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A tough decision all around | IN OUR OPINION
It was a tough call to make, but it was the right call to make.
Commissioners for the board of the Bainbridge Island Fire Department were asked this week to give their unanimous approval to allow one of their own — newly installed Commissioner YongSuk Cho — to continue his service as a volunteer firefighter with Bainbridge while also serving as commissioner.
Cho, who is also a career firefighter in Seattle, has been a volunteer for the Bainbridge Island department for 22 years and his contributions to the volunteer program are well-known inside and outside the department.
It was Cho’s history with the Bainbridge department, no doubt, that was a factor in the overwhelming support that Cho received from island voters in November when they selected Cho for his new leadership role on the commission.
Cho knew going in that, if elected, he would need the unanimous approval of his fellow commissioners to continue in his firefighter’s role within the department. State law requires such a vote.
Some commissioners and department officials, however, expressed concern that having an elected commissioner serve under the people that are affected by the policies set by the commission would prove problematic, and make murky a chain of command that’s now easily understood by all.
The community owes Cho — and all of its firefighters, volunteer and career — a debt of gratitude. We thank Cho for his outstanding service to the department.
Now, however, he will still serve as a volunteer but in a different role. He deserves our continued thanks.
The vote by commissioners to have Cho stay within his new role was a difficult choice, but the proper one.