Valley Fire District Commissioner Jim Fox has stepped down three months before the end of his term. The board of commissioners plans to appoint Joe Dawson, a West Valley School District administrator, as interim commissioner, fire board chairman Ray Allen said. A specific date has not been set.
Dawson is the sole candidate for Fox’s seat in the November election. He served on the fire district’s civil service commission in the early 1980s and was asked to run by the fire chief and the chairman of the board of commissioners.
Fox said he has become increasingly busy with his family businesses, and is unable to serve another term. He is a partner in Family Home Mortgage and a co-owner of nine Taco Time restaurants in Spokane County and Coeur d’Alene.
He resigned, effective Wednesday, because an upcoming trip will prevent him from fulfilling his duties for much of the remainder of his term.
As he left, Fox praised the fire district for serving residents well and improving its facilities. But, he admitted frustration with some of the demands made by the firefighters and their union.
At one point, he said, staff overtime costs put the district hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget, despite the fact that there weren’t serious or unusual firefighting demands.
“I felt we should have had absolute fiscal responsibility,” he said. Fox served a total of six years on the fire commission. He defeated Dawson, his replacement, in a 1986 election. In 1995, he was appointed to replace deceased commissioner Bill Allen.
Dawson, 56, has lived in the Valley since 1966. He has worked for the West Valley School District as a teacher, principal and administrator for more than 30 years.
He now runs the district’s transportation, food service and summer school programs.
Fire district officials have asked him if he is available for an interim position, Dawson said.
Dawson said he doesn’t have an agenda, or any suggestions for big changes in the district.
“I look at the fire department in the same way as a school district,” Dawson said. “The community owns (it).”