Community

Darla Hartley hopes for fifth term on SKFR commission

Darla Hartley - courtesy photo
Darla Hartley
— image credit: courtesy photo

Darla Hartley has participated in leadership positions with local fire authorities since 1988. She initially started “because no one else wanted to do it,” she said, but “it went by fast.”

Her ability to get re-elected and help facilitate a spirit of camaraderie among the commissioners have been her biggest accomplishments during her 23 years in office, she says.

And she hopes it's enough to get her elected to South Kitsap Fire and Rescue's board of commissioners again.

“We do this kind of stuff as a commission, not as a person,” she said. “We have five commissioners on the board, so we do it as a group.”

There is a real sense of camaraderie on the board, she said. “We get along, and it’s  a really good feeling,” she said.

“We have excellent relationships with the firefighters and the big bosses.”

And the commission’s policies seem to be working, she says.

“We have the lowest overhead for line firefighters in the county,” she said. “We’re extremely lean in overhead positions.”

The fire department has also done a good job applying for and getting grant requests at the state and federal level she said.

For instance, they took a federal grant to buy a new ladder truck and accepted a federal grant that allowed the district to hire 12 additional line firefighters in 2009.

But, rather than focus on any individual issue, Hartley says, she tries to make decisions that are best for all of citizens, as a whole.

“I try to do what’s best for all the citizens that live in the boundaries of South Kitsap Fire and Rescue,” she said. “We’ve been with South Kitsap Fire and Rescue for many years, as part of the boundaries.”

She also thinks that she brings a slightly different perspective to the commission, as the only female commissioner.

“It’s getting more difficult,” to carry that role, she said quickly adding that she’s not treated any differently than the other commissioners because of her gender.

“We take turns with the gavil,” she said. “I’ve been there the longest, and I’ve never had many issues, at all.”

“They’re good people,” she continued. “Chief Senter and Deputy Chief Wright are great people.”

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