(1) Whenever two or more fire protection districts merge, the board of fire commissioners of the merged fire protection district shall consist of all of the fire commissioners of the districts that are merging, including a person who is elected as a fire commissioner of one of the merging districts at that same election that the ballot proposition was approved authorizing the merger, who shall retain the same terms of office they would possess as if the merger had not been approved. The number of members on the board of the merged district shall be reduced to either three or five members as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, depending on whether the district has chosen to eventually have either a three-member or a five-member board under RCW 52.14.020
(2) The number of members on the board of the merged district shall be reduced by one whenever a fire commissioner resigns from office or a vacancy otherwise occurs on the board, until the number of remaining members is reduced to the number of members that is chosen for the board eventually to have. The reduction of membership on the board shall not be considered to be a vacancy that is to be filled until the number of remaining members is less than the number of members on the board that is chosen for the board eventually to have.
(3) At the next three district general elections after the merger is approved, the number of fire commissioners for the merged district that are elected shall be as follows, notwithstanding the number of fire commissioners whose terms expire:
(a) In the first election after the merger, only one position shall be filled, whether the new fire protection district be a three-member district or a five-member district.
(b) In each of the two subsequent elections, one position shall be filled if the new fire protection district is a three-member district and two positions shall be filled if the new fire protection district is a five-member district.
Thereafter, the fire commissioners shall be elected in the same manner as prescribed for such fire protection districts of the state.
(4) A ballot proposition to create commissioner districts may be submitted to the voters of the fire protection districts proposed to be merged at the same election the ballot proposition is submitted authorizing the merging of the fire protection districts. The procedure to create commissioner districts shall conform with RCW 52.14.013
, except that: (a) Resolutions proposing the creation of commissioner districts must be adopted by unanimous vote of the boards of fire commissioners of each of the fire protection districts that are proposed to be merged; and (b) commissioner districts will be authorized only if the ballot propositions to authorize the merger and to create commissioner districts are both approved. A ballot proposition authorizing the creation of commissioner districts is approved if it is approved by a simple majority vote of the combined voters of all the fire protection districts proposed to be merged. The commissioner districts shall not be drawn until the number of commissioners in the fire protection district has been reduced under subsections (1) through (3) of this section to either three or five commissioners. After this reduction of fire commissioners has occurred the commissioner districts shall be drawn and used for the election of the successor fire commissioners.