2019 General Election: Challenger Miano leads incumbent Barnfather in Fire District 3 race

2019 General Election: Challenger Miano leads incumbent Barnfather in Fire District 3 race

SEQUIM — Bill Miano, a first-time candidate for office, has an early lead over incumbent James Barnfather for Clallam County Fire District 3 Board of Commissioners Position 3.

Miano, 48, had 3,663 votes, or 52.1 percent, to Barnfather’s 3,370, or 47.7 percent after Tuesday night’s initial general election count. Of those, 3,612 votes were cast for Miano in Clallam County and 51 in Jefferson County, while Barnfather had 3,311 votes in Clallam County and 59 in Jefferson County.

“[I’m] excited — I hope they stay that way,” Miano said on election night.

The Clallam County Auditor’s Office planned another count of ballots in the all-mail election late Wednesday. Those totals are not reflected here because of press deadlines. Jefferson County’s next count will be Friday.

The non-partisan, six-year-term position is one of three fire district commissioners who oversee a $10.1 million budget and propose tax levies and bonds for voter approval.

A former full-time firefighter, a District 3 volunteer firefighter and substitute bus driver for Sequim School District, Miano said Wednesday that if elected he wants to focus on “trying to get staffing closer to the national standards.”

But he’s not celebrating yet, Miano said.

“It’s so close right now; a lot could change,” he said.

Barnfather, 68, a retired firefighter-EMT and senior engineer for the Seattle Fire Department, was elected to the board for two six-year terms.

“I knew it would be close (but) there’s another batch to be counted… We’ll wait for those results.”

During the election, Barnfather said he was banking on his 12 years as a commissioner and connections he’s made to earn re-election.

Miano, a relative newcomer to the Olympic Peninsula, got the backing of International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 2933, the local firefighter union.

“I could have been more aggressive on my campaigning,” Barnfather said.

“I’m very happy with the performance of our board. We made some tough decisions but they were all in the interest of the taxpayer.”

Miano, who was running for office for the first time, described himself during the election as a reluctant candidate.

“The only thing I would have done differently is not run,” Miano joked Wednesday morning. “All things considered, [the campaign]went well, but it was definitely not enjoyable.”

During the campaign, the candidates offered different solutions to help battle what district staff call a rising call load with limited funding sources.

Barnfather said the district should consider a part-time paramedic car to help handle the bulk of non-emergency aid calls between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Miano said he wants to see more staffing added through grants and spending money from what he sees is an overabundance of reserves, along with a fully-staffed 24-hour fire engine crew.

The fire district boundaries run from Deer Park area in Clallam County east to about 3 miles east of the Jefferson County line, including Gardiner and Port Discovery. About 27,500 voters in Clallam County and 400 in Jefferson County elect the fire commissioners.

________

Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

2019 General Election: Challenger Miano leads incumbent Barnfather in Fire District 3 race

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