Contact: Cindy Harger, Public Information Specialist
To view the press release in PDF format, click here.
government officials are seeking to clear confusion regarding a candidate
endorsement that received news coverage this week.
County and the Town of Jackson released a statement of clarification today in
light of an article in the Jackson Hole
Daily on Oct. 31, 2016. The article stated the “Firefighters” were formally
endorsing a candidate for political office. Throughout the article were references
to “firefighters and paramedics.” The
article also referenced a candidate reaching out to learn more about the fire
article caused some confusion in our community,” said Alyssa Watkins, County
Commissioners’ Administrator, who explained that local government agencies do
not endorse specific candidates for office. “We would like to make sure there
are no misunderstandings.”
and County officials offered the following statement of clarification:
The Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Department is a joint department
of the Town of Jackson and Teton County. Although the article seemed to imply
to some who read it that John Tobey manages the Fire Department, the Chief of
the Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Department is Willy Watsabaugh.
John Tobey is a county employee who works at the Jackson
Hole Fire/EMS Department. Mr. Tobey does
not speak for nor is he authorized to speak for the Jackson Hole Fire/EMS
Department, which includes the volunteer firefighters.
John Tobey has formed a private organization that includes
in its membership some of the Firefighter/EMS staff who work for the Jackson
Hole Fire/EMS Department. This private organization includes only 14 percent of
the overall members of the Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Department. This private organization does not include any
of the 70 volunteers, nor does it include any of the paid “pool” staff who
support the operations.
Mr. Tobey’s private organization has filed a lawsuit against
the Town of Jackson and Teton County requesting that it be recognized under
Wyoming state law to be the exclusive bargaining agent (“union”) for that portion
of our fire department’s membership, to negotiate with Teton County and the
Town of Jackson as to wages and working conditions. This matter is currently being litigated in a
court of law to determine if that private organization can represent these
select 14 percent of our membership but actively exclude the remaining members
of the fire department.