By Pat Jenkins
Pat Dale, a former high-ranking leader of the Olympia Fire Department, has been named interim chief of Graham Fire and Rescue.
Dale was chosen by the Graham fire commissioners after they interviewed him and two other applicants for the temporary appointment to replace Ryan Baskett, who departed the agency in April amid a dispute with the firefighters' union after four years as its chief.
Dale was scheduled to begin his new duties on Monday this week.
According to the commissioners, Dale will serve only on an interim basis while they are searching for a new chief. He won't be considered as a candidate because of the unfair advantage he would gain from his interim role, the commissioners said.
The eventual selection of a new chief is also affected by discussions between Graham and Orting Valley Fire and Rescue officials of a possible merger of the two fire districts. The Graham commissioners have indicated they may not need a chief if a merger results in the Orting chief heading the combined departments.
The process of ironing out a possible merger and the chief details could take four to six months, according to the commissioners.
Dale retired in January 2015 as assistant chief of the Olympia department after a 33-year career in fire service that included time as a battalion chief with the Kent Fire Department. He has taught firefighting techniques in connection with a training company based in Phoenix, Ariz.
He was offered a contract to be Graham's interim chief after interviews of applicants at a commissioners meeting April 14.
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