Letters to the Editor for Jan. 20, 2015

What is going on at ECFR?

As a former homeowner of east Clark County, I must ask you and my former fellow citizens what is going on in East County Fire and Rescue?

Within the last 90 days, three members of the board of commissioners have resigned and the chief of the department has been told his contract will not be renewed.

With the retirement of those three commissioners and the experienced chief, ECFR has lost significant years of service and knowledge. Where will the budgeting, grant writing, training and policy background knowledge and experience come from? What will happen to the service for the community? What will happen to those tax dollars?

As a former member of the board of commissioners, I understand the responsibilities, authority and duties of the fire commissioner. They are clear and simple: to set a budget, to set policies, to hire a qualified fire chief to run the department, and to supervise all of the above.

Commissioners do not run the fire department. Their job is to manage taxpayer’s dollars and supervise the district to ensure that federal and state laws, general accounting practices, safety rules and regulation are complied with, and adequate plans are made for the future needs and requirements of the community.

As of today, the board of commissioners consists of two retired city firefighters, one from Vancouver and one from California, whose focus seems to be getting the full-time firefighters into the local IAFF union, and a local psychologist who wants to be in charge of everything. This does not bode well for the future of the once dynamic volunteer fire department that was primarily made up of citizens helping their community.

Your newspaper has reported over the years a great many stories of awards and the grant dollars that ECFR has received for equipment, manpower and training that Chief Koehler garnered for the department. These grants saved the taxpayers of the district millions of dollars and have served us all to better our community.

The service of the three recently retired commissioners amounts to a huge investment of personal time and energy over their lifetime. The skills and dedication of these four individuals will be sorely missed. What will happen to the level and quality of service for both fire protection and medical response?

As the editor of the local newspaper that exists to serve the residents of east Clark County, I ask that you keep us informed of what is happening to and within East County Fire and Rescue.

John E. Clancy, Camas

Bond will accommodate growth

My wife and I moved to Washougal a little over a year ago. We have grown to love the people, spirit and area.

One of the greatest priorities for any community is to have a healthy school district, a place where students feel valued and safe. That is why we support the upcoming bond.

Our schools need safety improvements and new buildings that will accommodate growth and challenges of the current, older buildings. Outdated facilities need upgrades and remodeling. On Feb. 10, Washougal residents will be asked to vote on this very important bond. I urge residents to get the facts at www.washougal4schools.org, and remember to vote.

Dean Spencer, Washougal

Vote ‘yes’ for safe schools

As a Washougal parent and school district employee, my heart skips a beat every time we hear of another school shooting somewhere in this country.

No community is immune from the possibility of a violent event. Our students’ safety at school is paramount.

Washougal supporters of a safe, quality educational environment have a crucial opportunity to vote “yes” by Feb. 10 in the upcoming special election. Our youth deserve our investment to provide the needed improvements to our schools which will improve the safety conditions tremendously. The only way this can happen is to pass the bond on Feb. 10.

On the fence? Check out the facts and more information at Washougal4Schools.org.

Michele Mederos, Parent and professional school counselor