District 3 chief pick bows out

Fire officials could resume search in ’24

SEQUIM — The top choice to become the next fire chief at Clallam County Fire District 3 has opted not to accept the position, district officials announced.

Fire commissioners wrote in a press release Tuesday that the unnamed candidate “stood out as the clear choice” but turned down their offer, citing “it was not the right choice for their family at this time.”

Fire commission chairman Bill Miano said in an interview that he and the other commissioners were surprised it didn’t work out, but they’re not discouraged.

For privacy reasons, Miano said they won’t release the name of the candidate.

Four finalists were chosen from a field of 19 recruited by consulting firm Prothman of Issaquah.

They included Ronald Martin, mass care coordinator for Lee County Board of County Commissioners in Florida; J. Kevin Nalder, most recently fire chief for the City of Palm Springs, Calif.; John Payne, assistant fire chief of Bremerton Fire Department; and Patrick Reid, deputy fire chief for the City of Pasco.

They participated in a meet and greet on Nov. 13 and were interviewed on Nov. 14 by three groups, including fire commissioners and various fire district staffers/stakeholders and community leaders.

Initially, district and consultant officials said it would take about two weeks from the interviews for an agreement with the candidate to be announced.

Miano said fire commissioners verbally offered the candidate the position the night of Nov. 14, but the next morning they received a call from the candidate turning down the offer.

After reviewing comments from the meet and greet, interviews and discussing with each other, Miano said commissioners felt everyone was in alignment with who was the top candidate.

Next steps

Commissioners met Nov. 20 and after an executive session voted to take an “operational pause” until at least their next board meeting on Dec. 5. Miano said due to the holidays and alternating schedules, they’ll likely reevaluate next steps again in 2024.

According to the commissioners’ press release, they’ve “decided not to proceed with the Prothman search for now,” which Miano said means they’ve decided not to go forward with the other finalists.

“We did the cross-country search, and now we have a view of the level of talent District 3 is able to recruit, and now we have to figure out next steps,” Miano said.

“We thought we had a really good fit with the candidate. All four are absolutely capable, but it comes down to what’s the best fit for the district.”

Prothman’s contract is still in effect, he said, and they might re-run a search in 2024.

Prothman’s contract states they would repeat the recruitment process if no candidate is chosen, or a finalist is terminated or resigns within one year from the employment date.

Interim Fire Chief Dan Orr said in an interview he plans to stay with the district until they find a permanent replacement.

“I have told the board, I would prefer them to make a really good decision and not feel rushed from that perspective, and they were good with that,” he said.

“I feel confident that they’re patient and looking for the correct fit, someone who is going to move the organization forward, somebody who can build trust inside and outside the organization.”

Orr took on the interim title earlier this year after former fire chief Ben Andrews exercised an option in his contract last April to work remotely until retiring in 2024.

According to recruitment documents, the new fire chief would make between $180,000 and $215,000 a year and oversee about 56 employees, 43 volunteers and CERT’s 500-plus membership, along with a maintenance facility and six fire stations with three of those staffed with full-time firefighters/paramedics/EMTs at all times.

For more about Clallam County Fire District 3, visit ccfd3.org.


Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at matthew.nash@sequimgazette.com.

More in News

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual Shipwrights Regatta on Port Townsend Bay on Saturday. More of a fun event than a sailing competition, awards are given out during a pizza party afterward for the most navigationally challenged (Directional Helmet trophy) and for the “saltiest” boat and crew. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Shipwrights Regatta

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual… Continue reading

The City of Sequim hosts 13 manufactured home/mobile home parks with 596 existing units and 786 approved dwelling units. City staff continue to look into zoning options that could protect these sites from redevelopment to help protect affordable housing options in the city. (City of Sequim)
Sequim extends its mobile home moratorium

City staff to work preserving manufactured housing option

Olympic Medical Center chief outlines efforts at improvements

Decreased number of travelers among them

Jay and Trudi Inslee wear red for #WearRedDay to support women’s heart health in 2022. (Jay Inslee)
Gov. Inslee reflects in his final year of three terms

On the second level of the white and gray marbled… Continue reading

Chris Johnson of Nordland-based Nordland Construction loads traffic drums onto a trailer as coworker Robert Bufford prepares to secure the load as the pair prepares to open the parking lot at Port Angeles City Pier to automobiles on Friday. The work was part of a project to improve storm drainage, replace damaged sidewalks and ADA ramps and mitigate shoreline erosion around the lot, which had been closed since early January. Tree replacement and other project detail work is expected to follow over the next few weeks.
City Pier parking open

Chris Johnson of Nordland-based Nordland Construction loads traffic drums onto a trailer… Continue reading

Sequim Citizen of the Year luncheon on Tuesday

Emiko Brock, Labbe, Olsen to be honored

EYE ON THE PENINSULA: Broadband, public health before county boards

Government meetings across North Olympic Peninsula

A pair of Clallam Transit buses sit at The Gateway Transit Center in Port Angeles in preparation for their fixed-route runs on Thursday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Clallam Transit sees large rise in ridership

No issues seen with new zero-fare policy

Plans move ahead for Quilcene skate park

Jefferson County, volunteers seek grants

Peninsula College Foundation reports record levels of giving

Programs, students both recipients of funds

County to repave section of Carlsborg Road

Clallam County commissioners will consider awarding a contract for… Continue reading

A paving crew from Lakeside Industries replaces pavement on the Waterfront Trail and the entrance to the Port Angeles City Pier parking lot on Wednesday as part of a project to improve sidewalks and storm water drainage around the site. The project is expected to be substantially completed and the parking lot reopened by mid-March. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles City Pier

A paving crew from Lakeside Industries replaces pavement on the Waterfront Trail… Continue reading