The East Contra Costa County Fire Protection District swore in its three new Brentwood members last night to complete the appointment process which moved a majority of City Council officials off the board.
Greg Cooper, Stephen Smith, and Joe Young took the oath given by Battalion Chief Brian Helmick. They join Kevin Bouillon, and Ronald Johansen who were appointed last fall by the City of Oakley. My hats off to all you gentlemen for joining a Board that has a tough fight on its hand without much public appreciation.
As for official business, when it came time to pick the President and Vice President, Ronald Johansen suggested they table to item for a month and let Kevin Romick continue to allow the new members of the Board to get their feet wet. Legal quick shot back that per their by-laws, they had to make a choice tonight.
Johansen nominated Kevin Romick—who then stated he is dropping from the Board in April but he could serve as President until then. He was appointed unanimously the President. Romick then nominated Joel Bryant to continue to serve as Vice President which was also a unanimous vote.
Now here is the thing about this, with Romick dropping in April, you are now hitting a re-set button mid-year. With Bryant, he could leave at any time—which with Romick dropping, he should stay a full year because that is the best thing for the Board given his knowledge. The truth is, this was a poor decision because if Romick and Bryant both drop in April, the District is starting from scratch in terms of leadership.
As Vice President last year, Bryant should have been appointed President and someone with long-term interest in the Board should have been appointed Vice President so they could learn as they go to eventually take over. It also could have ensured Bryant remain for the 12-month term which I would hope would happen anyway.
This is nothing against Romick, but he is gone anyway so it’s time to move forward with a vested board. Time is of the essence on another revenue enhancement because once it’s decided what the number and model will be, its full blown campaign time.
The District also appointed Steve Barr to continue serving as a Director on the Development Successor Agency for Brentwood—while he is no longer on the ECCFPD, rules still allow him to serve as there is nothing in the rules that say a Board Member has to serve. This was a solid choice since Redevelopment is a giant fiasco anyway, he understands it and it’s probably a good thing for Brentwood he stays on.
Chief Henderson reported during the Operations Report, the District received a total of 542 calls with an average response time of 7:32 which is an increase of 32-seconds from November when the average response time was 7:00 minutes. The Chief credited the increase to a couple of accidents on Vasco and other areas along the districts border. It should be noted that response times for the first six months of 2011 was just 6:24 for 3,162 calls.
During directors comments, Joel Bryant asked for a future agenda item for honoring fallen firefighters both in duty/retired/injured. Meanwhile Stephen Smith requested a discussion to set up sub-committees. He wanted to see two set-up immediately which one was for budget and the other for service model considerations.
With the City Council members no longer on board, this idea should fly and be an asset to the District. I’d also encourage the board to create a third sub-committee/ad-hoc committee called “sustainability” which works towards the next revenue enhancement. Technically, this committee/ad-hoc should have been created last night.
The board also thanked Steve Barr, Robert Brockman and Erick Stonebarger for their service on the Board. While I may not always agree with the three of them and their stances, they do deserve kudos for taking on the thankless job and I respect them for it.
The meeting closed in honor of Retired Captain Ben Whitener.