Smoke signals at Woodinville Fire

  • Written by Don Mann
In its continuing effort to reduce costs as revenue streams continue to dry up, the Woodinville Fire & Rescue Board of Commissioners wielded its axe last Monday at its regularly scheduled meeting to eliminate two of its own.

Deputy Fire Chief Mario Acosta and Emergency Manager Dee Totten, as of 24 hours later, were no longer employed by WF&R and had left the building.

They learned about it officially and impersonally at the public meeting as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Joan Montegary read from a prepared statement.

“We did what we had to do,” board chair Tim Osgood said. “I don’t think any of the commissioners enjoyed doing it.”

He said no one was fired. He called it “reorganization.”

Acosta, a 25-year fire service veteran, was brought in by former chief I. David Daniels two years ago to oversee the district’s Safety/Risk Management section.

His brief tenure, like Daniels’, was tumultuous, met early and often by opposition from Local 2950, the firefighters’ then-union.

Daniels, brought in to clean house after the ouster of the previous chief, was relieved of his duties in September 2011.

Mark Chubb, then one of two deputy chiefs, became interim fire chief.

Chubb has since gone on record saying he does not seek the permanent position.

Totten’s position was created by Daniels.

According to the district’s website, she had 18 years of experience in her field.

Montegary remains the sole survivor of the Daniels’ regime.

Woodinville and Bothell firefighters voted recently to create one union, now known as Local 2099.

A major change in local fire management operations appears to be on the horizon.

It’s being referred to as “regionalization.”

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