Fire Chief Declines COLA Increase During COVID
By Bob Jarman, Chair of the Board of Commissioners, San Juan County Fire District 3
At our last San Juan County Fire District 3 meeting, San Juan Island Fire and Rescue Chief Norvin Collins told the board he was not going to take his contracted cost of living increase.
In the course of his report to the board of commissioners, Chief Collins said he and his wife agreed to decline taking the routine addition of an annual cost of living increase. In the commission meeting, Chief Collins stated that he has been acutely aware of the impact on our community’s families and workers facing budget challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the San Juan County Economic Development Council, San Juan County experienced the largest decrease in employment in Washington state, and the decrease was more significant than the 2008 Great Recession.
While Chief Collins said declining the COLA was a small gesture of solidarity, the board was impressed by his intent. Chief Collins told the board, “we did this on our own, and did not do it to push others to do the same thing.”
On behalf of our board, I commend the Chief for his leadership and on-going commitment to be a contributing member of our community. Chief Collins continues to lead by example, and his gesture follows the SJIF&R ethos: to serve our community and to always do the right thing.
We are grateful to Chief Collins and his wife for their commitment and service. They exemplify what the Chief has been saying through his service with SJIF&R, “We are all in this together.”