Letter to the Editor: Candidate's Comments Are Direct Attack on Fire District

Posted

This is my rebuttal to statements quoted from firefighter Mike Goodwillie as published in The Chronicle Oct. 27.

As chief of Lewis County Fire District 5, I take all criticism directed toward our fire department seriously. The concerns mentioned fall under fire department operations, which are the responsibility of the chief. The recent posting by Mr. Goodwillie was more than a series of opinions. It was a direct attack on the integrity, professionalism and honesty of our fire district and its members. I know these allegations to be false and that this is simply grandstanding. I wish to address some of his comments.

Comment: “I chose to run when I kept seeing tax dollars wasted and lack of training endangering firefighters.”

How is District 5 wasting tax dollars? Who is the statement directed at, the board or the chief? This statement is untrue. Fire District 5 is making better use of what revenue we have than in prior administrations. Management assures that policies are in place to protect the safety of all responders. Monthly commissioner meetings are open to the public and all are invited.

Lack of training: Of our 25 members, 14 volunteers and 11 career firefighters, we are proud to have all members at a minimum certification of firefighter one level, but most are level two. We have 17 EMTs and four medics. Training is done at all levels for EMS and fire operations. We currently have three in fire academy (200-plus hours) and six just received their FF2. We have been audited by the state Department of Labor and Industries, the Washington state auditor and the Washington State Survey and Ratings Bureau and given a thumbs up. All volunteer and career staff are equipped with necessary safety equipment that is all within compliance standards. Mr. Goodwillie has not once come to a training, nor has he asked what levels our staff are trained to.

Comment: “The main issue is lack of funding and training. District 5 operates on a tight budget and has had bad results on levies. Lack of clear goals is the reason District 5 can’t sell it to the community. Lack of training can kill firefighters.”

Lack of Funding: The district is split on its backing of a lid lift as apparent in this last election. Even though the levy did not pass, it did not impact the quality of training. One would think that if anyone had witnessed a safety or training issue that might “kill a firefighter,” that the witness would have contacted that department to rectify the situation. There has been not one complaint or safety issue brought forward.

During the past two years of serving this agency, Mr. Goodwillie has not once attended a commissioners meeting. We are privileged to have a responsible board of fire commissioners who make solid decisions in the best interest of Lewis County Fire District 5 and its citizens. I would suggest that Mr. Goodwillie look up the definition of firemanship.

 

Dan Mahoney

chief of Lewis County Fire District 5

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