Vote could expand fire board

LACEY - Voters who live in the newly expanded Lacey Fire District No. 3 will decide Tuesday whether to expand the fire district's board of commissioners from three to five members.

Commissioner Skip Houser and Fire District Chief Jim Broman say it’s the right thing to do because the proposal meets the requirements of a recent voter-approved annexation of the City of Lacey into the fire district. As a result, the population represented by the board has grown to 85,600 from 46,350, according to fire district data.

“We believe the citizens are completely behind it,” Houser said about the proposal to expand the board.

Houser shared those comments at a recent meeting of The Olympian’s editorial board. Broman echoed that sentiment.

“Broad representation is stronger, better,” he said.

In addition to Houser, the board members are Eugene Dobry, elected in November 2009, and John Christiansen, elected in November 2007. Houser has served on the commission since 1985.

During the editorial board meeting, Houser and Broman said they were not aware of anyone opposed to the proposal. No one wrote a statement against the proposal for Thurston County’s local voters pamphlet.

If approved, here’s how the board will be reshaped:

 • First, the three sitting fire commissioners will appoint a qualified person to fill one vacant position.

 • Next, the four commissioners will appoint a fifth commissioner.

If the four commissioners can’t agree on an appointee, the decision falls to the Thurston County commissioners.

Once the two new members are seated, they will draw lots to determine their respective terms. One of the newly formed commissioner positions will be open for election in the 2011 fire district election, along with one of the current commissioners. The other new post will be up for grabs in 2013, as will that of another of the current commissioners. The fifth commissioner position will be filled in the 2015 election. Elected commissioners serve six-year terms.

Elected officials serving on junior taxing districts will earn $104 per each day performing fire district business, up to a limit of about $10,000 per year.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com www.theolympian.com/bizblog