The council named residents Stephen Smith and Greg Cooper to terms ending in December of 2015; Joe Young will serve until December of 2014 to stagger board members’ terms in the future. A total of 11 “phenomenal” applicants were interviewed for the positions, according to Councilman Erick Stonebarger.
City Councilman Joel Bryant will continue on the fire board for two more years to ensure continuity. He will be replaced by the fourth appointee, Anthony Bargiacchi, who will serve as an alternate in the interim.
The nine-member ECCFPD board took over running the district in 2010, with the expectation of moving to an elected board in the future. To do so, however, would cost $300,000 for elections, a sum the cash-strapped district can’t afford.
Following the failure of the Measure S fire tax last June, and partly in response to public concern about potential conflicts on the part of board members serving both the fire district and a city, the representatives of the two cities decided to appoint residents to replace themselves. In Oakley, residents Kevin Bouillon and Ronald Johansen were sworn in as ECCFPD board members last month, and Jonathan Michaelson will join them in April. Until then, Mayor Kevin Romick will continue as the third Oakley representative to provide continuity.
“I was concerned about losing institutional knowledge if we had all new board members,” Councilman Steve Barr said Tuesday night. Barr had favored the retention of two council members on the ECCFPD board, but after seeing the quality of applicants and how soon Oakley’s new representatives were getting up to speed, he changed his mind.
“I’m not as concerned now,” he said, adding he would be stepping down from his current fire board seat.
The council also decided to scale back the staff support that has been provided to the ECCFPD at no charge since its formation. The city has provided administrative and analytical assistance to the district, and sent several staffers to fire board meetings in Oakley.
Smith, however, told the council he was concerned about the “abruptness of this cut-off,” saying the new ECCFPD board must consider possible new service models and probably another attempt at passing a tax, and the continued professional services assistance from Brentwood would sorely be needed. The bare-bones administrative staff of the ECCFPD consists of only the district chief and one administrative assistant.
According to Stonebarger, the intent of the council was to let the district know that staff members would no longer be asked to attend ECCFPD’s monthly board meetings. “The professional services and courtesy door will always be open,” he said.