Northwest NEWS

July 27, 1998

Front Page

Policeman named fire commissioner


Sgt. Clint Olson

New appointment process used

   by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--By daytime he polices the streets of Woodinville, and, now, by nighttime, he'll be ensuring local firefighters have what they need to battle fires and save lives.
   Woodinville Police Sgt. Clint Olson was appointed to the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District Board of Commissioners by a 4-0 vote last week.
   Olson, 54, fills former commissioner Ben May's chair. He was nominated by first-term electee Tim Osgood after the board solicited applicants and reviewed resumes over the past few weeks.
   "With my experience in government and police work, I'll bring a little more understanding of government operations," Olson said.
   "We all think he'll bring a needed dimension to the board which meshes his experience with the district as well as his long term community involvement," said Osgood.
   Olson, a Woodinville resident since 1983, was a volunteer firefighter with the district from '84 to '92. For the past 29 years, he has been with the King County Sheriff's Office, with whom Woodinville contracts for police services.
   Wally Holstad, president of Local #2950 of the International Association of Firefighters, called Olson the "right man for the job." He said "it's hard to find anybody who [doesn't] like" Olson and described him as "an easy-going guy."
   Coincidentally, the first vote Olson cast was to approve the purchase and installation of a window-mounted air conditioning unit for the Fire Marshall's Office at Woodinville City Hall where Holstad works.
   Olson, a man quick to smile and laugh, said he has considered running for a commissioner's post in the past, adding that setting goals and policies has interested him.
   His seating went far smoother than Ed Anderson's last fall due to a new appointment process. Then, Anderson was picked to fill a seat which had just come vacant, sparking outrage among some firefighters.
   This go-around, eight people expressed interest in the post after the fire board advertised for candidates. After reviewing resumes, the board whittled the number to three: Olson, Roy Bleikamp and Ron Braun who ran for a Woodinville Water District post last year. All were given follow-up questions before Olson was chosen.
   Osgood said that while the process still needed fine-tuning, it was a 180-degree turnaround from what he termed the "back-door politics" of the past.
   "I think we followed a much better process, and I think we got one of the best candidates in Mr. Clint Olson," he said.
   Holstad also expressed encouragement in the direction of the board which he said seemed to be settling down under the chairmanship of Frank Peep.
   Olson said he looked forward to the post, adding that it was a commitment with a lot of work involved.
   He has a B.A. in Public Administration from the University of Puget Sound and attended Central Washington University before joining the the U.S. Army in Germany where he played the French horn in the army band.
   He is married to Joyce, his wife of 26 years. They have two sons and two daughters. They attend Epiphany Lutheran Church in Kenmore.
   Olson's appointment will be effective to November, 1999, when his and Anderson's positions are up for election.