Fire District must fill Metzger's position

Kitsap County Fire District 7 — soon to be known legally as South Kitsap Fire and Rescue — is currently accepting applications to replace Commissioner Rick Metzger Jr., who announced Monday night he will be leaving his post at the end of next month.

Metzger said his work duties and responsibilities have increased substantially since he recently accepted a new assignment with the U.S. Navy as the Public Safety Program Director for Commander Navy Region Northwest, which includes Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho.

“I do not want to become a politician in name only, leaving the real work to the remaining commissioners,” Metzger said in his resignation letter to board Chairman Dave Gelsleichter. “I have learned that, as an elected official, active participation and a thorough vetting of the issues is a must — a condition I am finding increasingly more difficult to reach.”

Metzger, a South Colby resident, was appointed to the district’s board of commissioners in 1999 when two new positions were added. He was then elected to a six-year term in 2001.

Chief Wayne Senter said the district will be accepting resumes for Metzger’s seat until Jan. 20, and he expects the board to choose the new commissioner during their meeting Jan. 27.

Metzger said he felt an ideal commissioner candidate would be someone who could see both sides of the issues facing the fire district.

“An ideal fire commissioner is that person who can find the balance to ensure a level of protection for the people who are doing the work, but then also recognize that somebody has to pay the bills,” he said. “You have to balance the needs of the citizens against the needs of the department, and it’s certainly a challenge to do it right.”

Metzger said it also takes a considerable investment of time as a commissioner to learn all the rules and regulations governing the district’s operations, and considerable effort to make decisions based on fact, rather than emotion.

Metzger said he is excited about his new role with the Navy, an organization he joined in 1971.

Although he retired and left briefly for a job in the private sector, he said he returned after two years for a civil service job.

In other district business Monday night:

• The commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to change the district’s official name to South Kitsap Fire and Rescue. According to district counsel Rick Gross, the next step will be approval by the Kitsap County commissioners before the name change can be finalized.

• In keeping with the board’s yearly rotation, the commissioners appointed Commissioner Dusty Wiley as their new chair, and Darla Hartley as vice chair.

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