Sammamish council gets an earful from public over EF&R

The Sammamish City Council got an earful from a standing-room only crowd at the City Council meeting October 29 over the prospect of the City Council deciding to leave the Eastside Fire and Rescue consortium and start its own department.

The Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter has this story.

The Sammamish Review has this story about a dust-up between Mayor Tom Odell and a principal of a school, who commented on the EF&R issue at the previous meeting.

The Review also has this story about the status of a funding model change proposed to Issaquah.

Save Our Fire Department, a new group, urged the Sammamish City Council Tuesday to stay with EF&R. Acknowledging the City Council’s legitimate concerns over the funding model, spokesman Jonathan Wiseman, president of the Eastside Professional Fire Fighters, noted that EF&R is attempting to persuade other EF&R members to reach an accommodation with Sammamish over the funding dispute. Wiseman told me before the meeting that firefighters seek a one year extension of the current agreement to allow more time for a resolution.

Odell told the crowd after public comment that Sammamish tried for 18 months to alter the funding model which results in Sammamish paying roughly 10 times per call than Issaquah for Station 83 responses.

Station 83 is the one on Issaquah-Pine Lake Road at the roundabout.

Sammamish City Manager Ben Yacizi is to give his recommendation to the City Council on November 5, likely to leave EF&R and form the City’s own fire department. The Council plans a decision on November 12.

Many speakers questioned the validity of the financial analysis and projections of the studies on which the recommendation and decision will be based.

The futile negotiations with other EF&R members is spearheaded by Issaquah, which refuses to budge on funding.

I spoke during the public comment period and suggested all parties move to professional mediation or binding arbitration, entering a stand-still agreement of 6, 9 or 12 months as mutually agreed.

Although Sammamish has publicly made this entirely about funding and finances, there are other issues that also should be part of any mediation or arbitration process.

As is its practice, none of the City Council responded to either my suggestion or those comments of others, except for closing comments by Odell at the conclusion of the public comment period.

1 thought on “Sammamish council gets an earful from public over EF&R

  1. Pingback: Eastside Firefighters offer to pay for Mediator in Issaquah-Sammamish dispute | Sammamish Comment

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