Commissioner Milt Harper
Commissioner Harper moved here with his family from Michigan in 2005. Both of his sons went to Boston Harbor School and since he lived right across the street, it was hard not to get involved. He’s done a lot of classroom volunteer work, co-lead the playground building project in 2006, and served as PTA Treasurer and co-President. Mr. Harper has been a Fire Commissioner since 2011. When he’s not volunteering his time, he enjoys classical music, bicycling and trying to keep up with his kids.
“As a Commissioner, my goal is to assure we provide effective emergency services at a fair cost for tax payers. I value teamwork and am committed to maintaining strong community connections with the Fire District. I see our volunteers experiencing personal growth and having lots of fun while serving our community. Come check us out — I bet you’ll find a place for yourself here too.” Email Commissioner Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Tom Engle
Tom Engle joined the Board in 2014. Tom has lived in the south Bay Fire District with his family for over 20 years, and has been very active in the community. He was president of the South Bay Elementary School PTA, and coached Little League and YMCA basketball for many years. He was on the technology committee at the North Thurston School District in the early stages of acquiring computers for the schools.
In his 20-year Army career, he held leadership positions supervising personnel, preparing budgets, and managing the daily operations of various projects. He currently works as a defense contractor as a computer hardware/software trainer, communications engineer, and project lead for multiple operations and testing projects.
Tom and his wife, Martha, have a combined family of five children and five grandchildren. They enjoy spending time at their recreational property overlooking Lake Cushman, traveling, and spending time with their children, grandchildren, and friends. Welcome aboard Commissioner Engle!
“I look forward to serving as Fire Commissioner to bring open communications, honesty, and transparency to the Board; and to involve the community in making responsible decisions to improve safety, and to serve the needs of its citizens in a fiscally responsible manner.”
Email Commissioner Engle at email@example.com
Commissioner Richard Small
Dick has been a Commissioner with the South Bay Fire Department since 1999. He graduated from North Kitsap High School in Poulsbo and now in semi-retirement, lives in the Hollywood subdivision. Mr. Small spent most of his professional career managing fire and life safety systems as a firefighter, fire chief, state fire marshal and management consultant. He and his wife Helen enjoy the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, including boating, fishing and RVing. He also shares many hours with Helen and her passion for gardening. Both he and his wife treasure the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and find it a perfect place to pursue their hobbies.
Email Commissioner Small at firstname.lastname@example.org
“As a Fire Commissioner, I’m pleased to have the opportunity to serve the community and support the volunteer Firefighters who protect our lives and property.”
Commissioner Rich Gleckler
Commissioner Richard Gleckler first became a Fire Commissioner in 1985 when he was appointed to fill a vacancy with the North Olympia District. He remained an active Commissioner with District 7 until he joined Southbay Fire Department on January 1, 2015, as a result of the merger between the Southbay Fire Department, District 8, and the North Olympia Fire Department, District 7. Rich moved to Thurston County over 40 years ago from Long Beach, California, where he was born and raised. He’s been married to Jan since 1970, and they have two children and seven grandchildren.
Mr. Gleckler worked as an auditor for three years with the State of California and for five years with the Washington State Auditor’s Office. His career also includes 11 years as the owner of Northwest Seamless Gutters and part owner of Design One Inc; and 24 years with the Washington State Department of Transportation as an internal auditor and contracts specialists. He retired in 2013. In 1974, Commissioner Rich Gleckler joined the North Olympia Fire Department (NOFD) as a volunteer firefighter and then an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). At that time, members would respond whenever they were available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and they responded from their home. As part of his career, he served as a Lieutenant for the Department. Rich retired as an active responder in 2010 after having served his community for 36 years.
Mr. Gleckler is fiscally conservative and believes in spending taxpayers money wisely. He believes that serving your community is a great way to give back for services one receives. Being a volunteer fire fighter and EMT was a great source of pride in being able to assist others in their time of need. There was a lot of comradery and a sense of being a part of a larger family.
“If you have a desire and feel you would like to volunteer for the Department, either as a fire fighter, EMT, receptionist, or some other capacity, please give us a call. We would love to hear from you. Email Commissioner Gleckler at email@example.com
Commissioner Mike Berman
Commissioner Mike Berman has been a resident of the district since the mid ’70s, and has been serving as a Commissioner since being elected for District 7 in 1997. He brings a perspective based on several years as a Navy as a line officer, many years as a volunteer firefighter, and a “career” as the Northwest, Alaska and Hawaii service manager for a major international construction, logging and mining equipment manufacturer.
Mike is a conscientious and conservative custodian of the taxpayer’s money. Before authorizing a purchase, he always considers if it is essential to the department’s missions of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), firefighting, or training and preparation, or does it contribute to a cost effective enhancement of the department’s ability to perform the these missions. He often questions whether the department has a sufficient number of personnel that are adequately trained to operate the equipment. He supports the purchase of modern EMS equipment, but frequently opposes the purchase of new engines and tenders against the argument “because they are old and not reliable”. He argues that reliability is a function of a maintenance program, not age. On this and other issues, he sometimes stands alone and votes against the majority.
Mike realizes that the volunteers are the department’s most important, most essential, and most fragile assets. Mike believes that we need to strive for an organization consisting mostly of volunteer firefighters and volunteer officers in leadership positions that are supported by the professional staff. It is also essential that members of both groups have the opportunity to achieve their goals and objectives.
When it comes to providing fire and Emergency Medical Services during a major wide spread emergency, either natural or man-made, he is of the opinion that it will be essentially impossible, due to manpower limitations, and anticipated damage to communications and transportation infrastructure, to respond to all calls for assistance. Therefore, he strongly encourages individuals and families to be prepared for disasters by making plans to mitigate the effects, and discussing the plans with the family, friends, and neighbors. Email Commissioner Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Duties of the Fire Commissioners
The Board of Fire Commissioners has full responsibility for managing all affairs of the District, including comprehensive planning, budgeting, organizational design and general policies for guiding the delivery of services. The Board appoints a District Secretary and a Fire Chief and delegates them certain authorities for managing the operational function of the District.
Chairman of the Board
The Chair is directly responsible to assure that meetings are conducted according to the State Open Public Meetings Act and District policy.
How the Board Operates
Regular meetings of the Board are held once a month on a Thursday. Occasionally a meeting will be moved due to a conflict. Meetings begin at 5:30 pm and are held at Station 8-1 located at 3506 Shincke Road NE, Olympia. Most meetings last between one to three hours. All regular and special Board meetings are open to the public and all actions authorized or required by law are taken at these meetings. A schedule of all regular meetings is available on the District web site www.southbayfire.com.