This is the first in an interview series by Don Mann with candidates for the WFLSD Board of Commissioners
Why are you running for office?
Two reasons: For the past 13 years I’ve worked hand-in-glove with the fire department. They come in here frequently and it’s been a very close relationship. I have an enormous amount of respect for them — they have a high level of integrity and they’re very committed to customer service.
And I feel that the dismissal of Dennis Johnson was unwarranted. I think it was very costly and inappropriate. I’m not an attorney so I can’t say whether or not it was legal but I believe that the current board of commissioners is confused about their role. Their role is to establish the ‘what.’ And it’s the fire chief’s job to establish the ‘how.’ In my opinion the current board is muddying up the waters.
What are the most important issues?
The first one is that they need a leader. Second, the personnel need to be supported with training, efficiency and clear-cut roles.
How would you propose to tighten the fiscal belt without cutting services?
Well, they go through fire chiefs like fire wood around here, which I don’t understand. That should be a 20-year job. It’s a great job and a great community — why wouldn’t it be a 20-year job? But as commissioner I’d take a hard look at the money spent hiring and firing a fire chief, and the money spent hiring a consultant to fire the chief. Those kind of expenditures are ludicrous and unnecessary.
There’s talk about joining forces with another department to share a fire chief. What are your thoughts?
It may make perfect sense but it takes a lot of involvement with city planners, all the different boards, managers, union reps ... It’s worth looking at but it’s a comprehensive plan that will take time. In the meantime, the fire district needs a leader.
There’s also a question of the Kirkland annexation, which would shrink the fire district by 10 percent and reduce jobs. What are your thoughts?
You have to look at the numbers. Do they warrant that? It may make perfect sense to lose 10 percent of your revenue, but do you save 10 percent or more in expenses? It has to be efficient and it has to make sense. We may lose a couple jobs — let’s be real. But we still have to provide the level of service that people have come to expect.
What can be improved?
Credibility, transparency, reality, practicality. Not game-playing and managing by ego. This whole thing about firing the chief is a bizarre concept and I don’t understand it. There’s no room in management for ego. I went to these meetings and asked how this could go on and they just sat there and said we don’t have to answer your question. If I spent $50,000 and was asked if that money was spent well, I’d be looking for another job. If I did that in the private sector and we went to court, they’d laugh me out of town.
• Resident of Woodinville for 11 years.
• Employment: General Manager of Brittany Park
• Education: Studied Business at the University of Alaska-Anchorage
• Personal: I'm unmarried and have a daughter (21) and a nephew (23)
• Civit Involvement: Woodinville Chamber of Commerce (Brittany Park has been named Business of the Year - twice) Rotary Club. Board Member for Cascadia Community College Foundation. Board Member Northshore Scholarship Foundation. Involved with DECA at WHS.