Fire Chief Declines COLA Increase During COVID

Posted February 7, 2021 at 5:00 am by

San Juan Island Fire and Rescue - Contributed photo

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.”

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Categories: Community, Safety

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