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West Metro replaces board member

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By Deborah Swearingen

West Metro Fire Rescue has appointed Wheat Ridge native Jerry Cassel to its board of directors to replace Kent Johnson, who resigned in October because he moved to Texas.

Cassel will represent District 2 until the May 2018 election. District 2 covers a portion of Lakewood that is east of South Kipling Street, south of 6th Avenue and west of Sheridan Boulevard.

Johnson had been on the board since November 2016 when West Metro Fire Rescue and Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District merged and entered into an intergovernmental agreement.

“The agreement stated any vacancy on West Metro’s board would be filled by a Wheat Ridge board member if Wheat Ridge’s taxpayers agreed to the merger,” said West Metro board president Pam Feely in an October interview with the Courier.

Upon Johnson’s departure, West Metro asked if any of the four other former Wheat Ridge board members would be interested in filling the empty position. Cassel agreed.

Cassel is no stranger to the fire service. He was a volunteer firefighter with Wheat Ridge for 22 years, serving as fire chief for several years and on the board of directors for 16 years.

“I just enjoy the fire service and seeing people willing to help other people, whether it be paid or volunteer,” he said.

Wheat Ridge’s department was entirely volunteer-based, so West Metro is a new experience for him.

“It’s quite a change. (West Metro) is a lot bigger,” Cassel said.

“My ultimate goal is to maintain and provide the best cost-effective services to the citizens of West Metro Fire Protection District,” he added.

While Cassel’s position will be up for election in May, he is considering tossing his name in the hat for the upcoming election.

“I told Chief (Don) Lombardi that I would definitely like to get on for this five or six months (to) feel the waters a little bit,” he said. “But yes, I would probably considering running.”

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.