PORT ANGELES — In its first meeting of 2023, the Port Angeles City Council recognized the promotion of Derrell Sharp from assistant chief to chief of the Port Angeles Fire Department and the service of outgoing council member and new Clallam County Commissioner Mike French.
The council also heard two presentations but took no action.
“Derrell joins a long line of what I think is a top-notch fire department and we are glad to have him,” Mayor Kate Dexter said Tuesday night.
“One of the things that we appreciate, as a council and a city, about Derrell is his commitment to relationships. Building and keeping relationships with neighboring fire districts, working with the police in supporting re-discovery and community paramedicine.”
Sharp has worked as a firefighter for more than 30 years, starting as a volunteer firefighter, attending the Washington State Fire Academy, and then working for Clallam County Fire District 3 before moving to the city department.
“Tonight is pretty special because exactly 32 years ago I sat as a recruit candidate for a volunteer firefighter academy,” Sharp said.
“That night started with the thought that this would be a really exciting way to give back to my community, but that night ended with my realization that there was nothing more I wanted to do in life than to become a career firefighter.”
Sharp’s dream to become a firefighter was almost dashed due to the cost to attend the academy. His sister, who was in attendance during the ceremony, loaned him the money to attend, and he thanked her.
“I once read that when others believe in you, that’s when almost everything can change. Fear fades, confidence grows and the courage to aim higher increases,” Sharp said.
“That is exactly what happened to me when my younger sister, believing that I had found my calling, loaned me the money to go to the academy.”
City Manager Nathan West said the city fire chief oversees some 5,600 calls a year and is expected to be on call 24/7.
“It is important to recognize that the chief is expected to be the emergency manager for the City of Port Angeles to take on any catastrophe or environmental hazard that comes our way,” West said.
“He is expected to step up and tackle it. I am very confident that Derrell Sharp is going to do exactly that,” West said.
Mike FrenchFrench, who was elected to the District 3 Clallam County commission seat on Nov. 8, was lauded in a proclamation “for his outstanding public service,” which included support of affordable housing measures and his work on the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.
French was first elected to City Council Position 2 in 2017 and was later re-elected for a second term in 2021.
Applications to fill his unexpired term are due by 4 p.m. on Monday. The council is expected to conduct interviews on Jan. 17.
New this year is the provision that applicants will be able to fill out an online application at https://cityofpa-formsdev.app.transform.civicplus.com/forms/30224.
The person appointed will serve until the results of the November 2023 general election are certified. A subsequent election for this position will be held in November 2025.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.