Preuss tapped for fire board

The South Kitsap Fire and Rescue Board of Commissioners has appointed Gerald Preuss, a retired US West supervisor, to fill the commissioner position left vacant by Roger “Pudge” Wiley earlier this year.

Preuss was chosen Thursday night after all four candidates were interviewed by the board, which posed the same five questions to each of the men who applied.

Asked what strengths he would draw on to be a successful fire commissioner, Preuss said he was a team player with leadership skills.

“I get along well with people, and I like to think that I am a team player,” he said, explaining that he gained the skills to be a responsible leader at his former supervisory position at US West.

Asked how he would react when others — such as fellow board members — disagree with his opinion or position, he said he would try to remain open-minded.

“I would try not to argue, and make an effort to see his or her side on the issue,” he said.

Preuss is a longtime Manchester resident who has been a regular fixture at the board meetings for more than a year.

“I can think of no greater cause than being a part of the (board). As such, I have been attending meetings since November 2004 to better familiarize myself with the operation of the district,” he wrote in his application letter, explaining that recently he served on the district’s Citizen Budget Review Committee, and is vice chairman of the Levy Lid Lift Committee.

Preuss retired from US West after more than 40 years working for telephone companies, becoming a supervisor who was responsible for creating operating budgets of several million dollars.

He unsuccessfully challenged Commissioner Darla Hartley in last November’s election, earning 44 percent of the votes.

Preuss will serve on the board temporarily until officially elected this November, a fact Commissioner Dusty Wiley made note of to the three applicants who were not chosen — R. Scott Lucke, Dennis Perkins and Steve Green.

“I applied to fill a vacancy and I wasn’t chosen,” said Wiley, who joined the board in 1993. “But I ran against the guy who was, and won — that’s how I got on the board.”

Commissioner Paul Golnik, who was elected last November after being chosen to fill former Commissioner Rick Metzger’s position, urged all the candidates to keep applying.

“If you weren’t selected this time, try again and maybe you will next time,” Golnik said.

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