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Fire board votes to give chief a small raise

Vashon’s fire commissioners voted last month to give Fire Chief Hank Lipe a 3 percent raise, increasing his salary from $120,000 to $123,500.

Neal Philip, chair of the board of commissioners, said the raise was a modest one in light of current economic conditions.

Last year, Philip said, Lipe received a substantial 11 percent raise, from $105,000 to $115,500, reflecting his work to turn the department around during his first year on the job.

This year, he said, the board unanimously voted to give him another, smaller raise following another excellent review and a report from Protham, a Bellevue-based executive search firm, about the salaries of chiefs at similar fire districts in the area.

“We looked at other counties, and we were not quite in line with fire chief salaries,” Philip said. “We didn’t go as high as some of them went, but we thought it was appropriate based on all the things he has done and the changes he’s made.”

Commissioner Rex Stratton was pleased the department was in the position to give Lipe a modest raise, in part thanks to Lipe’s streamlining of the budget.

“The chief has been doing great fiscal management,” he said.

“Other districts are cutting back on staff and firefighters,” he added. “We were able to add a firefighter this year. We were able to buy a residence. … The chief has done an outstanding job of administering our district.”

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