Letters to the Editor

More complaints about fire district leadership

In case you missed it, the citizens of Enumclaw agreed to pay more for fire and emergency services without even being told about it. We were paying 89 cents per $1,000 and now we are paying $1.09 per $1,000.

It’s my belief if we would have been told this we would not have approved the merger of the district. Yes, information was withheld from the citizens preventing us from making an informed decision about the merger. Is that legal? The new chief wants to raise it another 37 percent or $1.50 per $1,000 on the next ballot. This is almost a 70 percent increase for the taxpayers of Enumclaw and 37 percent for the people in the district.

During the first open house, the chief made a comment he would raise it to $4 per $1,000 if he could; his next comment was he probably should not have said that. During the same meeting questions were brought up why the fire department has gotten into the transportation business. Commissioner David Hannity was very upset with the questions and said the district has figured out how to make money and is going after it. Wow David, should you really have said that? The fire commissioners have figured out how to make money and they are going after it.

So when did the fire department get into the for-profit business? Is that how you feel about my taxes, Dave? What I mean by getting into the transportation business is they are transporting people who need care to and from hospitals and charging for it; more on that later.

The taxpayers of Enumclaw now have a fire department that is run by three fire commissioners. All three are union firemen and they negotiate salaries with the union. Worse than the fox guarding the hen house. They just gave the fire chief a 28 percent raise and he now makes twice what the police chief makes. Not much left for teachers. How would you like to sit down with your best friend at work and give yourself a fat raise with taxpayer money? I find it outrageous a state agency acts like this; they have no accountability to anyone. They are handing out raises and spending money recklessly and expect taxpayers to foot the bill.

If you think I’m having fun writing this letter you are wrong. Our fireman are great guys, their leaders are reckless and irresponsible. They just spent $495,000 on a piece of property that has a tax value of $55,000 and is listed to be 75 percent wetlands; they claim they were not told this. More on the land deal later.

I have asked the fire chief two different times in public for information where the $2 million the district had before the merger has gone. They claim to have $900,000 left and have only accounted for a land deal of $495,000 and a new ambulance for our growing transport business at the cost of $125,000. They still need to account for $480,000. I guess I will need to pull a request for public records and ask for accountability. I will let you know what I find out in 30 days.

For some reason the citizens of Enumclaw are not aware of the situation and I’m just trying to get the word out. I don’t have a union to pay for glossy ads that are full of rhetoric so this is my venue. I have discovered many disturbing issues the public needs to be made aware of and I have a limited space. Stay tuned. I could write a book on this.

Mike Qualls



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