Western Emergency Services logo. (Courtesy image)

Western Emergency Services logo. (Courtesy image)

Borough seeks to fill vacancy on Western Emergency Services board

The new board governing the Western Emergency Service Area has a seat vacancy the Kenai Peninsula Borough is seeking to fill.

Seat E, the at-large seat on the board, is open and the borough is accepting applications until 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 8.

The board for the newly combined fire and emergency medical service area covering both Ninilchik and Anchor Point was seated by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in December, but the person appointed to Seat E later resigned. In an open resignation letter to Mayor Charlie Pierce, James Kenshalo cited concerns he had with how the board’s first meeting was conducted, as well as concerns with how closely fire department members adhered to COVID-19 safety precautions, such as wearing face coverings.

Voters approved forming the new combined Western Emergency Service Area in the October election, and steps to formalize merging the two independent service areas in Anchor Point and Ninilchik are continuing at the borough level.

The Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Medical Service Area is a department with paid staff that also runs with a supplement of volunteers. It draws funding from a mill rate set on property taxes, and is governed by a board appointed by local voters in elections. Ninilchik Emergency Services is an almost completely volunteer department with only one paid staff member. Up until now, it has been independent of the borough and was run as a nonprofit by a board of directors.

The new board of Western Emergency Services has already met, and the assembly was set to approve the transfer of assets from Ninilchik Emergency Services to the borough during its Tuesday meeting. This transfer would include things like firefighting vehicles, emergency medical equipment and the Ninilchik Emergency Services station building itself.

The Western Emergency Services board is next scheduled to meet on Jan. 13. To apply to be on the board, visit the application on the borough’s website: www.kpb.us/service-areas/service-area-board-appointment-application.

“Any qualified voter who has resided within the service area for 180 days may apply for appointment,” according to a vacancy notice from the borough.

The seat term will expire in October 2021. Those interested can call the borough clerk at 907-714-2160 with any questions.

As the at-large seat, Seat E can be filled by someone from anywhere in the service area.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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