North Whidbey Fire and Rescue firefighters, staff and members of the public aired grievances and reiterated complaints to the three-person board of commissioners at a special meeting Monday evening.
The packed meeting at the Heller Road fire station lasted over two hours and consisted of a stream of commenters addressing the commissioners in turn, with the most common criticisms being a lack of transparency, poor communication and inadequate funding.
Many said they were also upset about the switch to 9 a.m. for regularly scheduled meetings. “Morale has plunged,” Firefighter/EMT Rich Hoover said. “Our current turnout gear is in bad shape and needs repairs and replacement urgently.”
Commissioner TJ Lamont responded to Hoover’s complaints of a lack of transparency by pointing out that he’d already sat down with him to address some of his concerns, and that’d he offered to do the same with other firefighters.