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. Mrs. Lunsford’s “committee of 1”, voted unanimously to call for the resignation of union reps for actions backed unanimously by the union!!! Mrs. Lunsford, just as Commissioners Chan and Meador’s remarks were a window into their true feelings about Latinos. your comment is also a window into your total disregard for the opinion of a whole body of professionals and the sentiment of an entire community.

  3. Rosamarie that is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me. Unlike you who in your own words, “pull in people who owe you favors” and hold City Council filibusters to prove a point. I proudly as a committee of one will speak up for what I believe it right to any organization. I also know you and your friend Ted Hikel are going to use this as political ammo for the next election in order to control the city vote on stopping Lynnwood to peruse a Regional Fire Authority. Lynnwood can not afford a City owned Fire Department where as a RFA would decrease their expenditures which would help fight fighters afford the staffing and resources they need to keep our community safe.

  4. In a democracy, Ms. Lunsford, the majority wins. Your proud committee of 1 is losing, and for a good reason. Nobody in his right mind wants to be on the side of racism.

  5. Rosamarie, I wish I could to agree with you if it was that simple. If it were that simple Hilary Clinton would be our president. People voted for Don the Con even though he ran a racist campaign. It wasn’t long ago, that you or I couldn’t vote because we are both women. Today there is still a social injustice of who and who cannot vote. I’m so angry at the concept of MAGA because America has never been as great as it is today. As people have the right to think people who voted for Trump are racist because they condoned a racist campaign, people have the right to think using satire is racist. This committee of one does not think people who voted for Trump are racists nor do I think using satire is racist. In a true democracy, we would leave it up to a vote. If people do not want David Chan or Bob Meador as an elected official, they won’t vote for them again. In the meantime, they do have a job to create a stable funding for fighters. I can only hope that people can be adults about this situation and accept their apology and work together in a manner to truly help our fire fighters.

  6. I for one am mad as hell about these racial remarks by 2 supposed leaders. I want The City of Lynnwood to stop all talks with FD1 until they both resign. Lynnwood does not need FD1. They need us.
    Unfortunately, our Mayor and 4 of her councilmembers have repeatedly said that us citizens are to stupid to know what is truely going on. They are hoping that Lynnwood citizens don’t wake up until they get a 400.00 plus increase in their property taxes. You know, pay more for less services.
    Example. When we had the huge fire here in Lynnwood we had no Fire Chief. Hey Lynnwood!! Guess what? It has been a few months and we still don’t have a Fire Chief. Why? Because our do nothing council and Mayor want us to go with FD1. Racial remarks are ok with them. That is why they desolved the Lynnwood diversity Council March 1st 2016 and have done nothing in over a year to regain the trust of Lynnwood citizens. So, I say “Mayor and councilmembers start looking out for us citizens and stop these talks.

  7. I do not understand why it is (still) acceptable for elected officials to make racist statements, even if they are not intended as such.

    As elected officials, they are expected to represent those whom both they elected and those whom they oversee/govern. When we look to our leaders, we should see someone who has made the choice to represent all of us. Making negative comments about any group, even jokingly, casts a lot of doubt on if they truly represent everyone.

    I’m happy to see that Fire Commissioners David Chan and Bob Meador have accepted a reprimand and have both written formal apologies. But, I can understand that the Firefighter’s Union vote of “no confidence”. How can the Union be confident that there will not be any intentional or unintentional bias when it comes to dealing with Latinos from their commissioners? How can the Latino public be assured of that? After what Mr. Chan and Mr. Meador said, they no longer can.

  8. Thank you Thomas, you are right I should respect the union’s decision even if I disagree with it. It was wrong for me to demand 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. It is a national issue of all fire fighters and paramedics struggling to find funds to cover their increasing expenditures. The role of a paramedic in our society is complex of being somewhere in between public safety and health care. Even though as society we know this and rely on it, it appears we are not ready to pay for it. I really hope the Union’s exploitation of these two commissioners private conversion does not hurt the voters decision on having the Lynnwood Fire Department and FD1 combine resources to drive down their costs.

  9. These 2 Commissioners voiced their racism publicly (they were in a public place) and when they got caught they suddenly became victims. I have worked with and advocated for victims of abuse, including those who have been tortured. I always found it fascinating when the torturer claimed he was the victim because people found out what he had done. How could his torture victim have been so cruel as to tell people what he did! And guess what, people would then turn around and blame the victim for causing the torturer embarrassment because he seemed such a nice guy, other than liking to torture adults/children but that’s okay as long as it wasn’t them.
    Racists are nice people too! So we should protect them from people they demean, even if they also hurt children. Right?????
    After reading their remarks I have to wonder if they will ensure response times are a little slower to areas where “THOSE PEOPLE” reside? Wonder how long it will be before I’m on the list for speaking out and calling a racist a racist because of his racist words.
    If the Lynnwood Mayor goes ahead with pushing through handing over everything to FD 1 while these 2 Commissioners remain then she will be declaring the City of Lynnwood as a city who not only welcomes racists with open arms but a city of racists. Which makes one wonder is she………

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