OCEAN PARK — Dennis Long has been appointed to serve on the board of commissioners for Pacific County Fire District 1. He was sworn in on Dec. 19.
Longtime Fire Commissioner Greg McLeod, 79, died on Nov. 30, leaving his seat on the three-member board open. Long said a fire commissioner encouraged him to apply.
Long ran unsuccessfully in the November election against incumbent Port of Peninsula Commissioner Mary DeLong, the recently retired port manager. It was a close race but DeLong held onto her seat.
“All I wanted to do was serve,” Long said. “I didn’t have an ax to grind.”
So when the fire district leaders asked him to apply for McLeod’s seat, he said he submitted the only application for the position.
“I guess you could say I won by default,” Long joked.
The retired Bank of the Pacific president said he hopes his financial expertise can help the fire district. McLeod, an accountant, also had financial savvy. But, Long said, McLeod had more than a decade of experience that will take him years of hard work to match.
“I know I have some big boots to fill,” Long said.
The position pays $114 a meeting and comes with life insurance.
Long has been trying to learn as much as he can about the work of firefighters as quickly as possible. He’s already been out on a call for help with an emergency medical situation and, of course, he’s been going through the thick budget packet to look for ways to save the district money.
“I want to give back to the community that’s given so much to us,” he said.