Incumbents returned in EDH fire board

By From page A5 | November 09, 2012

Incumbent fire board members Jim Hartley and John Hidahl retained their board seats in the Nov. 6 general election.

Hartley earned a fourth term on Tuesday by garnering 27.9 percent of the vote, a total of 6,481 votes. Hidahl followed with 5,612 votes for 24.2 percent of the total. Challenger Sherry Petersen mustered 4,1523 votes: 17.9 percent, followed by John Peterson’s 3,524 votes: 15.2 percent, and Craig Petersen’s 3,390 votes: 14.6 percent.

Hidahl works full time as an engineer and had little time for the “ground game.” But as a retired Sacramento fire chief, Hartley had time to wave signs and also canvased neighborhoods with the firefighters supporting him.

“I answered a lot of questions and had some very positive contacts,” Hartley said.

Driving down White Rock Road recently he encountered two young girls in oversized firefighter turnouts, waving signs on the side of the road containing his name. “That really took me aback,” he said.

Hidahl has been on both sides of the union in his 28 years of service, and noted that the two years he sat out were not by choice. “The union backed Moni Gilmore over me and she beat me,” he said. He’s since been elected with and without union support and reported that he greatly prefers the former.

“My commitment is to continue to work with the firefighters and the administration and work something out that works for everyone,” he said. “We’ve started a transition that’s far from over.”

He insists that the newly formed Budget and Negotiations Committee, which includes union leadership, the administration and a couple of board members, is up to the task.

Hartley said that he’s not conflicted about receiving the support of a union he will be negotiating with in less than a year.

“I’m there to represent the community,” he said. “If I weren’t committed I wouldn’t run. The guys understand fully that I’m going to do what’s right for the community.”

Hidahl was equally optimistic about the unprecedented cooperation that resulted from the 2011 negotiation. “The commitment is there on the union side,” he said. “This is a truly a collaborative effort. You’ll see. We’ll find a middle ground.”

“I hope that the taxpayers continue to stay involved,” Hidahl said. “We listen to them. We have to.”

Mike Roberts

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