Former chief drops discrimination claim after WF&R board sweetens his pot

  • Written by Don Mann
Former Woodinville Fire & Rescue chief I. David Daniels agreed to withdraw his formal discrimination charge against the fire district after the WF&R board of commissioners agreed to add an additional three months to his severance package — tantamount to about $40,000.

Daniels signed off on the revised separation agreement October 19 and has officially “resigned” from his post after 18 turbulent months culminating in a vote of no confidence by the firefighters’ union, IAFF Local 2950.

According to board chair Tim Osgood, the district found itself between a rock and a hard place with the exorbitant cost of litigation necessary to repel the charges.

In fact, the board seems to consider the revised settlement a sound business decision.

“It would be purely speculative to try to predetermine the total cost of defending our actions in the Daniels matter,” Osgood said in an email when asked if it would have cost the district at least $40,000 to defend the discrimination claim filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by Daniels on Sept. 19.

“What helped guide our decision was our experience defending the wrongful termination lawsuit filed by our previous chief and other recent personnel matters.”

He added: “Any matters of litigation involve investigations, the need for outside legal counsel, increases in personnel costs and the very real cost of lost productivity within the organization. We believe the increase in the settlement offer was fair and equitable for both sides and allows us to continue our rebuilding process.”

Daniels has been on paid administrative leave since August 9.

According to the revised separation agreement, Daniels’ last day of employment will be November 9, 2011.

In addition to nine months of severance pay at his present salary rate, the district will continue to provide the former chief’s health insurance for the duration, will reimburse his education expenses not exceeding $9,500 and will pay out over $38,000 for all vacation and holiday time he accrued but did not use.

Daniels and the board issued a joint press release stating the following: “Woodinville Fire & Rescue’s Fire Chief/CEO I. David Daniels has offered his resignation effective November 9, 2011, and the District’s Board of Fire Commissioners has accepted his resignation.

“Chief Daniels’ objective since his arrival at the District in January 2010 has been to implement the goals and directives of the District’s Board of Fire Commissioners. He has worked tirelessly and successfully to do so.

“Chief Daniels has taken thoughtful action to address numerous challenges and significant changes prompted by annexations and the resulting reductions in revenue. He has also assembled a superlative executive team to manage the District’s administrative affairs.

“Under the current circumstances, because his objective at all times has been to serve the interests of the District to the best of his abilities, the Chief offered his resignation.

“The Chief’s efforts and accomplishments have been greatly appreciated by the District’s Board.”

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