Gene Dobry, the incumbent Lacey Fire Commissioner, is being challenged by Paul Perz, the retired State Assistant Fire Marshall.
This low level campaign is interesting in that both of the candidates are well-qualified for the job and both have appealing qualities.
When Dobry first ran six-years ago it was at the peak of the conflict between the City of Lacey and the Lacey Fire District. Three incumbent members of the Lacey City Council were defeated and Dobry beat longtime fire commissioner Frank Kirkbride.
His platform was called the “R” Plan. Revive the volunteer force, renegotiate a partnership with the city, refuse to overspend and restore confidence in the fire district. Dobry says every promise he made has been kept.
Perz has a long record of involvement in the Lacey community. He served on the Lacey Planning Commission, the Thurston County Boundary Review Board and is currently a member of the Lacey Sister City Association. In addition to being the assistant state fire marshal, Perz was a member of the State Emergency Response Commission.
He also has two sons who are fire fighters and are employed by the Lacey Fire District.
That’s the problem.
While there’s no doubt that Perz is well-qualified, he has an inherent conflict of interest. Can a father serve on the commission that sets his son’s salaries and working conditions, and at the same time represent the taxpayers and the citizens of Lacey?
Perz says he can, but refuses to excuse himself from voting on union contracts. Dobry says it would be hard not to let family ties have some influence.
Dobry has lived up to every one of his campaign promises from six years ago. For that reason and for the fact that Perz has a conflict of interest – - I’m going to vote for Dobry.
(Interviews with both candidates are available by clicking on the “Coffee With Ken” button)