Kitsap fire marshal steps down

Beleaguered by charges of domestic violence and departmental malfeasance, Kitsap County Fire Marshal Derrick Crawley has resigned the position he has held for 15 years.

Crawley had previously been issued a pre-termination letter and submitted a response, but he elected this week to resign before a decision was made regarding his status.

The county then closed the termination proceedings against Crawley, according to a news release.

Crawley’s attorney, Eric Fong of Port Orchard, did not respond to a request for comment.

Departmental deputies Keith Barkow and John Gibson, who like Crawley were placed on paid leave, were terminated. These actions were taken as a result of an independent audit conducted by Deborah Diamond Consulting of Seattle.

The complete report is expected to be released to the public on March 10.

Rob Gudmundson, counsel for the county’s Personnel and Human Service Department, said the terminated employees could appeal the decision to the county administrator and possibly to a grievance arbitrator jointly selected by the county and the union.   

The county is using this opportunity to restructure the fire marshal’s office, meeting with local fire districts and passing a commissioner’s resolution licensing local fire districts to pool their resources and perform any tasks the fire marshal’s office may not be able to accomplish at this time.

In a news release, County Administrator Chris Gears said the county had discussed restructuring the fire inspection and permitting process for some time, but these occurrences served as a “catalyst to move discussions to the next level.”

In the same release, North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen said, “This is a good opportunity for us to step back and take a look at possible partnering solutions to providing services more efficiently to the citizens of Kitsap County.”

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