Northshore Fire Chief resigns - Fire commissioners weighing next steps

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Former Northshore Fire Chief
Jim Torpin

According to sources, Northshore Fire Chief Jim Torpin unexpectedly and abruptly resigned his position during the week of May 12, leaving the department without a chief.

The Board of Commissioners called a meeting on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at Station 51 in Kenmore.

Fire Commissioners from Shoreline and Woodinville were present along with the Firefighters Union Presidents from Shoreline, Northshore, and Woodinville.

A motion was made to make Eric Magnuson the acting Fire Chief of NSFD, but apparently no decision was made.

The unions, during public comment, made a pitch to contact Shoreline Fire and Woodinville Fire and have a public, open, special meeting to explore possible options for the future of fire service in North King County, such as consolidation with either department.

The commissioners did not address it at that time, but listened to public (union) comment, and will evaluate options.


Anonymous,  May 23, 2019 at 9:54 AM  

Chief Torpin's departure was neither abrupt nor unexpected. The Board had been negotiating a retirement agreement with him for well over a month. The fact that they now find themselves without even an acting chief is a failure of the board. I'm not sure who the "source" is, but they are clearly spinning the situation to an end that serves their interests.

Mike Dee May 23, 2019 at 10:06 AM

Mike Dee May 23, 2019 at 11:20 AM  

I attended both of these meetings.
This was an unexpected change, that was apparently negotiated during an Executive Session.

Board of Commissioners
Special Meeting
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

IX. Executive Session

9.1 To discuss with legal counsel potential and pending litigation pursuant to
RCW 42.30.110(1)(i) for up to 30 minutes.

o Action may or may not be taken thereafter in Open Session

After this Executive Session,
Back in the Open Meeting, on the Record (Recording Available- Website- last minute-,5988 )
The Chair offered to entertain a Motion-
Commissioner Ellis Motioned, Commissioner Gehrke seconded,
To Approve the Severance Agreement in (&) Release and Hold Harmless

the Board did take Action, they Motioned, 2nded,
and All Voted in Favor of the Motion, as stated by the Chair.

Northshore Fire Department
Board of Commissioners
Regular Meeting
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
[Chief Torpin, had mentioned previously, and I believe again, at the May 7th, Regular Board Meeting, that he would not be at (certain meetings of the Board, during a certain time frame- apparently due to a long deserved vacation).

So, Deputy Chief Magnusson, was Representing the District, in the Fire Chief’s absence.

As outlined in the Job description:

“The Deputy Chief may take command responsibility at emergency and non-emergency incidents; serves as a liaison between the District and other departments, committees, and outside agencies; provides highly responsible and complex administrative support of the Fire Chief; and represents the District in the absence of the Fire Chief.“

With my link to the News Release from the Fire District:

So I feel, he did not really Resign, or leave the District without a Fire Chief.

The Meeting the Board called, was their Regularly Scheduled Board Meeting.

They did have a Special Meeting right before that, under Executive Session.

II. Executive Session
2.1 To discuss matters related to collective bargaining pursuant to RCW 42.30.140(4)(b).

No Motion to make Deputy Chief, the Acting Chief, was necessary, yet, since the Fire Chief had already planned to be absent during this time.

Mike Dee out

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