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Hanson takes over as Valley Fire board chairman

The Spokane Valley Fire Department board of commissioners is under new leadership after the recent resignation of commission chairman Monte Nesbitt for health reasons.

Vice chairman Kolby Hanson took over leadership of the board and commissioner Joe Dawson was elected vice chairman. Both positions will remain in effect until January, when the commissioners typically elect a new chairman and vice chairman.

Nesbitt had moved to Cheney after his recent marriage but he kept his voter registration in Spokane Valley. In a hearing last month, Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton ruled Nesbitt’s voter registration invalid because he didn’t live at the address listed. She said his registration would be canceled.

Nesbitt had announced plans to resign from the board on Dec. 31, but a recent health scare prompted him to quit immediately.

The commissioners also agreed to accept applications to fill Nesbitt’s position. Applications will be available at the department’s administration building at 2120 N. Wilbur Road. The applications are due before the next commissioner meeting on Oct. 22.

Hanson said he was worried the department would only receive one or two applications. Fire Chief Mike Thompson said he expected to see between six and 10 applications. “I’ve already received inquiries,” he said.

The commissioners also reviewed an opinion from attorney Brian Snure on the legality of Nesbitt’s votes after he moved out of the district. Fire commissioners are required to live in the district they serve. Snure wrote that there is case law that Nesbitt’s votes were valid because he was a “de facto” commissioner and his ineligibility did not affect his ability to make decisions. “His vote was valid,” Thompson said.

In other business, the commissioners heard an update on the construction of Station 6, which has been delayed for weeks due to design issues. The problems included incorrectly designed floor drains and a structural beam in the way of the system needed to raise and lower the truck bay doors. The new floor drains and curbs are going in this week, said Deputy Fire Chief Larry Rider.

The worry has been getting the asphalt in before the weather gets too cold because the department can’t move in if there isn’t any asphalt, Rider said. The asphalt should go in next week, but the predicted rain could cause a problem, he said. The station will also have to have offset door openers because other door mechanisms were too slow and unreliable, Rider said. “That’s the only work around we have,” he said.

Rider was optimistic that the portions of the project that need to be done in good weather could be completed in time. “We’ve kind of turned the schedule upside down in terms of where we are because of the weather,” he said.