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Orcas Island Fire & Rescue Commission discuss interim fire chief and hiring process

EASTSOUND—The San Juan County Fire Protection District #2 Board of Fire Commissioners held a continuance of their June 17th Regular Meeting on Friday, June 21st, 2024, at 3 p.m. The board approved two new policies before Chair Ehrmantraut added an executive session to the meeting agenda. 

After a 45-minute executive session, most of it held with Fire Chief vanSchaick and Safety Officer Greg Sawyer present, the Board returned to the open meeting. With no further remarks, discussion, or motion, the Board moved on to discussing their steps for an interim chief appointment and hiring process.

Upon opening public comment, the first commentor stated, “It continues to be concerning to me the amount of business that is conducted in executive sessions. I think the community has a right to understand the options that are being presented and discussed and rejected.”

Fire Chief vanSchaick then submitted a public comment in response to the audience's requests for transparency. vanSchaick thanked Safety Officer Sawyer for arranging a meeting with Chair Ehrmantraut and explained what she offered to the Board in executive session.

“I told [Chair Ehrmantraut] that I would love to continue building and I told him the plans I had for the things we're going to continue to build for this department in this community,” said vanSchaick, “and I said I need two things in return. I need job security. I need to be able to move my family here, and in order to do that, I need my contract to not be under attack.”

"The other thing I said that I need,” continued vanSchaick, “is to come to meetings where we can be productive and where I am not being treated like a hostile witness in a courtroom. Where I’m not being persecuted for spending too many hours doing a thing that I love and care about.”

After over 40 more minutes of public comment, the Board adjourned. See recording:

2024-06-21 Continuance of 2024-06-17 Regular Meeting Video Recording

2024-06-21 Continuance of 2024-06-17 Regular Meeting Audio Recording

 

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