New fire marshal comes to EFR

March 23, 2010

By J.B. Wogan

Eastside Fire & Rescue has filled its fire marshal position, and more.

The EFR board of directors hired Bud Backer, formerly deputy chief of operations at the Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District.

His credentials include serving as interim fire chief and deputy chief of operations for the Woodinville Fire Department between 2000 and 2010. He oversaw a $13.7 million budget there.

Between 1988 and 2000, Backer served as fire marshal for King County Fire District 45 in Duvall, where he established its fire prevention program.

Backer listed two of EFR’s top administrative officials among his references: Deputy Chief Jeff Griffin and Fire Chief Lee Soptich. The current fire chiefs in Mercer Island, Duvall, Tukwila and Shoreline were some of his other references.

His starting salary is $114,691, and he will receive 144 hours of vacation time, the equivalent of a 14-year employee.

Tim Pilling, who had served as the agency’s fire marshal since EFR started in 1999, is scheduled to retire at the end of the month. His 2010 salary was $114,691 and he was receiving 216 vacation hours per year.

Backer walks into EFR at the highest payment level for a fire marshal. Backer was unemployed at the time of the hire. The Fire Commission at the Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District did not renew Backer’s contract at the end of 2009, along with another deputy chief and the administrative manager. That being said, his base salary at EFR will be less than at his last job. His base salary in Woodinville as deputy chief was $128,460 per year and he received 200 hours of vacation per year.

The pay is, however, a step up from what a fire marshal gets paid in Woodinville: $111,107.

Griffin said the agency hadn’t figured out the full scope of Backer’s responsibilities, but it would entail more than overseeing fire inspections and making sure buildings meet safety codes. Backer would be a generalist who held the rank and title of fire marshal, Griffin said.

J.B. Wogan: 392-6434, ext. 247, or Comment at

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One Response to “New fire marshal comes to EFR”

  1. Kevin Jameson on March 28th, 2010 1:35 am

    Hasn’t Eastside Fire and Rescue been having major financial challenges? Leadership roles, including that of Lieutenants, should be reviewed for how compensation levels match average pay /benefits in the private sector. Google the average american household income statistics. This is a form of government out of balance.

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