A bill sponsored by Sen. Pam Roach (R-Auburn),that gives fire districts the flexibility to be more responsive to citizens was signed into law Thursday.
Roach introduced the bill at the request of Dale Mitchell, East Pierce Fire commissioner, on behalf of the Washington Fire Commissioners Association.
“There have been many fire district consolidations such as East Pierce Fire and Rescue,” Roach said. “Generally, fire districts have commissions with three or five members but the super districts may require more.”
Substitute Senate Bill 5766 provides that fire protection districts with an annual budget of $10 million or more may increase the number of their commissioners from five to seven. The board of commissioners may do this by resolution or by a public vote.
The commissioners must divide the fire protection district into seven commissioner districts before it appoints the two new members. The same process applies if a board of commissioners wants to decrease in size from seven to five members.
“This bill allows fire districts, such as ours, better representation of the community from their elected officials,” said Jerry Thorson, fire chief, East Pierce Fire and Rescue. “The trends we have been seeing in fire service are mergers and annexations which cause larger departments in order to capture efficiencies in this economy. We owe Senator Roach a big thank you for pushing this bill through the process.”
SSB 5766 received unanimous support in the Senate and House.