Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, the fire department covering about 72,000 residents across a wide swath of Kitsap County from Holly to Silverdale, has a new fire chief.
John Oliver was sworn in to lead the emergency services department during a Board of Fire Commissioners meeting on Monday. An internal hire, Oliver has served as deputy chief of operations since 2015.
“I like to say I was interviewing for the job for the last three years,” he said.
Originally from suburban Portland, Oliver, 52, spent more than 30 years as a firefighter in departments across Oregon, the majority in Clackamas County.
A top priority for the department will be keeping up with the commercial growth and population increases evident in the region, Oliver said.
“With the hospital, and the growth demands that we are facing,” he said, “keeping up with the pace of demands for services” will be a focus.
“There is a fine balance of how to grow responsibly,” he added, “and stay within the means that are provided to us.”
Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue employs 112 professional staff, including 85 firefighters, spread over an area of about 115 square miles. Its operating budget was about $19.8 million in 2018, according to a CKFR Strategic Plan document, funded mostly by property taxes.
Oversight of the fire department is the responsibility of a five-person elected board, the Board of Fire Commissioners. The current board chairman is retired CKFR fire chief Dick West.
“We’re happy to have him,” West said of Oliver during an interview Wednesday. “He’s an outstanding operations guy, and a firefighter’s chief, as we say.”
Oliver will take over for Scott Weninger, who is retiring. Weninger served in the post since 2012.
His official first day is December 20.