Judge rejects fire recalls

Published on Thu, May 15, 2003 by Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

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Judge rejects fire recalls

By Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

Whatcom County Superior Court judge David Nichols rejected the recalls of four North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Services (NWFRS) fire commissioners on Friday.

Last month, two residents in fire districts 3 and 13 filed recall petitions against the commissioners, all of whom sit on the North Whatcom superboard. Fenton Norman, a resident in District 13, filed against Butch Hinchey and William Salter, district 13 commissioners.

Norman had originally filed against commissioners Roger Hawley and Rich Bosman in district 3, but the petitions were thrown out because Norman no longer lived in the district. Tami Wallace, a district 3 resident, filed against Hawley and Bosman.

The petitions allege that the commissioners improperly handled personnel matters, including the cutting of two jobs in February, those of assistant chief Bob Hamstra and volunteer coordinator Barb Wallace, the mother of Tami Wallace.

However, Judge Nichols disagreed with the alleged matters. In dismissing the petition, he wrote that �It is not malfeasance or malfeasance, when acting in good faith in the exercise of one�s duties to be wrong, dumb, incompetent or ill-advised, or to exercise poor judgement, even if that could be shown.�

Nichols ruled that the alleged actions are typical of business conduct, and did not show any acts of malfeasance or misfeasance, or violations of the commissioners oaths of office.

Nichols further noted that the alleged actions cited were vague and did not show how the commissioners violated standard regulations, rules, law policy or procedure.

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