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Trimble, Smith face off in Sandy Fire race

Incumbent Ron Berglund unopposed for Position 5


SmithTrimbleIn Clackamas County’s May 21 special election, registered voters in the Sandy Fire and Rescue District will be asked to vote their preference for Position No. 4. Jan Smith is challenging incumbent candidate Bill Trimble.

Ballots, which registered voters may already have received, are due back by 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 21.

Smith vs. Trimble

Trimble says he is invested in supporting the fire district and wants to see it improve its financial status. He acknowledges the district has a lot of unfunded benefits such as PERS, medical care and unused vacation time, and he wants a budget that includes that potential debt as a line item.

He also doesn’t want to propose any more taxes or bonds, and wants to eliminate the expectation of an annual — and growing in size each year — tax-anticipation loan.

Smith acknowledges the district board is facing many challenges and wants to offer what she calls “new, fresh and creative solutions.”

Smith points to her time in other leadership roles — on the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce board, Sandy Mountain Festival board and Relay for Life committee — as time when she tested her positive attitude.

“When a group comes together with a positive ‘can-do’ attitude, so much more can and will be accomplished,” Smith said.

Trimble speaks with a more down-to-earth attitude. He wants to reduce the expenses for administrative personnel by reducing the number of personnel.

“There’s too many chiefs and not enough Indians,” he said, speaking of offering more support to volunteers.

Continuing his emphasis on financial matters, Trimble said the board can’t plan well without funds. The district should budget with what it has and not take out loans, he said.

“With good management, we can maintain services,” he said, “and live within current funding.”

Smith says she has spent her life learning to invent creative solutions, while working on a family farm where “teamwork and creative problem solving was the daily norm.”

“I was taught at an early age,” she said, “that just because this is the way we did it last time, does not mean it is the right way to go about it this time.”

Smith also is concerned about the decreasing number of volunteers who live in the Sandy area, which makes it increasingly difficult to call enough firefighters to duty when there are two incidents at the same time.

“I would work to empower our community, firefighters, and fire board to come together,” she said, “and find creative new ways of serving the needs of our fire district patrons.”

Smith talks about her hopes for the fire district, which include firefighters’ training, equipment that has been upgraded and a strategic plan that keeps all aspects of the district operation on track.

Trimble, who is serving the Sandy fire board as secretary/treasurer, has taken action to assist the fire district by offering reasonably low bids on work orders — to save the district money and avoid taxing, borrowing or bonding.

But he also has received criticism even though his company saved the district thousands by winning several district contracts for construction projects over several years.

Trimble acknowledges doing work for the district and being paid for the work, but he says he always abstained from voting to approve his bid, and if there were no other bids he waited while the board sought more bids for a comparison.

Trimble’s motivation for bidding so low was to save the district money, he says, especially when he donated time and money to build the fire department annex for $30,000 when other bids were between $180,000 and $250,000. He also points to his bid of $2,400 to do some recent roof maintenance on the Sandy fire station, when the project was proposed to the board at $25,000.

From her experience, Smith says she knows what a good board of directors should be like, and she would like the opportunity to assist the Sandy fire board.

“A board should never micro-manage staff,” she said. “Hire good people; respect their expertise; empower them to do their jobs; hold them accountable; and appreciate them for a job well done.”

Ron Berglund

BerglundIn Clackamas County’s May 21 special election, registered voters in the Sandy Fire and Rescue District will be asked to vote their preference for Position No. 5. Incumbent candidate Ron Berglund is unopposed.

Berglund acknowledges that the fire district has what he calls “money problems.” But he says he is confident the district will “get through these times.”

He points to his years of experience and accountability as assurances that he will see the fire district through to better times.

The services Berglund has performed include: volunteer firefighter for 30 years; fire district budget committee for seven years; several church boards for 17 years; and an elementary school board for seven years.

“I have always been a good listener and looked at the whole picture,” he said.

Among his hopes for accomplishment if elected to the board again: keep the district’s vision up to date; stay accountable to the voters; foster cooperation between volunteer and career staff; support a strong training program; and educate district patrons about how much it costs to provide services to them.