“These changes aren’t easy, but were necessary to address the budget challenges facing the fire district during these tough economic times. Our top priority is to maintain the fire and emergency medical response the public has come to expect, so we are looking for places to cut that do not affect station operations,” he said.
Five administrative positions were eliminated in layoffs that took effect Wednesday: one deputy chief, one administrative assistant, one fire and life safety education specialist, one receptionist and one maintenance support employee. Four other positions will be eliminated Nov.16 when retirements take effect for two deputy chiefs and two administrative assistants.
“We’re sad to be losing these employees who have served our citizens well. Over the next few months, we will be reorganizing our administrative staff to fill the responsibilities of those who have retired or were laid off,” Widdis said. “We’re confident that with a streamlined administration and smarter deployment of existing personnel, our firefighters will be able to continue to serve the public well.”
Widdis said these administrative staffing changes will not impact emergency services or fire station staffing. “When you call 9-1-1, you can expect to receive the same service you do today from our dedicated firefighters,” he said.
In addition to covering the unincorporated area south of Everett, Fire District 1 is the largest provider of fire and emergency medical service in Snohomish County. Fire District 1 operates 12 stations to serve more than 227,000 residents in unincorporated communities as well as the cities of Brier, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and Woodway.