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Poulsbo Fire Chief Daniel Olson leaving for Vancouver, Wash.
POULSBO — Poulsbo Fire Department Fire Chief Daniel Olson has accepted a position with the Vancouver Fire Department. After an extensive selection process, Olson received a formal offer of employment and will be leaving his position with the Poulsbo Fire Department on June 3.
Olson, who has been with the department since July of 2008, said, “My older daughters, along with their children, have relocated to the Vancouver area and because of our desire to be a part of our immediate family’s lives I applied for the position with the Vancouver Fire Department.”
Olson wrote in a recent letter to the Board of Fire Commissioners, “It is with sadness that I write this letter. The sadness comes from the friendships developed with the commissioners and staff. This has been a very difficult decision for me and yet provides an opportunity to be closer to my immediate family.”
Olson went on to thank the fire commissioners for “trusting me with the honor of serving as Fire Chief for Kitsap County Fire District 18 over the past three years. It has been a time of significant change for the District and our nation, requiring strong leadership with difficult decisions. Your trust and mentoring as we navigated through the difficult decisions will always be a tender remembrance in my heart.”
Olson is leaving Poulsbo in a wake of more potential change. He and North Kitsap Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Dan Smith have looked into the possibility of a merger between the two fire districts, and will present their recommendations to the fire commissioners of both districts at a meeting April 16, 7 p.m., at NKF&R headquarters, 26642 Miller Bay Road NE, Kingston.
"He far exceeded our expectations when we hired him, in all ways," said Poulsbo Fire Commission Chairman Darryl Milton. "He came in in a very difficult situation, working without two deputy chiefs, and handled things extremely well."
Milton said the two commissions have been holding meetings over the last two years to discuss their financial situation and a possible merger.
"We're clones of each other, we're about the same size, same number of calls, same employees," he said — and both in financial straits. "Our No. 1 priority is the citizens that we serve, and our attempt to keep service levels at what they are or better."
He said he expects to know whether to hire an interim or replacement chief after the April 16 meeting.
"We're leaving all the options open at the moment," Milton said.