The Crook County Fire and Rescue Board will have one new member next year following the 2019 special districts election Tuesday evening.
Gary Abrams won position 5 on the board, defeating incumbent and board chair Jim Dean. Abrams received 56.95% percent of the votes (1,676), a sizeable margin of victory over Dean, who got 42.78% (1,259).
Position 3, by contrast, will go unchanged as incumbent Jerry Brummer held onto his seat with 52.70% of the vote (1,658). He defeated Beth Mitchell, who received 37.51 percent of the vote (1,180) and George Ponte who collected 9.63 percent of the vote (303).
The Fire and Rescue Board vote came on the heels of a controversial unfair labor practices complaint filed by the Crook County Firefighters Association union. The union alleged multiple instances of anti-union behavior by CCFR Fire Chief Matt Smith and other administration, which resulted in an Employment Relations Board (ERB) hearing this past October. The ERB ruled in favor of the union in March, although CCFR appealed the ruling upon learning that the adjudicator in the case was hired by the law firm representing the union shortly after the decision was rendered.
The remainder of the special district election featured a slate of uncontested races with incumbents holding onto positions on multiple boards. Jason Carr, Carol Benkosky and Jeremy Logan all retained their seats on the Crook County Parks and Recreation District Board and Doug Smith, Patti Norris and Walt Wagner will remain on the Crook County School Board for another four-year term.
Special district elections do not typically draw much of a voter turnout and the 2019 election was no different. Historically, voter turnout is less than 20 percent and as of Tuesday, 18.51 percent of Crook County's 17,605 voters turned in a ballot (3,258).
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