"Gerry’s been involved with the district for a long time," WF&R board chair Tim Osgood said. "He’s been a regular attendee of commissioners’ meetings and is knowledgeable and passionate about the issues. We think he’ll be a great fit."
Vucci sat down with the Woodinville Weekly recently for a Q & A session:
WW: How long have you lived in Woodinville?
GV: I’ve been a resident for 13 years, since 1998.
WW: Where are you employed?
GV: I am a technical service representative for Sound Propeller Systems LLC in Seattle. We work on propulsion systems for large vessels including Washington State ferries.
WW: What is your experience related to fire service?
GV: Other than being a volunteer in Southern California for many years I was the lead advisor for the Woodinville Fire Explorer program and I ran their firefighter rehabilitation program for four and a half years. I’m also a CERT instructor.
WW: What types of things were you asked in your interview?
GV: Mostly it dealt with finance and what’s ahead in the district as far as what we can finance and what we can’t, and what were my priorities. There were no definitives. It wasn’t like ‘If you had $700,000 what would you spend it on?’ There was also a question related to the Medic One levy, the basic life support provided by King County, and what would happen if that went away. They were generalities to see if you’re paying attention to what’s going on in the current economic climate in relation to the current economic climate of the district.
WW: These are challenging days at the district. What makes this job attractive to you?
GV: I’ve probably been to almost every commissioner meeting in maybe five years ... One of the things I said at the beginning of my interview is service is a calling and I like to serve. Like I said, if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem. Sitting here at meetings and watching the progression — the good and the bad — I threw my hat in the ring.
WW: What was your reaction to the union’s no confidence vote?
GV: I was surprised ... As much as I’m informed of what’s going on in the district I didn’t see it coming. I’ve tried to be unbiased — I have a lot of friends in the district and those friends are important to me. But to me it looked like they’d had enough, and whether they were or were not getting the response (they wanted) I believe that’s why they did it.
The hard part for me is we only get to see one side. We don’t have all the information. I wasn’t involved in the executive sessions or the other meetings between labor and management and the commissioners. But I’ll reiterate: I was surprised. Personally I can understand why they did it because I believe they had had enough.
WW: Do you know the chief personally?
GV: Just briefly through the meetings. We were introduced. The first year he was here I changed his air pack at the firefighter stair climb, but my only real interaction has been at the commissioner meetings. So, no, I wouldn’t say I know him personally.
WW: Some say district morale is at an all-time low. How does that change?
GV: It has to change from within, where everyone is working together.
There are struggles in everyday life, especially with this economy ... but it has to be a good place to work. There are extremely talented people here, and I was fortunate to be around them for a long time. But there has to be something positive about going to work and it doesn’t seem labor is enjoying coming to work. I can’t tell you why but the animus is palpable and there must be some reasons for it ... but it takes two or three to tango and it can’t be all commissioners, all management or all labor.
WW: How does it feel to be on the other side of the dais?
GV: I was extremely nervous the first night, I’ll admit it. Most of that was because I didn’t have a pen or a pad and they swore me in immediately and suddenly I was sitting up front after sitting in the back row all those years ... But I don’t mind that. Teaching in front of CERT classes or community service events I don’t have a problem being in front of people. It’s just not where I prefer to be. I’m a working guy; I like to work.