by Richard Uhlhorn
At last Wednesday’s Chelan County Fire District 7 commission meeting, Fire Chief Mark Donnell brought forth a district Succession Plan that would promote Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Asher to the District’s Interim Chief
Donnell told the commission he would delay his retirement and mentor Asher in developing Asher’s administrative strengths.
“Operationally, Chief Asher is one of the most incredible officers I’ve ever known,” said Donnell. “This plan has the support of staff and membership.”
Asst. Chief Asher is a well known within NCW fire services. He is an Entiat native and has been in the fire service for a number of years. “I will delay my retirement to help him be successful,” said Donnell. “It’s up to the board.”
Donnell said the main focus currently is to pass the Levy Lid Lift. “After the election we will know where we stand.” If the levy did not pass, the District would potentially be facing some serious cuts in its ability to serve the public.
The District will be putting together an informational flyer, hold public meetings with service groups and hold a public town hall.
Resident John Corbin, who sits on the Levy Committee, said that he thinks Donnell’s succession plan is a great idea. “It’s a great opportunity to unify the district. I’m excited to hear what Donnell has proposed.”
During the commissioner comments, Commissioner Karyl Oules asked to make a motion establishing an Interlocal Agreement with Manson’s Fire District 5. She was told by Chairman Phil Moller that they couldn’t take action on that at this meeting.
Apparently both Moller and Oules have had conversations with Chief Arnold Baker and District 5’s chairman about an agreement where Baker would become District 7’s new Chief when Donnell retires. He would also remain the Chief at District 5.
Moller said the commissioners needed to have a discussion to see what those possibilities would make that work.
Chief Donnell told the commissioners that he would put it on the agenda and have a Public Meeting with both boards.
Commissioner Russ Jones stated that it isn’t the time to step back to a part time chief with the growth that is going on in the Valley. Moller suggested further discussions around Oule’s request. “I have zero interest in hiring a westside Fire Chief,” said Moller. “We need to pursue discussions and look at different opportunities.” He added that he liked the idea of retaining Asher.
Oules said that Chief Baker would be a great resource for Asher.