Fire chief’s contract under review

By Meg Olson

Whatcom County Fire District 5 has scheduled a special meeting to review proposed changes to Chief Christopher Carleton’s contract. Carleton’s current three-year contract expires this year and while it can be extended another three years, Carleton is asking for a longer-term agreement.

“I want to give this community an extended commitment as their fire chief,” he said at the April 8 fire district meeting. “I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked if I’m going to stay.”

He is proposing a 15-year contract in three five-year terms. No pay increase is being considered but Carleton is suggesting increasing his hours from 80 to 100 a month. In addition to his longer-term commitment to the community, Carleton said he is hoping commissioners will make a more long-term commitment to his leadership.

“It is hard to plan my life,” he said, adding that with a longer-term contract he would relocate to Point Roberts and commute to his other job in the county, rather than the other way around. “To do that I need the commitment of the district that you believe in me,” he said. The new contract will also offer protection to Carleton if he is terminated without cause.

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15 at 4 p.m. at the Benson Road fire station.

  1. The Commissioners have called a special meeting, 4 pm on Wednesday, 15th of April, to address this request. Not sure why it had to be done on 48 hour notice to the public. Was the fire chief planning to decamp for someplace else before next month’s regular meeting? Hope the public shows up for this discussion.

  2. Patricia Birchall April 12, 2015, 2:44 pm

    I would be curious what the other county fire chiefs’ salaries are. Some sort of comparison of district activities by their fire departments (how many fires, how many medical emergencies, etc.) and the relevant fire chiefs’ salaries could be useful, too. The question is: What sort of fire department do we need? The very best or merely adequate for our needs.

    • Patricia Birchall. You want to pay fire chiefs based on how many fires they fight and how many emergencies they service? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? The day your significant other has chest pains and you need help, let’s hope the services in place were not designed to fit a price point. Do you actually live here year ’round or are you another of the Canadians who drop in during the summer and want otherwise to keep costs down?

      • Patricia Birchall April 17, 2015, 2:46 pm

        Mike … I have been a full-time resident and home owner in Point Roberts for 17 years. I was born and bred in Oklahoma. You can’t get more uber American than that. Please. Just because I think even government agencies ought to operate on a cost benefit basis does not make me a Canadian.


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