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Having served the North Central Washington area as a Deputy State Fire Marshal, and then later as the Assistant Fire Chief of Mount Vernon, I can whole heartedly say this is LONG overdue for the Wenatchee Valley. Regional Fire Authorities can reduce "triplication" of purchases and certain administrative staffing components, but it also provides economy of scale. Thus the new agency has more purchasing power, standardization, and less bureacratic replication. Think about it - Instead of 3 Fire Chiefs with an average salary of 80 to 100K, you would then only need one for the new Fire Authority. Similarily, you may only need 1 Assistant Fire Chief, 1 Fire Marshal, 1 Training Officer, 1 Safety Officer - instead of having triple the positions as it exists today.
Are there drawbacks? Absolutely. There's a loss of "identity"; there may be "power struggles" between the old boundary lines (ie. East Wenatchee -vs- Wenatchee), and there may not be a "HUGE" monetary savings, nonetheless, the benefits will far surpass the current conditions.
Congratulations and good luck to the leaders of the community for being so forward thinking!!! Maybe upper valley fire districts will follow in suit ???
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