A day after Woodinville Fire & Rescue District commissioners to begin negotiations on a separation agreement with Chief I. David Daniels, the district said the “separation and resignation” came at Daniels’ request.
Commissioners gave no public reason for removing Daniels at Tuesday’s meeting. Daniels’ 19-month tenure in Woodinville has been rocky almost from the start, culminating July 19 when International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2950 announced a in the chief.
In a release to the press Wednesday afternoon (see attached PDF), the Woodinville Fire & Rescue District stated:
“Last night, at a pre-scheduled special meeting of the Board, Commissioners met in executive session, then reconvened in open session and agreed to enter into negotiations requested by Chief Daniels on his separation and resignation from the District.
As a result, effective immediately, the Board has placed Chief Daniels on paid administrative leave until further notice, and Deputy Chief Mario Acosta will serve as the District’s Acting Chief until the Board announces an Interim Fire Chief.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, the board came out of executive session and commissioner Kevin Coughlin made a motion to enter into negotiations to draft and prepare a separation agreement with Chief Daniels, and authorize commissioners Osgood and Coughlin to work with attorney Richard Mitchell to present a package to the board as soon as possible. The motion was seconded by commissioner Gerry Vucci and approved 5-0.
After he was asked for clarification on whether Daniels resigned or was removed from his position, board chair Tim Osgood stated in an email to Patch: “Chief Daniels was placed on paid Administrative Leave pending signature of a settlement agreement with the district.”
Daniels’ contract (see attached PDF) runs until Dec. 31, 2013 and pays him $160,000 annually. While details of the pending separation agreement have yet to be released, there is an article in Daniels’ contract that addresses termination. It reads as follows:
Article XVII: In the event of termination of the employment of the Fire Chief, for any reason and whether by request of the Fire Chief or action of the District, the Fire Chief shall receive the following compensation:
- Current monthly salary prorated to the date of termination.
- Reimbursement of unpaid out of pocket authorized expenses.
- Salary equivalent for accrued banked time through the month of termination.
- If this agreement is terminated by the District without cause prior to December 31, 2010, the Fire Chief shall not be entitled to any severance payment; provided, however, in the event the Agreement is terminated any time after December 31. 2010, the Fire Chief shall be entitled to three (3)months’ severance pay if terminated in 2011 (paid out over three months), four (4) months’ severance pay if terminated in 2012 (paid out over four months), and five (5) months’ severance pay if terminated in 2013 (paid out over five months).
The district has yet to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Daniels’ predecessor, Dennis Johnson, who was removed from his post by the board in 2009.