Fire Commissioner clears up fall ballot

Posted 8/21/19

East Jefferson Fire Rescue Commissioner David Seabrook spoke with The Leader after the Aug. 6 primary election to help the fire district elaborate more fully on what lies ahead for the Nov. 5 general election.

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Fire Commissioner clears up fall ballot

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East Jefferson Fire Rescue Commissioner David Seabrook spoke with The Leader after the Aug. 6 primary election to help the fire district elaborate more fully on what lies ahead for the Nov. 5 general election.

“I am appreciative of the ongoing support from the community to complete the annexation effort that officially brings Port Townsend into Jefferson County Fire District 1,” Seabrook said. “The addition of two commissioners to East Jefferson Fire Rescue’s board allows us to move to the last step of the annexation process.”

Seabrook explained that, during the fall election, voters will be presented with the opportunity to approve the creation of five separate commissioner districts within Jefferson County Fire District 1 — two within the city limits, another two outside the city, and a fifth district overlapping the city and county both.

“Each district will have an approximately equal population and demographic makeup,” Seabrook said. “The expansion of the board will not only provide for specific representation for city and county residents but will also bring a greater diversity of views. This will, I think, help us to betterprovide strategic direction, whileproviding oversight.”

For those who might be confused, Seabrook attempted to clarify what he himself called “the seemingly convoluted, multi-step approach” to completing the annexation process.

“State law requires that we can plan only one question per ballot measure before the voters,” Seabrook said. “Also, there may be a lack of awareness that commissioners are not considered employees of the fire department, and are not paid a salary.”

Fire commissioners do receive remuneration for their attendance at meetings, which they usually conduct once a month, at a current rate state-wide of $128 per meeting.

“Also, previous news articles have mentioned that no East Jefferson Fire Rescue commissioner is on the ballot in November,” Seabrook said. “However, I will be on the ballot, albeit running unopposed. I was appointed to a vacancy last fall, and voters will get a chance to confirm my ongoing role.”

Seabrook sees it as the role of himself and his fellow fire commissioners to be the citizens’ advocates for quality service, while using taxpayer money as efficiently as possible.

“We are directly accountable to the general public,” Seabrook said. “Led by Fire Chief James Walkowski, the men and women of East Jefferson Fire Rescue are committed to high quality fire, rescue and emergency medical service. I am absolutely impressed with the professionalism and dedication of our firefighters, EMTs and paramedics.”

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