Whatcom County auditors conclude NWFR investigation

The Whatcom County Auditor’s Office concluded an investigation prompted by a majority vote from North Whatcom Fire and Rescue (NWFR) commissioners last month in regard to the residency and voting status of NWFR commissioner Dean Berkeley.

In a statement addressed to Berkeley and fire chief William Pernett, staff with the auditor’s office confirmed that Berkeley owns property on 4123 Fishermans Bend Lane in Blaine, declaring that his voting registration status was valid.

On September 28, NWFR commissioners lodged accusations against Berkeley after he stated the following at a White Rock City Council meeting in June: “I am four generations White Rock,” he said. “My residence is on Russell Avenue. So I live here, but I work in Washington state. So this is my community.”

Commissioners are required by law to maintain full-time residency in the district in which they serve. While auditor’s office staff was able to verify his ownership of the property in Blaine, they do not determine if he lives in Blaine full-time. American citizens living outside of the U.S. may list their last property of residence to register to vote.

In an interview with The Northern Light last month, Berkeley labeled the accusations as attempts to discredit him and explained that he is a dual citizen with family in White Rock.

NWFR commissioners continue to clash with Berkeley on a number of issues, including a pending small claims court suit Berkeley filed against the district in September for reimbursement of missing fire equipment.

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