CFD firefighter eyes ECFR seat

Brooks Cooper challenges incumbent John Clancy

By

Published:

 

John Clancy

Education: Bachelor of science in sociology

Community involvement: Served as an audit commissioner for the Lacamas Community Credit Union board of directors

Phone: 835-8621

Brooks Cooper

Education: Camas High School graduate, studied at Clark College

Community involvement: C.A.R.O.L. Christmas food and toy drive chairperson for 27 years

Phone: 834-7725

John Clancy

Education: Bachelor of science in sociology

Community involvement: Served as an audit commissioner for the Lacamas Community Credit Union board of directors

Phone: 835-8621

Brooks Cooper

Education: Camas High School graduate, studied at Clark College

Community involvement: C.A.R.O.L. Christmas food and toy drive chairperson for 27 years

Phone: 834-7725

A career Camas firefighter is challenging incumbent John Clancy for East County Fire & Rescue Commission Position 4.

“I’ve been with the fire service for 27 years and want to continue doing that,” said Brooks Cooper. “With my experience as a firefighter, I’ll make a great commissioner.”

Clancy, who has been on the commission seven years, enjoys his job and wants to continue.

“I like doing what I am doing and feel like I’m contributing to the community.”

Brooks Cooper

Cooper, 49, believes that ECFR needs to “broaden its horizons” and consider the idea of a future merger with Camas and Washougal.

“We really need to look at a regional approach,” he said. “If something isn’t in place in the future, ECFR will lose revenue and the department will shrink.”

He explained that as Camas and Washougal continue to grow, property in east county will be annexed and the tax base will decrease.

“But in the end, a full merger has to go to a vote,” he said. “It’s not something the commissioners can push through.”

A website created and managed by ECFR volunteers states that those running against the incumbents are doing so with the purpose of “hijacking” the commission, pushing for a merger between Camas and Washougal, and phasing out the volunteer firefighters. The site, www.fcomm.org, also claims that the challengers are part of a group effort, supported by the International Association of Fire Firefighters.

Cooper makes no secret of the fact that he favors a merger, but added that he has no intention of getting rid of volunteers.

“ECFR volunteers are the backbone of the department,” he said. “There is no way you cannot have volunteers. They are good people and provide great service. We have never had problems with them, other than issues with training that they may or may not be current on.”

Cooper added that he and challengers Tom Gianatasio and Kenny Cochran are not running as a group.

“It’s not a ‘hijack’ and I have nothing bad to say about the current commissioners,” he said.

If elected, Cooper plans to continue serving as a Camas fire captain.

“I don’t see it as a conflict of interest,” he said. “At a fire scene, you put the fire out and that’s what it is about.”

Cooper said he feels the most important issue the commission will need to deal with is retaining and training volunteers,

“With a regional approach, they would have access to the training we provide in the city of Camas,” Cooper said. “They do a good job now, but with a regional approach, it would make them even better.”

Cooper said Clancy is a good commissioner, but he feels a change is needed.

“Based on my experience, I feel that I could do better,” Cooper said. “I could bring out-of-the box thinking to their department and look for ideas on how to improve it.”

John Clancy

Clancy, 72, is a retired lieutenant colonel for the Marine Corps and financial officer. He was recruited to serve on the commission after taking a Community Emergency Response Training class at ECFR.

“Having been there seven years, I have the experience to serve in this position,” he said. “Because of my background of leading large units of people, I have been through training programs, building budgets and long range planning.”

Regarding a potential merger as part of the long-range plans, Clancy said that it’s a possibility due to financial reasons.

“Any government agency’s biggest expenditure is for personnel,” he said. “And Camas already runs the ambulance service for all of east county. The biggest thing is that there is a difference in culture between the departments. Camas does not have volunteers anymore because of a conscious decision on their part.”

Clancy added that for now, his main focus is keeping ECFR’s budget sound.

“We do have an advantage over the city fire departments because what we do is very single purpose,” he said. “We aren’t splitting the pie with other departments.”

Clancy said another focus in recent years has been upgrading training for volunteers.

“Everyone is on a set of training standards that comply with (National Fire Protection Agency) requirements,” he said. “That’s one thing the commission has worked very hard on is getting standards set in place to make sure everyone meets these. We now have a full-time firefighter who is a training chief and all he does is work on the training for cadets, part-timers, volunteers and our junior fire academy.”

He added that volunteers are the lifeblood of the department, logging more than 5,000 hours and saving the district approximately $350,000.

“That’s how we exist,” Clancy said. “We couldn’t be the district we are without volunteers, so our focus is on training people, and giving them educational and practical skills.”

When asked why voters should cast their ballots for him over the incumbent, Clancy said because of his experience.

“We have built a whole atmosphere of thinking and planning for the next step,” he said. “My position on the commission is one of continued sound financial stability and good financial practices.”