The following was submitted by Meghan Bell, former East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board of Director.
Tuesday, April 25th I requested the Oakley City Council not reappoint me to my position as a Director on the East Contra Costa Fire Board. I deeply appreciate and thank Oakley and the fire district community for the opportunity to serve.
After a little over one year of great sacrifice by myself and my family it was time to refocus on home. With a graduating senior and a soon to be 8th grader, they are my greatest priority.
There is no easy solution to remedy the problems facing ECCFPD. Each governing body within the District faces unique challenges in addressing fire services.
The City of Oakley is comparatively young in it’s city hood. As they make great strides adding to the fabric and foundation of our community there is presently no way they can afford to independently fund fire without sacrificing key city services.
The City of Brentwood, also focused on the health and growth if it’s community, recognizes the dire need and that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to providing fire services in our area.
The County Supervisors face the challenge of supporting the residents of far East Contra Costa and their fire needs while balancing fiscal responsibility to all entities and services in their care.
All governing bodies within the District recognize the critical need for a solution and, I believe, all acknowledge there is no easy fix.
Caught perilously in the middle, desiring only to do their job and adequately support their families, are the firefighters who answer all calls for help daily.
Making 30-35% less than neighboring fire agencies they have never had the security of a stable funding solution for the District. Charged with the heroic task of saving lives they also carry the worry of job security. The relief added resources would bring is monumental. Safety is a major concern as they know they are severely understaffed and grossly limited in the services they can provide.
I joined the fire board to help make a difference. Never believing there was wasted or hidden funds I strove to share the challenges of our District and its personnel. Through the special needs of my youngest I am intimately aquatinted with the damaging impact of prolonged response times and the irreversible damage and loss that can occur.
As a community each and every one of us is responsible to not let our firefighters down. We must strive to make them whole. We can no longer allow services to be shackled together and must focus on the guidance of our new leadership and the investment an elected board will bring.