Editorial: McIntosh and Steinke for Redmond fire district

Two of the three members of the Redmond Fire and Rescue District board up for re-election this May face challengers, and while their opposition is good for voters, both Carrol “Mac” McIntosh and Pam Steinke should be returned to office. Gary Ollerenshaw is running unopposed.

McIntosh, 82 and retired, has lived in Central Oregon most of his life. He grew up in Culver, attended college in Idaho and taught or was a principal in Washington and Oregon until he retired.

Among the challenges he believes the district faces are the impact of Public Employees Retirement System payments and the cost of insurance on the district’s finances. Both play a role in what the district pays its employees, and McIntosh knows it will suffer if wages are not competitive.

Too, McIntosh believes rapid growth within the district will force it to consider adding another fire station soon.

Steinke, 58, is a registered nurse who ran the St. Charles Redmond emergency room for 15 years and now is the St. Charles Health System’s senior vice president of quality and chief nurse executive. Before her election to the board eight years ago, she taught classes for the fire district.

Like McIntosh, Steinke knows that growth and finances are the critical issues facing the district. The board is currently writing a five-year strategic plan that will address those challenges. Meanwhile, she notes, the district’s basic response unit allows it to deal with relatively minor emergencies using less highly trained personnel.

McIntosh’s and Steinke’s years of experience overseeing the district make them particularly valuable to an agency serving a rapidly growing community. And, in Steinke’s case, specialized knowledge of emergency medicine — which accounts for about 80 percent of the district’s budget — only adds to that value.

It’s experience their opponents lack. Both William Schertzinger, 69, and Ken Kerfoot, 70, would be good board members, to be sure. And, in Schertzinger’s case, his background as an architect and builder could be particularly helpful.

But the Redmond Fire and Rescue District faces tough decisions in the years ahead, and McIntosh and Steinke are particularly suited to helping make the right choices.

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