It appears as if the pieces are falling into place for East County Fire and Rescue to finally hire a permanent chief.
During a special joint meeting between the Camas City Council and the ECFR Commission on Monday, discussions focused on a proposed inter-local agreement that would have the Camas-Washougal Fire Department provide ECFR with fire chief administration and management services.
The agreement must be approved by the Camas City Council and the ECFR Commission.
According to ECFR’s Interim Chief Al Gillespie, in an effort to give the public time to review the document the commission decided during its regular meeting on Tuesday night to delay a vote on it until a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 28.
The proposed agreement will also be the focus of a public hearing in front of the City Council on Monday, Oct. 17, followed by a vote.
If approved, the one-year trial period would begin Nov. 1.
According to the proposed agreement the CWFD chief, a position currently held by Nick Swinhart, will provide services to ECFR including budget development, financial management, personnel management and collective bargaining, in addition to overseeing the fire services provided to the public by ECFR.
The contract calls for the CWFD chief to dedicate 37.5 hours per month to ECFR, at a total cost of $3,000.
The agreement also states that an ECFR deputy chief will work under the direction of the CWFD chief to be responsible for daily operations, employee assignments and job duties, staffing, station apparatus assignment, allocation of resources and implementation of policies and procedures.
According to Gillespie, Mike Carnes, currently a captain with ECFR, would be promoted to the full-time administrative role of deputy fire chief. Carnes, 56, has been with the district since 1997 when he started as a volunteer.
“A lot of the day-to-day supervision would be done by the deputy chief,” Capell said.
Gillespie has served in the interim fire chief role since November 2015. His current contract with the district continues through Oct. 31. He works up to 36 hours per month, for a flat fee of $10,000 per month.
Capell explained that the proposed inter-local agreement provides benefits to both entities.
“The benefit for East County Fire and Rescue is that there is a cost savings for them, over hiring a separate chief with the salary and benefits,” he said. “And, it maintains the partnership we have developed and will continue to enjoy in the future.”
Camas Mayor Scott Higgins said the agreement is in the best interest of the community.
“The district is changing, the city is changing. They are getting closer and closer together,” he said. “That makes all of our jobs a little more complicated, the less close we work together. It makes our jobs easier the more closely we work together.”