Firefighter EMT Scott Walker, left, and Firefighter EMT Scott Pulido were on duty Tuesday morning at East Jefferson Fire-Rescue Station 16 at 701 Harrison St. in Port Townsend. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

Firefighter EMT Scott Walker, left, and Firefighter EMT Scott Pulido were on duty Tuesday morning at East Jefferson Fire-Rescue Station 16 at 701 Harrison St. in Port Townsend. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

Work still lies ahead on East Jefferson Fire-Rescue’s annexation of Port Townsend

Fire chief outlines the next steps

PORT TOWNSEND — The work has just begun to make the decision to annex Port Townsend into the East Jefferson Fire-Rescue district, said the fire protection district’s chief, Jim Walkowski.

Voters in both Port Townsend and in the East Jefferson Fire-Rescue (EJFR) district outside the city limits approved the city’s annexation into the district in a Feb. 12 special election.

“There are numerous milestones that have to be attained as defined by the annexation plan,” Walkowski said.

“Specifically, there’s the expansion of the board of fire commissioners from three to five in an effort to equalize representation across the entire EJFR service area.”

A vote on expanding the board is tentatively set for the Aug. 6 primary ballot. Approval would be a simple majority.

City Manager David Timmons believes that better governance will be achieved with a five-member commission.

“A three-member board or commission is limiting,” he said. “It affects the ability to have meetings and does not allow broad representation. With only three people, you are basically giving two people authority over that governing body. It only takes two to be a majority.”

“Now that the interlocal agreement has been completed the City Council will appoint a liaison, a member of the City Council to help assist the commissioners,” Timmons said.

The liaison discussion is planned for this coming Monday’s City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at historic City Hall at 540 Water St. Timmons expects the council to make a decision on the appointment March 18.

If the expansion vote is successful, voters will cast ballots in the Nov. 5 general election to consider establishing fire commissioner districts. If approved, this will create five districts for the purpose of electing commissioners who will equally represent each area.

In addition, a succession process will begin with the current three fire commissioners and two others appointed to fill the vacant positions.

Following the succession plan, Walkowski said that, in any commissioner district with multiple commissioners, those serving the shortest terms will be assigned to a vacant commissioner district.

“As the terms expire, since that commissioner would not be a resident of the district, that commissioner would not be eligible to run for another term,” he said.

“Regardless, the five commissioners that exist when the commissioner districts are created will continue to have staggered terms and will continue to serve until their term expires.”

Walkowski said state law is very clear about how to draw district lines.

“The district will engage in a process to define [identify] jurisdictional boundaries of five commissioner districts,” he said. “The population of each is required to be approximately equal.

“We are confident this process will result in two commissioner districts in the city, two in the county [outside the city limits] and one commissioner district that will likely balance on both areas.”

Walkowski said the process of board expansion and the determination of commissioner districts and the election of two additional commissioners is vital.

“We are confident that we can develop the commissioner districts prior to the primary election so voters can visualize each district.”

________

Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected].

More in News

Hospitals, schools comply with order

Hundreds from Peninsula agencies receive vaccine exemption

Dr. Tom Locke is the Jefferson County deputy health officer.
Mandates may be ‘new normal,’ deputy health officer says

Vaccination rates are rising across the state and nationally, the deputy public… Continue reading

Albert Haller Foundation awards $350,000

The Albert Haller Foundation has approved awards totaling $350,000 to nonprofit organizations… Continue reading

The Port of Port Townsend’s Herb Beck Marina in Quilcene was the subject of an outreach survey conducted this past summer. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)
Quilcene wants more of Herb Beck Marina

Changes needed, residents tell Port of Port Townsend

Sequim’s Russ Britton (507) jumps through the finish line after he completes the Run the Peninsula 5K on the Larry Scott Trail in Port Townsend on Saturday. Taran Johnson, (547) also from Sequim, races to the finish. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Hundreds of runners take on Larry Scott Trail

High-schoolers, locals among 264 live-event entrants

Forums to inform search for Peninsula College president

Public feedback must be submitted by Nov. 4

Stairclimbers, from left, Tim Davis, Margie Brueckner, Matt Aston and Esther McKellar of the Port Angeles Fire Department, practice ascending the Laurel Street Stairs above downtown Port Angeles on Saturday in preparation for next spring’s 31st annual LLS Firefighter Stairclimb on March 13 at the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle. The climb, a benefit for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, requires firefighters and emergency personnel to make a timed ascent of the 788-foot skyscraper’s 69 flights of stairs to help fund cancer research. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Taking the stairs for a good cause

Stairclimbers, from left, Tim Davis, Margie Brueckner, Matt Aston and Esther McKellar… Continue reading

Most Read