Letter for Friday, August 16, 2019

Thank fire commissioners for their integrity

Recently the TGI printed an article stating that the Kauai Fire Commission poorly handled the recruitment of a new fire chief, a position that has been vacant since Jan. 1.

The article was missing some of the factual information, which can be found in the minutes from the April 1, 2018 meeting. The commission was transparent in revealing that their selection process from many applications was reduced first by seven criterion of certifications and experience.

A narrowed field of 15 candidates was given telephone interviews, with a final grouping being invited to a formal oral interview. From that group, only one person showed up for their scheduled interview. The other candidates did not live on the island of Kauai and selected not to travel without the Kauai taxpayers footing the bill.

I praise the fire commissioners for their courage of being transparent in this process, and also for being prepared to interview a group of candidates that were not willing to utilize their own personal resources to interview for a leadership position on our sacred island.

I was present at the April 1 meeting, as well as a majority of the fire commission meetings since early 2018. The appointed commissioners perform their duties free of compensation, and are staking their character and reputations on any decision that they make.

It makes sense to me that leaving the position vacant until the right person is found is the most courageous and prudent decision that they could make.

Our residents, visitors and all members of the Kauai Fire Department and Ocean Safety Bureau are deserving of the right person to lead. We should expect that our fire commissioners do nothing less than create and follow a process that gives a best fire chief to build upon our already great levels of service and compassion.

Additionally in response to the complete TGI article, I agree that the Police Commission did a great job in the selection of a new police chief, and I agree with all of the positive comments about my friend, Deputy Chief Kilipaki Vaughan.

Mike Gibson, Kapaa

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