Friday, November 18, 2011

Woodinville Fire Chief Scandal Timeline

Here is a partial timeline of the mess of Woodinville going to a heck of a of trouble to fire a perfectly good fire chief and his best people (who happened to be white) and use a secret process to handpick a flashy new chief (who happened to be African American who would ultimately charge the district with racial discrimination even though he displaced a white chief)

Have fun reviewing this, firefighters and corruption fans across America need to know about this story because you can bet this is probably normal for fire departments across the USA from sea to shining sea.

June 29, 2009
Woodinvile fires a perfectly good chief for no reason at all???

by Don Mann
Staff Writer
Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District Chief Dennis Johnson was fired following a special board
meeting on June 18 and no one involved — including Johnson — wants to explain why. “It would be inappropriate for me to make a comment at this time,”  Johnson said last week. “I can tell you this: At some point in the future  I will make a public statement, but right now I just can’t comment and I hope you understand that.”Johnson’s termination followed a four-month “performance appraisal”  conducted by Linda Bergam of Newcastle Consulting, a private firm that specializes in human resource management and organizational development.Bergam’s services were contracted by WFLSD commissioners Clint Olson and Randy Ransom in February.Neither Olson nor Ransom shed any light on the specific reason for Johnson’s termination.“The board decided to head in a different direction,” Olson said. “The HR (human resources) issues are still in litigation and are not settled and we can’t discuss those.”Ransom, similarly, spoke the party line.“The district has ended its relationship with Dennis and has chosen to move in a new direction.”But what was revealed in the performance appraisal that led to Johnson’s termination?“That’s an HR issue and it’s
confidential. I just can’t comment

And then Ransom added: “I’m not going to drag his name through the mud or dishonor him in any way.”
Commissioner Kevin Coughlin was equally reticent.
“It’s a personnel issue and appraisals are confidential,” he said.
Bud Backer, formerly the deputy chief of operations under Johnson, has assumed the role of fire chief in an interim capacity.
Backer said he had no idea why Johnson was fired.
“I don’t have any knowledge of the reason,” he said. “I’d have to refer you to the commissioners or the district’s attorney for that. I’m out of the loop as far as the reasoning. I don’t really have anything else to tell you.”
According to the minutes of the June 18 study session, at which then-Chief Johnson and all five commissioners were in attendance, the sole action item on the agenda was the approval of the “management performance documents.”
Olson, chairman of the board, asked each commissioner if they had read the appraisal independently and in detail.
Ransom, Coughlin, Bob Miller and Tim Osgood said they had.
Olson asked if anyone had a question that needed to be addressed in executive session, and no questions were voiced.
Olson then made a motion to approve the management performance documents as presented
and to authorize the Executive Committee (comprised of Olson and Ransom) to authorize the delivery of the performance appraisal to Johnson.
According to Coughlin, the motion was approved unanimously and the meeting was adjourned.
About two hours later, Johnson said, the chief met with Olson and Ransom for his review of the appraisal and was informed of his termination.
Johnson, hired in 2005, had his second three-year contract approved at a Dec. 2, 2008 board meeting.
According to board meeting minutes, Bergam was introduced to the commission at a Feb. 17 meeting in which Johnson was in attendance.
The minutes read: “Chairman Olson stated that he and Commissioner Ransom visited with Ms. Bergam on a couple of occasions to interview her for what her company might provide to the District.
A copy of the contract was provided to the Board for review ... Motion by Commissioner Ransom, seconded by Commissioner Osgood, to approve the professional services agreement with Newcastle Consulting for the purpose of conducting a performance evaluation for Fire Chief Dennis Johnson ... Motion passed.”

Linda Bergam Contract Originally $10,000 Reported Well Above $50,000 
spent HOW MUCH for a study with a predetermined conclusion??? No wonder Toby Nixon was outraged.

Following its April 6 meeting, the board went to executive session to “receive and evaluate complaints or charges brought against a public officer or employee.”
Under the heading of “Items Deemed Necessary by the Board,” the minutes read: “An invoice was received from (Bergam) that placed the amount owing over the previously approved contract amount of not to exceed $10,000.
This invoice has now placed the amount owing in the amount of $12,355.82. Motion by Commissioner Coughlin, seconded by Commissioner Miller, to amend Linda Bergam’s contract from Newcastle Consulting from $10,000 as originally signed to $15,000 to cover the unexpected costs of completing the work that we assigned. Motion passed.”
At its May 4 meeting, under the heading of “Informational Items,” the minutes read: “Commissioner Olson stated that additional funds are needed to continue the Newcastle Consulting project. The original contract was approved at $10,000, and then amended to $15,000, now an additional $8,500 is due. Currently over $20,000 has been paid ... Motion was made by Commissioner Coughlin, seconded by Commissioner Miller, to amend the original contract to $22,000, pending updates on the original deliverables and an update on the time and additional funds that may be needed to complete this project.
Discussion followed by vote, which was split: Miller yes, Coughlin yes, Ransom no, Olson no. Motion is dead ... Motion was made by Commissioner Coughlin, seconded by Commissioner Miller, to amend the original contract to $25,000 with provisions to be provided to the Board from the executive committee by the May 18th meeting to determine final estimated costs. Vote; Miller yes, Coughlin yes, Ransom abstain, Olson no. Motion passed.”
At its May 26 meeting, according to the minutes, Bergam was in attendance and participated in an executive session “to review the performance of a public employee.”
At its June 15 meeting, according to the minutes, an executive session was called “to review the performance of a public employee” and “to discuss with legal counsel representing the agency matters relating to agency enforcement actions, or to discuss with legal counsel representing the agency litigation or potential litigation to which the agency, the governing body, or a member acting in an official capacity is, or is likely to become, a party, when public knowledge regarding the discussion is likely to result in an adverse legal or financial consequence to the agency.”
Following the executive session, under the heading of “Action Items,” the minutes read: “Motion by Commissioner Miller, seconded by Chairman Olson, to approve Newcastle Consulting contract to allow it to be extended to completion of the scope of the work that was approved previously. Chief Johnson asked for clarification: does this remove the financial cap on the contract? Commissioner Miller stated yes, to complete the scope of the work that was approved.
The invoices will be processed the first meeting in July and paid around the 15th of the month. Motion passed.”
Last week Olson was asked why it was necessary to hire Bergam in the first place.
“There were some issues that the board felt justified that approach,” he said. “None of the board members were experienced to give that broad of an appraisal.”
Was anything revealed in the appraisal that you were unaware of?
“No,” he said.
Bergam’s fee went from $10,000 to upwards of $25,000. Who pays for that?
“As I understand it, it’s public money. The (fire) district is a public agency funded by public money.”
Was it money well spent?
“I don’t know how to answer that.”


July 20, 2009

And yet another Northshore issue gets folks fired up

Bothell Reporter Columnist

Jul 20 2009
Northshore Fire District Battalion Chief Tim Osgood lives in Woodinville and is an elected commissioner of the Woodinville fire and life safety district. Recently, he went along with the dispatching of the department’s chief, a firefighter with 38 years experience and an individual highly popular among the residents of the area.
It will be interesting to see if Osgood’s re-election effort in November will stand the scrutiny of the commission’s decision, an employment separation bound to be a potentially costly one for Woodinville’s property owners and taxpayers.
Like Osgood, Woodinville commissioners comprise entirely men who hold or have held jobs only in other governmental agencies. They hold the reins on a $15-million annual operating budget, which supports 80 employees. Personnel costs of the department account for approximately $12 million of that budget.
True to government tendencies, Osgood’s commission is not forthcoming about the firing of Dennis Johnson. Chief Johnson was hired after a wide and costly search nearly four years ago. He had recorded a distinguished career as chief of emergency medical services in Boise, Idaho, a city of several hundred thousand, and prior to that was fire chief in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Another commissioner, the recently appointed Randy Ransom, is on the two-commissioner executive committee that delivered the news to Johnson. The commission won’t disclose whether the termination was or was not for cause. Neither will it tell why the district paid a consultant what has been speculated to be as high as $40,000 to $50,000 to produce a performance review.
John B. Hughes was owner-publisher of the Northshore Citizen from 1961 to 1988 and is active in local nonprofit organizations.
Bothell Reporter Columnist John Hughes can be reached at

December 14, 2009

It’s time for all residents of the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District to attend the commissioners’ meetings, voice your concerns, and demand change in the way they are conducting business. 
Why?  Because what they are doing violates the open public meeting act. Even by the policies established by the fire commissioners, they must publish and approve minutes of meetings at the next regular meeting; they’re not.
On November 7, 2009, the fire commissioners held a retreat to discuss matters of the district. To date they have not published these meeting minutes. 
Why? Because they want to withhold information from the public, and what they are doing clearly violates the open public meeting act.
Why else should you be concerned? They are lying to us about a financial crisis and then using it to make irresponsible decisions. They used the financial crisis to terminate three long term employees, then turned around and spent $20,000 more a year to hire a fire chief at a salary of $160,000 a year. That is not the market rate for a fire chief in the region. Why should we pay this exorbitant salary? 
What’s next with these irresponsible elected officials — cutting back our fire and emergency medical services, so they can further their secret plan?
We all need to be asking questions of the fire commissioners. I’m very concerned with their actions and decisions. After 37 years in the fire service, retiring as a fire chief, I have not witnessed this kind of action by those we have trusted to keep our families, homes and business protected.
As a resident of the fire district, you would expect if you asked questions of your fire commission, they would be happy to answer your questions — not the case with this fire commission. They just smile at you as they ignore your questions. See for yourself. Come ask a question and see if you can get an answer from them.
Fellow residents: We need to band together and get these fire commissioners to answer questions from the public, follow the laws put in place for open government, or get them out of office.
If we don’t, they will systematically destroy a great fire department and cost us millions of OUR hard earned dollars.
The next meeting of the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District is January 4, 2010.
Jeff Blake, via e-mail

December 15, 2009

Chief Daniels Hired To Right Ship or Fix What Wasn't Broken??

New chief hired to right WFLSD ship (and faces angry mob with pitchforks)
Written by Don Mann   
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 11:36

New WFLSD Fire Chief David Daniels will be sworn in on Jan. 4, 2010. Courtesy photo
At its December 7 board meeting, the Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District Board of Commissioners announced the hiring of I. David Daniels as the district’s new fire chief and chief executive officer.
Daniels is currently the fire chief in Renton, but submitted his resignation that same day, effective Jan. 1, 2010. He will be sworn in as the WFLSD’s new chief and CEO at the board’s regular meeting on Jan. 4, 2010. His salary will be $160,000, the board said....
Daniels, who served as fire chief in Fulton County, Ga., before assuming the Renton position, brings 29 years of fire service experience to Woodinville.
"Chief Daniels’ depth of experience at all levels of the fire service and proven leadership are unmatched," WFLSD chairman Clint Olson said in a prepared statement. "Before rising to the rank of assistant fire chief in the Seattle Fire Department, he served Seattle as a firefighter in over 20 different capacities. He is both a local and national leader, having served as president of the King County Fire Chief’s Association and on the board of directors for the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The Board is confident that Chief Daniels will bring visionary leadership to the District, and we look forward to working with him."
Daniels received his associate of arts degree in fire command and administration from Bellevue Community College, a bachelors of science degree in fire service administration from Eastern Oregon University, a masters in human resource management from the Keller Graduate School of Management and completed a Fire Executive Fellowship Program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
According to Daniels, "The district faces several complex issues, and I am prepared to listen to staff and the community as we seek to implement a positive direction for the district. I am honored to have this opportunity to serve the district as its fire chief and to work with the board."
Among those complex issues are questions about loyalty and department morale, following the notice given to Backer, Kuhnenn and Larson — who have a combined 60-plus years of experience at WFLSD.
Upwards of 50 citizens were in attendance at the Dec. 7 board meeting, it was reported, to show support for the outgoing senior staff members. Five citizens spoke on their behalf. But before the public comment session, Olson read another prepared statement:
"As you know, we are now facing hard financial times, including potential annexations and declining revenues; therefore, we must immediately address the District’s overall cost structure to appropriately anticipate these challenges without putting a greater burden on the community. By moving administrative positions to a structure of having one Deputy Chief, the District immediately realizes financial savings, reduced overhead costs, and achieves greater efficiencies in operation. By establishing a civilian chief Operating Officer position with someone who has significant experience in financial management, human resource application and contract administration, we position ourselves for continued improvement, increased accountability and greater effectiveness in responding to future challenges. The question of whether the Board feels a sense of loyalty to the District’s employees is not an appropriate framing of our responsibility and purpose as District Board members. Each of us carry a sense of loyalty to District employees. There is no question. But it is the Board’s responsibility to the District’s governing body and to address ongoing and future challenges. It is our responsibility and duty to thoughtfully and carefully take action as we needed to ensure excellence in the delivery of fire and medical emergency services to our community. At times, those actions require making tough decisions that involve good people who have served the District for many years. And after careful consideration, the Board has determined there was a need for new administrative alignment and leadership. Everyone directly affected by the Board’s decision to allow certain contracts to expire to achieve the reorganization was given an opportunity to speak directly to me about his or her personal concerns. Given the nature of those potential discussions, it was not and is not the Board’s intent to have them discussed in a public forum. Regrettably, despite the Board’s invitation, some of those affected by the reorganization plan appear to have chosen an alternative more public means of communicating with us. Despite this, on behalf of the Board, I will continue to be available to those affected to discuss any concerns they might have. The Board is aware of and is deeply concerned with employee morale. The administrative changes made in 2009 have taken a long time to implement, and have created an understandable amount of uncertainty within the department. We hope to bring a measure of stability and certainty to this department in the near future through the appointment of new District leadership and we invite department-wide participation at a District Retreat on January 9, 2010 in setting our course of direction for the coming years."

Former WFLSD Chief Johnson was one of five who spoke during public comment. Among the comments from the Woodinville citizen are the following: "As the previous fire chief of WFLSD, I am intimately familiar with the finances of the district. In September of 2005, the district had a total cash balance available just over $1.9 million. Through judicious budgeting and funding practices, the balance of those same funds in September 2009 sits at just under $3.4 million. In just four years we increased the cash balance by $1.4 million or an increase of 74 percent. The three senior staff members you plan on releasing were instrumental in making this increase happen ... . On November 16, 2009, the staff presented a ‘balanced budget’ to you for calendar year 2010. You approved the budget. Included in this budget proposal were the four FTE positions for a fire chief, two deputy chiefs and the manager of administrative services. I find no compelling explanation for allowing the current contracts of senior staff to ‘expire’ based on financial concerns. To the contrary, the district is in excellent financial condition because of the efforts of this same group of employees. Rather, I believe that the actions you propose against these three individuals are directly related to their association, dedication and support of the (former) fire chief and the organization. Your attempt to assassinate their careers is both misguided and inappropriate. I am appalled that not a single member of this board has the integrity to stand up for what is right."
Board members Bob Miller and Tim Osgood were not at the meeting.

Was this a Diversity Hire??

This is was my thinking at the time:  This fire chief thing looks suspiciously like a pattern I've seen before, most recently Renton Technical College where a perfectly good president was fired for "no reason" but an Asian activist director later stated that he "did not promote diversity". It looks wierd to me that a small town like Woodinville would spend a pile of money to get a black superstar fire chief that's worth bragging about with a superstar starting salary when there was absolutly nothing wrong with the old guy that anybody could figure out. San Jose and many other fire departments have made "diversity" their first priority over all other issues. This looks like a stealth diversity take over top me.

Update: I have since heard rumours that indeed people did wonder if it was an affirmative action hire, especially since Woodinville has a very, very small African American population if population parity is the usual goal. 

Website announcement and picture:

Latest News

Woodinville Fire Welcomes Chief I. David Daniels

The Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District Board of Fire Commissioners have announced the hiring of I. David Daniels as the district’s newest fire chief. Chief Daniels has served most recently as fire chief of Renton Fire Department. Chief Daniels brings close to 30 years of firefighting experience to Woodinville. A swearing in ceremony will be held at the Commissioners meeting on January 4th.

Meet Chief Daniels on Thursday December 17, 6:00 pm

Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District will be hosting an open house to meet Chief David Daniels on Thursday December 17, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The open house is being held at the Headquarters Fire Station #31.

Kirkland's Toby Nixon Outraged $50,000 was spent for study to fire chief

The Woodinville Weekly reported on the firing of Chief Dennis Johnson by Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District (“Officials tight-lipped on firing of WFLSD chief”, June 29). Since then, we’ve heard nothing about it – but it’s far from settled.
WFLSD spent over $50,000 to have a consultant prepare a “performance appraisal” on the chief. The board met briefly on June 18, voted to “approve” the performance appraisal without comment and to deliver the appraisal to the chief. No public recorded vote was taken to terminate the chief, and the public was not informed of the board’s reasons for the termination.
Since then, public records requests have been submitted to WFLSD asking for the performance appraisal to be released. The district has refused, claiming it is exempt from public disclosure because it would violate the chief’s “right to privacy”.
Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District
Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District
The problem is, the document does not fit within the statutory definition of “privacy” in RCW 42.56.050, which requires that information to be withheld must be BOTH “highly offensive to a reasonable person” AND “not of legitimate concern to the public”.
If a public agency spends $50,000 to dig up reasons to fire its chief executive, it IS of legitimate concern to the public.
When asked by the Weekly “Was anything revealed in the appraisal that you were unaware of?”, board chairman Clint Olson said, “No.” If that’s the case, what did the taxpayers get for their $50,000?
Johnson wants the information to be made public so that he can defend himself. But the district has told him that if he makes his personal copy public, it would violate the severance agreement they offered him, and they would withhold his severance pay. They want the report to be kept secret.
That’s just not right. The citizens of WFLSD deserve to know what they received for their $50,000. They are entitled by law to know what the report says. And they deserve to know the real reasons why their fire chief was terminated by Clint Olson.
Citizens in WFLSD should contact the district and demand this information be released.

Toby Nixon

as commissioner I’d take a hard look at the money spent hiring and firing a fire chief, and the money spent hiring a consultant to fire the chief. Those kind of expenditures are ludicrous and unnecessary. 

Fire District Commissioner Candidate - Rebecca ClarkPDFPrintE-mail
Written by Don Mann   
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 09:58
This is the first in an interview series by Don Mann with candidates for the WFLSD Board of Commissioners
Rebecca Clark
Why are you running for office?
Two reasons: For the past 13 years I’ve worked hand-in-glove with the fire department. They come in here frequently and it’s been a very close relationship. I have an enormous amount of respect for them — they have a high level of integrity and they’re very committed to customer service.
And I feel that the dismissal of Dennis Johnson was unwarranted. I think it was very costly and inappropriate. I’m not an attorney so I can’t say whether or not it was legal but I believe that the current board of commissioners is confused about their role. Their role is to establish the ‘what.’ And it’s the fire chief’s job to establish the ‘how.’ In my opinion the current board is muddying up the waters.

What are the most important issues?
The first one is that they need a leader. Second, the personnel need to be supported with training, efficiency and clear-cut roles. 
How would you propose to tighten the fiscal belt without cutting services?
Well, they go through fire chiefs like fire wood around here, which I don’t understand. That should be a 20-year job. It’s a great job and a great community — why wouldn’t it be a 20-year job? But as commissioner I’d take a hard look at the money spent hiring and firing a fire chief, and the money spent hiring a consultant to fire the chief. Those kind of expenditures are ludicrous and unnecessary. 

What can be improved?
Credibility, transparency, reality, practicality. Not game-playing and managing by ego. This whole thing about firing the chief is a bizarre concept and I don’t understand it. There’s no room in management for ego. I went to these meetings and asked how this could go on and they just sat there and said we don’t have to answer your question. If I spent $50,000 and was asked if that money was spent well, I’d be looking for another job. If I did that in the private sector and we went to court, they’d laugh me out of town.

November 30, 2009: Board Fires 3 Longtime Fire Veterans For No ReasonToo

WFLSD board fires three veteransPDFPrintE-mail
Written by Don Mann   
Monday, 30 November 2009 11:52
Last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, 18 days after the Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District came to its decision at its Nov. 7 retreat, longtime WFLSD employees Arlene Larson, Joel Kuhnhenn and Bud Backer were informed by the district that their services would no longer be required.
Larson, a 27-year WFLSD veteran and current administrative assistant; Kuhnhenn, a 25-year veteran and current deputy fire chief; and Bud Backer, a nine-year WFLSD veteran and current interim fire chief were given pink slips without the benefit of an explanation, and will serve their paid remaining terms throughout Dec. 31 of this year.
The trio with more than 60 years combined experience in Woodinville were simply handed a statement to read alone, written by WFLSD commissioner chairman Clint Olson — and includes, in total, the following: “As the community and District continues to face challenging financial times, it was unanimously decided by the Board at its retreat on Nov. 7, 2009, to reorganize the District’s administrative staffing structure in an effort to further reduce overhead costs and increase District efficiencies.
“To implement this decision, the Board intends to pursue the hiring of a new Fire Chief and Deputy Chief of Operations, and a civilian Chief Operating Officer who will report directly to the Fire Chief and Board of Fire Commissioners. The civilian COO’s responsibilities will include the financial and administrative functions of the District. 
The Board anticipates that this reorganization will result in direct and indirect savings, along with other efficiencies, for the District in the approximate amount of $200,000 per year. (who in the blazes do they think they are kidding???)
“As a consequence of the reorganization, the personal services contracts for the District’s current Deputy Fire Chiefs and Administrative Assistant will be allowed to expire on Dec. 31, 2009. 
The Board is actively pursuing a new Fire Chief and a COO to be in place as soon as practicable with contingency staffing plans for interim positions until all administrative vacancies are filled. I have spoken directly to all those affected by this reorganization.”
Commissioner Tim Osgood, arriving late at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting as a concerned Woodinville citizen, was asked about the day’s events at WFLSD.
“We as a board had to make some tough decisions,” he said. “In times of financial crisis we felt it was important as a district to move forward, realizing our financial obligations.”  On Sunday, returning a call, he said: “A part of this had to do with establishing excellence and conservatism, and it has to do with service contracts. We’re facing a gigantic downturn in revenue and we don’t have an open checkbook — our revenue’s drying up.”
When asked about loyalty in personal relationships, Osgood said: “They’re good people who did good work.”
Meanwhile, Backer and Kuhnhenn spoke candidly about their plight.
“I was shocked,” Backer said. “I thought it was just rumors because it just didn’t make any sense. I was caught off-guard.”
He said he never got clarification on what he might’ve done wrong.
“All they did was read the (official) statement. There was no explanation as to why we came up short ... I can’t come up with a reason. I’ve had an outstanding reputation,” he said. “They never told me what I might’ve been doing wrong, or where I could improve.
“To let us all go at the same time doesn’t make sense. It’s hard to fathom.”
Kuhnhenn echoed the sentiment.
“I was shocked,” he said, “even though I thought it might be coming.”
He, too, said no one gave him a verbal reason.
Being a year away from lifetime pension benefits, it hit hard.
“It’s pretty significant,” he said. “I’m six years away from retirement, but not now. It’s critical for my health insurance and paying my daughter’s college tuition, but they pretty much put a stop to that.”
But Kuhnhenn, who — like Backer and Larson —  still has to ride out time at WFLSD  for another month  — talked about larger issues.
“They like to talk about transparency,” he said. “But there’s a lack of loyalty on their part. The sad thing is that nobody holds the fire commissioners accountable. And it’s not something the citizens think about. They just want to know that when they call 911, somebody’s gonna show up with a truck.”
He said he felt particularly bad for Larson.
“She’s been there 27 years, a single mom putting a son through school and her husband recently passed away,” he said.
He said the district just doesn’t get the problem.
“They don’t realize the department is in extremely poor morale. There’s no loyalty and what’s frustrating is that there’s nothing I can do about it.”

 written by Kayla, November 30, 2009 
Also know that Osgood fired the Fire Chief over the summer, he didn't let his contract run out, and has yet to offer a reason for firing him.

  • Woodinville Fire Department Crippled
written by T, November 30, 2009 
The loss of Woodinville Fire's administration is unacceptable. Please attend next Monday's (12/7/09) fire commissioners meeting and voice your opinion.

In reference to an above quote from Commissioner Osgood, I stress that the board of commissioners did not make "tough decisions," they made retaliatory decisions while in a meeting held in violation of RCW 42.30.080 (special meetings). The decisions made by these commissioners during a recent Saturday “retreat” meeting should be considered null and void. Their intent to deceive the public is clear. They did not inform the public of their secret Saturday meeting, and then proceeded to hold the meeting many cities outside of Woodinville as an extra deterrent. It’s obvious the commissioners are not concerned with Woodinville’s best interest. The commissioners claim that the department is in a “financial crisis” as a screen to blur their self-serving actions. If only they would make recent meeting minutes available to the public as required, we would see that they passed a 2010 BALANCED budget for the district on 11-16-09. This budget INCLUDES the employment of Arlene Larson, Joel Kuhnhenn, and Bud Backer in the positions that are soon to be taken from them.

Hold Woodinville fire commissioners accountable. Come to the meeting on 12/7/09 and explain to the commissioners that we do not take their lies or 60 plus years of dedicated service lightly. Thank you for your help.

Meeting Location:
Headquarters station 31
17718 Woodinville-Snohomish Rd. NE

Bothell, WA February 23, 2010 at 12:45 PM
Well Woodinville just hired a fancy new superstar chief David Daniels from Renton after paying something like $80,000 to a "consultant" to produce a secret report (originally budgeted at $10,000) to come to the conclusion that their old chief Dennis Johnson by Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District needed to be fired even though nobody ever complained. He was first fired for "no reason", with 90 days severance by contract, and then fired for "reason" with NO severance when he refused to sign onerous paperwork releasing the directors from any liability. Board said it would save $200,000 but the new chief will be paid $160,000 which I have been told is outrageously high. 

This is especially fishy when Renton Technical College similarly fired their president Donald Bressler for "no reason" after a similar big secret study, then Francisco Irigon told Northwest Asian Weekly (who did not even live in the district and had to resign) that he did not "promote diversity" enough in promoting a white female.

That's not even considering all the school superintendents with ridiculous salaries that are hired primarily for their gender or skin color and get fired after 1 or 2 years after they fail to eliminate the "achievement gap" and get hired by the next big city school district looking for the same thing or a change of color. They never taught in high school that this is the way local government really works, but they should

Febrary 22, 2010: Meanwhile North Highline pays of chief $300,000 in severance
 February 22, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Fire chief of tiny district to lose job but get $300,000 severance

To lower costs, the North Highline Fire District is eliminating its fire chief, whose salary is higher than the governor's, but he is set to receive more than $300,000 under a severance package.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The 2009 salaries of the North Highline fire chief and several other public officials:
North Highline fire chief: $186,370
King County executive: $186,038
Seattle fire chief: $173,709
Washington governor: $166,884
Seattle mayor: $166,622
(Woodinville Chief Daniels: $160,000)  Ridiculously high for a town of 10,000, no?
Burien/Normandy Park fire chief: $143,737
As North Highline fire chief, Scott LaVielle oversees two stations and 35 employees  (WTF squared??) and last year earned more than Gov. Chris Gregoire.
LaVielle's pay of $186,370 even outpaced the salary of Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean, who made $173,709 for managing 32 stations and 1,155 employees.
Now, as LaVielle prepares to leave the job, he is set to receive more than $300,000 under a severance package that includes one year's pay plus about $115,880 for unused sick leave, vacation and compensatory time.
David Lawson, a former North Highline fire commissioner and now chief financial officer of Federal Way-based South King Fire & Rescue, calls the chief's pay "outrageously high."
This small district, serving White Center, Boulevard Park and other communities between Seattle and Burien, has a history of paying its fire chiefs extraordinary salaries. ...

Commissioners of the North Highline and Burien/Normandy Park fire departments are negotiating for Burien Chief Mike Marrs to also serve as North Highline's chief, and it is possible the two fire districts will merge eventually. For now, Marrs said, his district can't take on the liabilities of its financially shaky neighbor.
"Each individual district makes choices, and sometimes those choices put them in financial peril, and I believe that may be what occurred here," Marrs said.
As for his $143,737 salary, Marrs said, "I'm very well compensated for what I do."
Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or
My thoughts at the time: 
Woodinville fired their white chief and replaced him with a black Renton fire chief David Daniels in a distressingly similar situation. Fire board authorized a woman charge $10,000 for a study to come up with an pre-determined excuse to fire a chief that was popular and had no complaints, and later much support from the community. Rumours have it that this lady eventually charged $80,000+ for a study where the conclusion was already known. Chief Dennis Johnson was first fired no cause, then when he refused to sign away his rights, his 90 day severance package was taken away and was fired with cause, which was also hidden from the public. New chief makes a ridiculous $160,000 or something like that, though board claims it will save money, community is ticked off but can't do anything, and as usual, I'm the only one that smells race/diversity hijinks once they published picture of the new fire chief in a community that has a neglible african american constituency.

leave some comments and I'll post the next section