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Daniels Is Resigning, Fire District Says

Embattled Woodinville Fire Chief I. David Daniels requested separation and is on paid leave, according to press release. Board voted Tuesday to begin separation talks.

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.

Annie Archer August 12, 2011 at 02:33 AM
I've removed a couple of comments because they either contained unsubstantiated accusations that I could not verify or they were attacking an individual. Comment on the person's actions. Thank you.
Fire Captain August 14, 2011 at 06:31 AM
The ability of the community to determine the future of the Woodinville Fire Department now lies in who they elect. With the current economics there might need to be some thought given to combining the proven talents and skills in the region to meet the leaner presence and tax supported structure that can be achieved in a new organization or by combining the existing resources with and under a single point of leadership. Tax dollars are a public trust that should be handled as a precious commodity that has a limited shelf life and far reaching consequences. Remember that the real goal is to deliver Fire and Life Safety on the streets, to the homes and for the businesses. Evaluate every option and explore things that seem out of the ordinary. Can an adjoining enitiy help make you a leaner and more tax responsible organization. Home rule is a big deal, but it's not the only deal. A Fire Authority may be in your future. I think the citizen just wants to know someone is coming who will help them. I have never seen the shape, color or lettering on a patch affect the care they recieve or how fast the Fire goes out. I have seen politics handcuff many an organization. "To Protect and Serve still works!
BB August 14, 2011 at 06:01 PM
Annie, I apprecieate trying to keep these comments civil. But it's a shame that the local media (both the patch and Woodinville Weekly) are not able to do investigative reporting. Some of the comments removed were factual, but there is no way the F.D. will say anything due to their legal problems, created by their personnel actions over the last 2 years. Thus, they can not be substanitated without really digging into things. Unfortunately, the public is left to wonder what the truth is.
Annie Archer August 14, 2011 at 08:11 PM
Actually, investigative reporting is finding facts based on legal documents as well as people going on the record. The comments I took down I did investigate and found no factual truth to them. I do have request for documents from various places and expect to get them by mid next week. Under Washington State law, a government department has five days to respond to a request, and more time to make those records available. Investigative reporting on one story can takes months, not weeks. Be assured it is being done.
East Meets West August 16, 2011 at 08:13 PM
just saw this article after reading about Acosta's bullying article. Perhaps while Woodinville is going through significant changes, someone should look into Acosta's history...bullying is nothing new for this guy.

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