By Steve Guntli
The North Whatcom Fire and Rescue (NWFR) board of commissioners has named a new chief.
On September 1, the NWFR board announced William Pernett will take on the position. Pernett has been serving as interim chief of the department for the last three months, following the resignation of former chief Ron Anderson. Anderson stepped down from his position earlier this year following increasingly tense union negotiations.
Pernett has worked in fire service for 25 years, mostly in Tucson, Arizona. He and his family transferred to Whatcom County in 2014, when Pernett accepted the position of division chief of operations. Pernett holds degrees in fire science and paramedic studies, as well as a bachelor of science in public safety administration. As chief, Pernett will oversee 49 full-time firefighters, 52 volunteers and 10 administrative staff members. NWFR’s jurisdiction covers the largest area in the county, at 182 square miles.
Chuck Shipp, the labor representative for IAFF Local 106, said the department employees approve Pernett’s appointment whole-heartedly.
“Everybody’s really excited about it,” he said. “We’re all really happy that [Pernett] was successful in his bid. This will be great for the union going forward.”
Pernett will be officially sworn in during the NWFR fire commissioner’s meeting on Thursday, September 17 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at Blaine Station 61 at 9408 Odell Road.