New interim chief joins ECFR

Al Gillespie’s contract continues through February

Interim ECFR Chief Al Gillespie

East County Fire and Rescue has hired an interim chief.

In November, the five-member Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a contract with Al Gillespie through Emergency Services Consulting International, and he started working for the district the next day. The interim chief consulting fee is $11,500 per month. The contract can be terminated with seven days written notice.

Gillespie, 63, is expected to serve on an interim basis until Feb. 29.

“I told them I am not interested in the full-time job,” he said.

Leading the search for the person to permanently fill that role as administrative and operational chief is executive search firm ESCI. The Wilsonville, Oregon-based company was hired by the commission in September as part of a $13,250 contract.

The application package, which includes a supplemental questionnaire, is available at Submissions are due to ESCI by Friday, Jan. 15.

Gillespie comes to ECFR with more than 35 years of fire service experience.

Since 1986, he has been the owner and president of Vancouver-based Executive Fire Consultants, which provides expertise on public safety issues. He has also been a contract instructor with the National Fire Academy since 2014.

During his career, Gillespie has served as chief for the City of North Las Vegas, City of Augusta, Georgia, and City of Yakima fire departments, and was a battalion chief for Clark County Fire District 6. He began his career in 1977 as a volunteer for Clark County Fire District 4.

Gillespie earned a bachelor’s degree in fire services administration from Eastern Oregon University in 2008.

At ECFR, Gillespie’s role will be to oversee the day-to-day administrative operations of the district, and advise the commission.

“I represent the on-duty executive role for the organization,” he said. “I will help them look at their processes, where they are at. I will give them some of my advice on things they can work on and how they can improve the service to the citizens and the organization.”

Former ECFR Interim Chief Dean Thornberry retired Nov. 13. He was appointed Jan. 8, after the commissioners voted to fire then Chief Scott Koehler without cause. Thornberry, a lifelong Clark County resident, had been an employee of the district since December 2003, when he was hired as battalion chief.

ECFR currently has nine full-time and five part-time paid firefighters, in addition to 28 volunteers who provide fire protection and emergency medical service response to the 10,000 residents who live within the 60 square miles of the unincorporated areas that are north of and east of the cities of Camas and Washougal.

The district responds to approximately 950 calls per year.