James Burchett appointed Bremerton Police Chief

BREMERTON — Bremerton Police Chief James Burchett can finally shed the “interim” tag from his title.

By a 6-0 vote Wednesday evening, the Bremerton City Council appointed Burchett for the top police job. Burchett will have an official swearing-in ceremony in full uniform next month.

“I appreciate the thoughtful consideration you gave this, and I hope to do an excellent job for you in the future,” Burchett said Wednesday night as he addressed the council.

The council had long supported Burchett as the choice for chief but disagreed with the mayor on compensation. Mayor Greg Wheeler had initially proposed to raise Burchett’s pay by $16,000, noting he would become an at-will employee no longer covered under civil service rules. However, this was not favored by the council, which cited the recently completed citywide payscale overhaul that may have required them to adjust other salaries as well.

At a July 11 study session, an agreement was made: Burchett would receive the same pay he does now, which is the pay rate for a police captain, plus the five percent he earned for serving as interim chief. Burchett also retains his current benefits package.

With the numbers and figures out of the way, all six present council members vote to appoint. Council President Eric Younger was absent.

“I think I speak for the entire council when I say we are totally united behind your appointment and we wish you the very best,” Councilor Richard Huddy said. “We wish to thank Mayor Wheeler for such an outstanding choice for our next police chief.”

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@soundpublishing.com.