New fire chief in town — sort of

  • Written by Don Mann
Woodinville Fire & Rescue announced it selected another interim fire chief — interim being the operative word.

New interim Chief Mark Risen, a member of the Bellevue Fire Department, will replace WF&R Deputy Chief Mark Chubb, who stepped in incidentally for former chief Dave Daniels, who was ousted from the job in August 2011, following a tumultuous stay in town culminating in a vote of no confidence by the firefighter union, and later his resignation, or rather a “separation agreement.”

Daniels, who later claimed racism charges and accepted a legal settlement amounting to three months pay plus extra benefits, replaced previous chief Dennis Johnson, who was fired by the commissioners’ board after four years of duty in 2009 for alleged underperformance, a charge specified by then-fire commissioner and board chair Clint Olson.

Olson, soon thereafter lost his re-election bid to the board in a trouncing, to former Woodinville firefighter Mark Emery, now a fire commissioner.

Johnson, like Daniels, later gained a legal settlement.

Chubb, a deputy chief hired by Daniels, had expressed way back he did not seek the permanent job as fire chief.

Woodinville Fire board member Jim Dorney, hand-picked by the board to replace  longtime member Bob Miller, who resigned abruptly and with stern opinions six months ago, was a Bellevue firefighter for 30 years and was directly involved with the hire.

Risen is a 30-year Bellevue firefighter, who will assume the interim job, according to Community Services Officer David Weed, on December 17 and will gain the post for no longer than six months. In an unusual agreement, Risen will be paid his annual BFD salary henceforth by WF&R, plus a 5 percent increase, reportedly.

Former Interim Fire Chief Chubb, apparently out of town according to his bounced-back email response, was unavailable for comment.

There has been no indication from the WF&R board when a permanent fire chief will be introduced.

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