documentation, he deserves an apology.

Leith Templin

Orcas Island