Firefighters union votes ‘no confidence’ in Commissioners Chan and Meador

IAFF Local 1828, the firefighters union for Snohomish County Fire District 1, announced this week that it voted ‘no confidence’ in Fire Commissioners David Chan and Bob Meador.

The statement released on Monday, April 3, addresses racially insensitive remarks made by the commissioners during a break in a meeting held on March 7. The commissioners did not know their microphones were on at the time, and could be heard having the following exchange while discussing recruiting and hiring paramedics:

“Could we hire a Mexican paramedic?” Chan asked. “I dunno,” Meador replied, laughing. “It’s cheaper,” Chan responded, also laughing. “I don’t wanna,” Meador said. “I don’t want those immigrants. They can’t do the job.”

Local 1828, which represents more than 200 firefighters and paramedics, asked the commissioners to resign after the remarks came to light. While the commissioners have since accepted a reprimand and have both written formal apologies, Local 1828 unanimously voted that they have “no confidence” in the commissioners.

“We did not come to this conclusion easily, we had hoped the commissioners would do the right thing, apologize, take responsibility and resign,” Thad Hovis, president of Local 1828, said in a statement. “After their meeting on March 21, it is apparent that both of them feel they have been victimized… We continue to be disgusted by the racist comments they made at their March 7 meeting and we ask both of them to step down from their elected positions immediately.”

Fire commissioners cannot be fired from their positions, as they are elected officials.

The full statement from Hovis is below:

“After careful consideration the firefighters of Fire District 1 have voted
unanimously that they have No Confidence​ ​in Commissioner David Chan and
Commissioner Bob Meador. We did not come to this conclusion easily, we had
hoped that the commissioners would do the right thing, apologize, take
responsibility and resign. After their meeting on March 21 it is apparent that
both of them feel that they have been victimized. Commissioner Chan even
went so far as to blame the firefighter’s union for his comments. We continue
to be disgusted by the racist comments they made at their March 7 meeting
and we ask both of them to step down from their elected positions

  1. If Union’s intent was racial driven, they would have dealt with it on a local level first and brought it to the attention of board members to resolve. Instead, they emailed 30 mainstream media to provoke rage, fear and discrimination. They took for granted the positive reputation fire fighters have in mainstream media and did not consider how quickly that could turn. I believe they were only concern with themselves having the power and control of the fire department. Thad Hovis is clearly on a mission to label these two commissioners as racists. It is clear Mr. Chan and Mr. Meador remarks were satirical to vent their frustrations with the obstacles they face when trying to create a diverse work force. I call for the resignation for the union reps that irresponsibly contacted the media with this obscure and heated clip. At least, I expect a written apology of degrading the integrity of FD1 through a character assignation of Commission Bob Meador and David Chan. Out of the own expense I also request they attend ethics and public relations training.

  2. It was wrong for me to request that the fire fighters union reps to resign, that should be up to the fire fighters. I am still disappointed how the union reps are handling this situation. I really wished they first worked with Mr. Chan and Mr. Meador before contacting mainstream media. I should respect the union’s decision even if I disagree it.

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