MARCH 17, 1997
Special Session for Fire Board
by Al Hooper
On March 13, the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District Commissioners met in a special session. Highlighting the meeting was a speech by the District's attorney, Clark Snure. Citing portions of State law, Snure detailed the conditions under which the District could lawfully spend its money in defending against the recall of Chairman Ben May and Commissioners Don Leggett and Dave Callon.
As each of the three Commissioners asked the Board to cover his costs of defense, the Board voted to accept the burden of defense, with each of the three abstaining from voting on his own request. Chairman May adjourned the meeting immediately afterwards. Earlier, May opened the meeting by reading a prepared statement to the audience, prefacing it with the admonition the meeting was "not a forum for debate about the recall."
Highlights of his following personal comments were "that each charge is categorically false," "two to six citizens are at the root of these charges, not the community at large," and "the charges are the result of innuendo, editorial conjecture, false claims, and are not backed up by any evidence." May said, "I've never seen a small number of people take such an unusual interest in every detail of a fire district. I'm sure that there are more things to do in this city than study the movements of Fire Commissioners." May then finished with a recounting of the excellence of the Department, and assurances that the "District has never been run in a more professional manner, and has never been on more sound financial footing in all of its previous years."
In other business before the Board, Chief Steve Smith gave an overview of the Capital Improvement Budget and noted some items were repairs and not improvements or upgrades and should be dropped. The Board directed Smith to prepare a breakdown of costs for either fixing the current roof or replacing it on Station 33. This was done so that the money for the chosen option could be approved from the proper account. Commissioner Callon stated that it was his "opinion that the Board would not like to be put in the position of having to make financial decisions that would appear to be improper."
The volunteer support organization was discussed concerning a possible restructuring to remove them from the "hot zone" during fire calls due to concerns about gear, training, and preparedness.
Chief Smith advised the Board that he has one Fire Chief and two Deputy Chiefs from other Districts prepared to sit on a panel to determine who will fill the positions of Deputy Chief and Deputy Fire Marshall for the District.The panel's recommendation is expected within two months.