INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Jeff Warner will replace Don Epstein on the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District board of directors.
The board voted 3-2 Wednesday to appoint Warner, with directors Dale Smith, Paul Zahler and Wayne Fischer in favor. Gene Murrieta and Epstein voted against.
“I truly value this community … and I wanted to make sure this position did not go uncontested,” Warner said after the meeting. “I’m pleased to be able to support the chief … and the efforts of an already excellent program.”
Warner will be sworn in in the coming days by a Washoe County clerk, and will sit on the board at its next meeting on Oct. 16. At that meeting, the board is expected to vote on which director will assume Epstein’s chairman slot.
Warner, a full-time Incline resident, served as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force from 1967-1972 and is a former pilot with the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command and Southwest Airlines. He also participated in the NLTFPD captain selection board in 2001.
Warner and the other candidates — Robert Edwards, Susan Herron, Steve King, Chris May, Tom Whalen and Jeff S. Zakem — were present at Wednesday’s meeting.
May and King ran for the three open NLTFPD seats in the 2012 election, losing to Smith, Fischer and Zahler. King also ran unsuccessfully for a fire board seat in the 2010 election.
On Wednesday, Murrieta originally nominated May to take Epstein’s seat, but none of the directors supported his request.
Earlier this summer, Murrieta said he felt May deserved the seat because he ran in the 2012 election and finished fourth, and therefore, what the voters wanted should have mattered in this case.
Warner’s seat expires at the end of 2014. He and Murrieta will be up for reelection next fall.
Later in Wednesday’s meeting, NLTFPD chief Mike Brown presented Epstein with a commemorative clock and plaque.
The plaque bears the phrase: “Presented to Donald Epstein in appreciation of 7 years of dedicated service to the citizens of Incline Village/Crystal Bay. January 1, 2007-October 1, 2013. North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District.”
Epstein accepted the gift and received hearty applause from the audience of roughly 20 residents and staff.
Epstein announced his resignation earlier this summer, effective Oct. 1. He and his wife, Bea, are moving to Florida to live in a warmer winter climate.