Kenai fire chief resigns

Posted: Friday, December 01, 2000

KENAI (AP) -- Kenai Fire Chief Jason Elson is retiring after 24 years of service.

Elson resigned Monday, a day after his arrest for driving while intoxicated.

Elson, 42, would not talk about the arrest or its effect on his decision to resign, but Kenai City Manager Rick Ross said there was no relationship between the two.

''There are no dots to connect here, and I'm being up front with you, there is no relationship at all,'' Ross said. ''He says there's no connection, and I accept that at face value.''

City Attorney Cary Graves said a DWI arrest while off the job would have no effect on someone's employment. Elson was off duty when he was arrested at 2:48 a.m. Sunday.

Elson had already applied for another job and Ross said he did not ask Elson to step down or force him out.

Elson told the Peninsula Clarion that he was comfortable with his decision to retire.

''I've attained my personal and professional goals and I've left the department in good shape,'' Elson said. ''I've left nothing unfinished.''

Elson said he plans to relax for a few months and then may go into teaching or to school.

Ross praised Elson's nearly quarter century of service.

''I think he was an outstanding fire chief who did a great job. His FireWise program was recognized nationally and he did a lot to enhance the training in the fire department,'' Ross said. ''I did not want to see him go.''

Ross said Assistant Fire Chief Scott Walden will serve as the acting chief.



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