The Federal Way Mirror asked the South King Fire & Rescue commissioner candidates a few questions about their priorities and plans if elected. Read the Position 2 candidate responses below. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Editor’s note: Candidate Julian Martinez did not return a response by the Mirror’s deadline.
Bill Fuller (incumbent)
Brief description of yourself: Very soon after starting my 35 year career at Weyerhaeuser, I became a volunteer firefighter in South Snohomish County Fire District 1 at Station. When Weyerhaeuser’s R&D program at the Technology Center in Federal Way, I reluctantly retired as a Lieutenant. EMT and station training officer after 9 years of service. In addition to my technical role at Weyerhaeuser, I was the Safety and Health Director at the Technology Center for three years and Western Region Safety Manager for pulp mills for 2 years. During this time in Occupation Safety and Health, I managed the Hazardous Waste Facility at the Technology Center that disposed of hazardous chemicals from throughout the Company.
Top three priorities if elected:
A. Property taxes are 79% of the revenue funding South King Fire. This source of funding is highly dependent on changes in the economy and property values. The economic crisis in 2008 resulted in reductions in staffing and equipment. We need to evaluate other funding alternatives such as a fire benefit charge or formation of a regional fire authority . These methods do not rely solely on property tax revenue as the primary funding source.
B. Through the oversight and long-range planning role of the Fire Commissioners, a new five-year plan will be developed to meet the challenges that face Federal Way in areas such as continued population growth, the impact of Rapid Transit, future station location as construction continues at a steady pace and large scale emergency events (the Big One).
C. South King Fire and Rescue must maintain the Level 2 rating by the Washington State Survey and Rating Bureau that determines the cost of insurance of homes and businesses. This multi-faceted periodic examination looks at every aspect of the organization, funding, operational and results. The Board’s role in strategic guidance is critical to this rating. There are no Level 1 rated departments in the state.
The Board of Fire Commissioners recently made a policy prohibiting unvaccinated firefighters from working with patients. Do you support this policy? Why or why not?
The Governor’s mandate stated that all personnel performing medical aid in South King Fire and Rescue calls be fully vaccinated. The only accommodation allowed is based on a religious basis. Even then, the unvaccinated employees must protect fellow workers with distancing and masking in the workplace. A department might have non-medical exposure jobs that an unvaccinated might be transferred to, if available. It is common knowledge that I and the other commissioners unanimously made this policy. All other departments in Zone 3 (South of Seattle and Bellevue) did the same. By granting accommodations that defy the mandate and allow unvaccinated firefighters to treat patients, the departments are at risk of losing their state license to practice basic and advanced life support. This would be unacceptable.
Editor’s note: This story was abridged for the print edition.