Home Brentwood Brentwood Council Playing Political Games with ECCFPD

Brentwood Council Playing Political Games with ECCFPD

by ECT

After reviewing the video from last night’s Brentwood City Council meeting, I am somewhat amazed at the arrogance and reasoning used that would enable the council to postpone any appointment until early 2013 as they chose a November 15 deadline with an open ended number of appointments.

First off, what kind of message does the Brentwood Council send to the remaining firefighters who are stuck protecting 250 square miles with just three stations and 9 on duty?  They have essentially now delayed any real action for the Board to begin to take effect until March 2013.

The message last night’s meeting sends is Brentwood doesn’t care about the firefighters.  They have essentially handicapped the ECCFPD Board to a standstil until mid-next year with their proclaimed “process”.  The irony was they claimed this process ensured public safety which is a flat out lie.

Don’t take my word for it, watch the video and you can figure it out pretty easily they are trying to save their political seats as they make their exit.  Listening closely to the council discussion, in what should have been an easy approval of application and appointee process, they decided to twist the issue and make it out to be more complex that it had to be which alerted me to some major issues based on their statements.

As Oakley Councilmembers are set to come off, Brentwood wants to ensure their council stays on as long as possible with the option should their next council come on, they may chose not to make appointments.

Based off the video from last night, here is my area of concerns:

November 15 closing date
By choosing this date, it ensures that should Robert Brockman or Erick Stonebarger lose their council seat, it allows them to apply as “citizens” to continue in their role as fireboard members. Apparently, rather than putting the best interest of the District forward, they would rather be self-serving.

The Irony here is as fireboard members, they were ready to make the decision quickly to appoint—now as councilmembers they are choosing to take their time. This say one thing as fireboard members and do another as a councilmember is reason enough why councilmembers have no business serving on the ECCFPD once money is available for an election.

End result, they chose an application closing date of November 15—looking at a calendar, it will probably be Friday November 16.  Basically, you now have nearly 100 day application process with another 45-60 day interview/review process.   That much time is not needed.

Possible new Council Dynamics
Discussion came up that if there was a new council dynamic that they may not want to appoint and may want to continue to have councilmembers stay on the ECCFPD board.  Am I missing something? This is all the more reason to ensure the appointments occur before November which is what these same four board members voted on a the last ECCFPD meeting.  This is a perfect example of the continued double talk out of Brentwood.

Open Ended Number of Appointments
This one is pretty simple that they now are making more complex than it needs to be. Make a decision and stick with it. Instead, they are going to base their decision on the number of applicants they receive.

This may sound great, but since this is occurring in November, here is a scenario.  If Brockman or Stonebarger lose their seats and they apply to serve on the board, does this mean Barr will remain with Brockman, Stonebarger, and a third “citizen”?

Will they pick three appointments based on how the November election turns out?  This is why they must pick the number of appointments prior to the election. It’s very suspicious.

ECCFPD Budget Excuse
They used the budget as an excuse not to make an appointment by September. Okay fair enough, then make September the last meeting and have appointments serve starting in October.  Why is there a delay until January or February 2013? It’s illogical other than to try and protect either Brockman or Stonebarger from falling off the board all together.

Nice try, by using this year’s budget as an excuse to delay, you have essentially thrown the very next appointees into a situation where their first few meetings will likely involve mid-year budget cuts. The budget excuse is a fib!

Hoc Selection
Now here is where the ultimate a dog and pony show begins because the Ad-Hoc committee is made up of fireboard members/Councilmembers going through applications and picking and choosing who they want to serve with. Then brought back to the full council (again, made up of four councilmembers on ECCFPD) for final decision.  Essentially you have ECCFPD/ Councilmembers picking who they want to work with. But don’t worry there no conflict right?


Anti-Union / Firefighters on Board
made the statement there is concern that by doing an election,  it would stack the board full of union folks and firefighters which he stated would be bad on some fronts—so is Brockman showing discrimination towards unions and firefighters who may want to apply?

For the record, it’s the people who would be voting in that union person or firefighter. The folks of Brentwood get to decide, not Brockman!  Brockmans statement is a no-no considering San Ramon and Moraga-Orinda each have firefighters on their boards and are two of the healthiest districts in the County.

Should we then discriminate to those who have had foreclosures or have had businesses sued from serving on the council?

If firefighters really want to shake it up, get three firefighters to run for office. One can run for Mayor while two others run for council. It would end a lot of this double talk real quick.


Brentwood vs. District Interests
Robert Brockman
stated he wanted someone appointed who will look out for Brentwoods interest and then the Districts.I can say it until I am blue in the face, whoever is on this board must look out for the entire district as a whole, not a single city so they are already titling favoritism in the application process towards whoever will ensure Brentwoods interests first and foremost which is not the point of the District.

I’d like to remind Brentwood that there are 9 seats on the Board.  Oakley has three seats and there are two at-large seats and combined that is 5 votes to Brentwood 5.   Keep up this attitude of Brentwood first and you essentially will see a lot of 5-4 votes in the future.

Barr’s list of 9
Steve Barr
wants to stay on the board to complete his task list of 9 items he brought up at the last meeting. If Barr wants to stay, then fine, but he should re-insert this list after the new board is brought on because as he stated, the dynamics will change and new members will come in in the middle of the discussion of his list.

Final thoughts:
Last night is a perfect example as to why an elected board needs to occur as soon as funding is available because these political games are unacceptable to East County residents and our firefighters.  As ECCFPD Board Members, they are saying they want appointed citizen board and will come off. But now as councilmembers, they want to go in another direction while using the budget as the excuse not to move immediately forward.

Again, it’s all about the Brentwood Council first and foremost as opposed to the residents, the firefighters, and surrounding communities.  Enough is enough and shame on them!

Council Recap:

Here is a recap of the Council Discussion, feel free to go to the video if you like.

Robert Brockman asked about Oakley Discussion and the outcome.

Eldredge: Oakley City Council will decide to move forward with appointing public members, at least 2 public members with possibility of keeping one councilmember on board for 1 year.

Bob Taylor:  We don’t want to start over; we’ve got some pretty seasoned veteran on the fireboard who know what is going on. Who will determine, will it be this council, or fireboard, who will determine how many fireboard members will come from Brentwood or elected, volunteered, who makes that determination.

Eldredge:  Ultimately it will be this council to determine if they want to appoint public members to this board or keep current configuration or some combination.

Taylor:  Is the fireboard involved in this decision?

Eldredge: Fireboard is not involved at all in who will be Brentwoods representatives, that is left to Brentwood City Council to decide.

Taylor: Does that person have to live within Brentwood or within the District?

Eldredge: The Brentwood representative would have to live within the city of Brentwood

Public Comments: none

Council Discussion

Steve Barr: my opinion is we do appoint some members (of the public), I would be in favor of partial appointment and partial remain. As you mentioned mayor having some of current members stay on as a stager and review in future. We did have progress on fireboard and it would be like starting over if you have all new representatives. I am inclined to possibly appoint two members and keep two members that are currently on board.

Brockman: I am in favor of doing something similar, I think we lose if we don’t keep at least 1 councilmember on so we can get reporting back properly and keep the input going. I think we should look at the number of applications that we get because we may not get any and if we get 50, and then maybe we can appoint 3 and consider that maybe 1 can stay. I don’t think we have to make a decision tonight do we as to what we want to do. Is it more for  discussion?

Eldredge:  Yes, the point of tonight is to allow council to discuss and decide if they want to move forward and direct staff to prepare for the application process, review them, and bring back recommendation to full council.  As for as one, or none, or four, doesn’t have to be done this evening.

Brockman:   so if we can leave it open. I think there should be at least one councilmember and we should get a consensus. If we don’t have enough citizens that want to do it, then we can go to two and we may have to go to three or something. There should definitely not be four new people.

Joel Bryant: I think its just best to do it that way, the learning curve that I experienced two years ago was shocking to say the least, the history is so extensive and the roads and rabbit trails are exhaustive that completely new fire board would have to make same efforts and repeat things that don’t need to be repeated and it makes more sense to go on this trail. We need to consider the process of choosing these individuals… how do we go in determining the qualifications that are desirable.

Taylor: I’d like to make a couple of comments and some feed back to me. This is an awful lot for the city to digest. This impacts Brentwood in huge magnitude way. First of all, I don’t want to give impression that councilmembers are walk away from duties being on the fireboard. I want to give the impression that even though it would go to the general public, I really feel as council and myself we need to choose really selective people if we are going to go to this magnitude. When I read what Oakley did, I read that they did this in haste.  It’s going to take some really good thought process because Brentwood’s safety is at risk and what the decisions this fireboard will make will impact this city no matter what. Good or bad it’s going to impact this city and I am sure all the people who are on the board are getting lots of questions asked.  So the impression I want to give tonight’s is that we are not going to walk away from our citizen and that impression should not be out there. The other issues are in the selective process, we need to be stringent and we need to know  who, what where, and how much  education they are going to have in regards to the safety of our population.  Because if we turn this over to the board, they are going to make some decisions and that is what they will be chosen to do. So, I am not very pessimistic, I am optimistic, but I want to put a point across we make sure we dot our “I”, cross out “t” because it is going to have impact on our city so I don’t know if we need two people, three people, one, whatever, we all have to figure that out but I don’t want to leave a fireboard that is new and could fail. That is not in good judgment and not in good leadership on this council.

Brockman: I agree, we don’t want to do that which is why if we don’t leave at least one councilmember we would be doing that. I am thinking we would do the same type of program that we do for planning commission where we get volunteers, review the applications and vet the process  and all that and to our ad-hoc committee for the fireboard since they are involved with what is going on. I for one don’t want anybody that does not understand what is going on. There are people out there who know what is going on and willing to step up that would be great. There has got to be a few of them.

Taylor: Who would put together the process? (Paraphrased)

Eldredge: We wouldn’t spend a lot of time to recreate the wheel. It would be similar to current process for other positions with information changed around with advertisements and availability of forms. (Paraphrased).

Barr:  Well actually, as councilman Brockman stated he wanted to leave that option open and see how many we have apply. That is one way of looking at it. I don’t mind doing that with setting a goal that we can at least appoint two. I for one would like to remain on fireboard just because there is some work to be done that I initiated at last fireboard meeting and so would like to complete that. Again, if we are going to look at the appointments as a council, maybe what we do as a council is if we were get to appoint two public citizens and two councilmembers that those two councilmembers would go through the committee assignment that we do when we re-organize in December that those be a rotating position as a committee rather than an appointment and un-appointed I guess, but I think that to me sounds like, that if we are going to appoint citizens, we treat it like a standing committee and basically subject review every year.

Brockman: And it’s like it says on the document. The set-up of the organization allows Brentwood to have four representatives period. It doesn’t say who they have to be. The council was appointed because we really didn’t have anybody else to put out there and its being worked out now and that would work fine. We can at-will appoint four people if we want but that would be foolish. At this point, it’s up to us, but the fireboard wouldn’t have any bearing on it other than trying to change the makeup of the board would which would require the board to approve. The only thing, and I will step up and say this the concern of even going to an elected board is that the makeup with union people and fire personnel which could be very damaging in some areas as opposed to appointments with someone with the experience could be very good.  That is where we have to be careful is we don’t load the board up and shoot ourselves in the foot because we want the representation to represent Brentwood’s interest on the board and the district as a whole and that is the hard part.

Barr: I would like to recommend that we move forward with an appointment process and the process is similar to what we use on other commissions. And as suggested, we run all the applications through the ad-hoc committee bringing the recommendation back.  I think we should probably say how many because if we are directing the ad-hoc committee, and as one of those members, I would like to know am I bringing back a recommendation for two? Or three?

Brockman: I would say give a directive of two minimum, and no more than three maybe as the beginning so it is kind of open. The other issue is the timing, we have the other thing coming up and that could change the whole makeup of the council. And if it does, then you have people working on that which you lose that experience or have some other change so other people may apply. So you may want to make the timing of closing at the end of November so we can have someone appointed. It gives us time to vet it all out for a couple of months and give some people to advertise it or something or make the ending date right after the election period so that we don’t lose out on the opportunity to get someone in there because lets say our ad-hoc committee changes, now you have people on it or someone who we appoint is no longer on the council so then we are going all the way around spinning. It’s a wise choice, but the timing is important.

Barr: What would be the earliest if we were to give direction tonight to move forward with the appointment process. What would be the earliest we could have appointees ready to serve.

Eldredge: The earliest is sometime in September with the idea that the appointees could attend their first meeting in October—he called it somewhat ambitious but could accommodate (Paraphrased)

Brockman:  That’s why I am saying we close it by November 15; you are looking at interviews setting appointments and have someone sitting for their first meeting in December…. For example, if the makeup of the council changes, they can as a public member step up if they possibly want to stay on. Or if at that time, can be one of the volunteers to stay on. I don’t think it will be a problem of at least 1 person stay on.

Barr: I would agree that the timing, one of the critical areas with timing was finalizing the district budget. I would hate to throw someone in the middle of that when we are finalizing it. I think that is September when we finalize the budget for the District and that was my concern going in on their very first meeting and throw them into that on their very first meeting and have to finalize that. We saw the draft budget and we are familiar with it so no matter what the timing was, we were not going to get their by September anyway to have a new member. I think after that, it’s probably not going to be as critical for the first couple of months.  And your right, there is going to be a change, the dynamics is going to change.  I am not sure when Oakley actually set a timeline for appointments.

Note: Discussion occurred on actual date as to when application process closes.

Eldredge:  He explained realistically if it closed in November, you have to do interviews and with just two council meetings in November and December, realistically looking at a first meeting in January for someone to participate on Fireboard (Paraphrased).

Direction is to proceed with application process and get forms prepared. Advertise but have period open until November/December timeframe with interviews and recommendations to council to follow.

Barr:  What if we actually went back to our original appointment and if we have enough applicants, we can always postpone. I hate to stretch it to terribly long. It sounds like we are getting into January, possibly February timeframe. I know where you are going, but we could get a good pool of candidates. I know the last time we did applications for Planning Commission we had 12 which is great it shows the community is participating and I think they would in this issue. It could even be stretched out longer, if there was a different council, there may be the desire not to even appoint .

Brockman: I don’t think that’s pushing it. It’s not possible to get someone in there, there are three more meetings. I still think November 15 and then get someone in their by the 1st.

Taylor: I am in agreement. Let’s not push it; this is a tough decision to be made. I want the best of both worlds. I want to get it done but I am hesitant to do it. You guys are more or less on the board but with one meeting in November and December is pushing it. Then the budget, the last thing we want to do is have someone in their by September.

Barr: We wouldn’t have it
Taylor: I am with you; I am for the later part of the year. Joel do you have any input?

Bryant: I can certainly see both sides of the argument. I do have a great concern as well that if you put someone in their who is unfamiliar, the timing is so critical because we are dealing with the safety of our families, our homes, our communities. To throw someone in the mist of the maelstrom of everything that is going on. It would be remiss on our part, if November would allow us to potentially have some more experience candidates should there be a change in this council then I think it would behoove us to wait. It’s not that much longer, but it could have long term negative repercussions if we do it before then. That is my opinion, it would benefit us to wait til November rather than close that opportunity and perhaps eliminate a brain trust that could move us forward and make us a safer district.

Brockman: Do a 60-day application process ending November 15.  You have a lot of people interested in running for election (council), depending on who wins and who doesn’t. They can step up. That is the kind of thing I am thinking.

Clarification via Staff:  Application process to get out ASAP. Will have closing date November 15 or some date that makes sense. Interviews to be conducted early December or first of year.

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JimSimmons42 Jul 25, 2012 - 3:29 pm

It is amazing these people can get away with this nonsense. I have not looked at the video, but it looks like Bryant had no choice but to go along with this Nov. 15 deadline. If those of you in Brentwood continue to put up with this stuff, you deserve what happens to the District.

I love the idea under the “new council dynamics”. That is funny! The anti-union and firefighters comments about serving on the board by Brockman are disturbing.

JCast Jul 25, 2012 - 3:36 pm

As someone who lives in Brentwood and been following the council and fireboard since Measure S, I am glad someone is finally pointing out this double talk. Its obvious but no one says anything. Thank you Mr. Burkholder for finally coming out and stating what others wont in writing.

I am not voting for Bob Brockman or Erick Stonebarger in November and will encourage others to do the same. At this point, it looks like Carissa Pillows and Gene Clare. Also, Steve Barr is crazy if he wants to take on Mayor Taylor based on his record on the fireboard. Taylor is not the best, but Barr is worse.

Thank you for posting the transcript and breaking down what some of their actions mean. It’s a real eye opener

Bob Jul 25, 2012 - 3:41 pm

That is one of the most un-freakin-believable pieces of video I’ve watched in a while.

The Brentwood City Council stating publicly that they will discriminate against “fire personnel” and “union people” in any potential appointments. They will effectively pull this off by funneling recommendations to the full board go through their ad hoc committee. So if you don’t gain favor with Steve Barr or are in his buddies list, you have no shot.

I’d say they are already flirting with a lawsuit just based on comments made in that video.

Heads up to Paul Eldredge, Brentwood City Manager: I will be submitting a public records request copies of all applications. With expected redactions of personal information such as home addresses. Then the public can decide just how deep the “good ole boy” practice went when you ultimately select.

This is so offensive on so many levels. Did the Brentwood City Council A) not understand what they were agreeing to with LAFCO when local control was given for the governing body? or B) they did understand but just went along with it fully intending to ignore that agreement and do what they pleased?

That’s really the only two possibilities here.

Multiple council members expressed concern that they would lose control of the fire board(my paraphrasing) if an entirely new crop of people were introduced.


What do you folks think happens when it goes to independent district status? That is if you had properly managed the reserve fund in those first 2 years and done as you agreed to do with LAFCO and gone to an elected body via an election this year. One person cannot legally hold both a council position and a fire board position when it is an independent district.

So did you and your city manager at the time not understand that? Or were you intending to just ignore it all along and do your level best to manipulate and control the actions of this body?

I’m a Ben Whitener fan here. Ben is a Brentwood resident. I was hoping he would apply for a spot. Good head on his shoulders. Has a district wide(not Brentwood first) attitude toward problem solving. But this city council just blackballed him because he’s one of those dreaded “fire personnel”.

But it was off the charts to hear Brockman state he was against accountability to the voters because it was opening up that possibility of fire or union people getting seats.

This stinks on soooooo many levels and these people seriously need a wake-up call from the county.

Then there is that whole over the top concern about approving the preliminary budget. Are we going back to Brentwood again trying to pitch the idea of removing the last Discovery Bay/south district station and placing it in Brentwood instead? Leave 16,000 people without an operating fire station within 5 miles? Think of the nightmare scenarios with that one! But there are indications Steve Barr and Erick Stonebarger intend to bring that right back up over the course of the next 2 meetings.

These people are both incompetent and dangerous to public safety, IMO.

JCast Jul 25, 2012 - 4:57 pm

Well said Bob, the LAFCO thing doesn’t make sense to me so I am sure that will work itself out over time. The video is pretty damaging to Brentwood and I hope people realize what just happened yesterday because I have a feeling something bigger is at play once Oakley moves forward with its appointments. This smells like a set-up. Given my comments, I probably black listed myself from any appointment from the two or three (whatever it is) available. I now have the attitude that anyone not named Bryant must be removed from Brentwood when their seat is up. I really wish Bryant would have spoke up more against this plan.

Nice point about “control of the board”. They already don’t have control considering the point Mike brought up of 5-4.

Barbara DuMont Jul 25, 2012 - 3:52 pm

this is the EAST CONTRA COSTA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT not the City of Brentwood Fire Department.

JCast Jul 25, 2012 - 4:58 pm

No Barbara, it’s Brentwood Fire Protection District. The rest of you guys have to do as “we” say.

Barbara DuMont Jul 25, 2012 - 5:28 pm

LOL if I remember correctly, years ago the City of Brentwood pleaded near bankruptcy because of the Brentwood Fire Protection District. Anyone remember the year? 1981? 1982? or was it later? Fast forward to 2012 and here we go again…………………..

JimSimmons42 Jul 25, 2012 - 6:09 pm

That is the attitude I take with Antioch City Council. I want to know why the Contra Costa Times is not even reporting what happened at the meeting. Look what they reported on in Richmond. This is similar. Where is the unions?

Barbara DuMont Jul 25, 2012 - 3:58 pm

Question–is there a way to file a conflict of interest complaint? If so with who??

Bob Jul 25, 2012 - 4:18 pm

Barbara, technically not a conflict of interest, which in legal terms involves household financial gain.

Also not a legal conflict of council members holding fire board seats since the Health and Fire Safety Code has a specific exemption for this special circumstance.


I would recommend raising hell with LAFCO and the Board of Supervisors over this highly unethical commentary and practice. Since it’s technically still a joint powers agreement.

That is what I intend to do.

This action is in direct conflict with the agreement Brentwood made with LAFCO to gain local governing body control of this district. They are abusing that power, IMO. Worse, they continue to put Brentwood first in grabbing scarce available resources and then expect the rest of us in the district to simply settle for the scraps they don’t hoard.


Barbara DuMont Jul 25, 2012 - 4:55 pm

Ok wrong wording but they are trying to put Brentwood ahead of everyone else and to hell with the rest of the district. and since I am or was, on the edge of Station 94 and Station 95 area, guess what level of service I have. So I am more than a little fed up with the antics. Some of the comments by these council members are outrageous. Its clear that if you have any ties with the fire district, union or anyone else that isn’t part of their group, don’t bother applying. And that isn’t right. People with knowledge are exactly what is needed and has been needed since day 1. One of the things that struck me is that the Brentwood Council wants to hold people that apply for the fire board to a higher standard that the people that run for council seats. I mean look at their comment——“The other issues are in the selective process, we need to be stringent and we need to know who, what where, and how much education they are going to have in regards to the safety of our population. Because if we turn this over to the board, they are going to make some decisions” —— Can’t help but to wonder how much knowledge these people had when they appointed themselves to the fire board.

At the last fire meeting, during the discussion of election costs, something was said about citizens could petition for an election but no one was clear as to who would foot the bill. Maybe we need to start the process and get that question answered. Because if the county would have to pay for it, I would be willing to spend my day in front of one of the local stores. Not that it would help right now, with all the filing deadlines and such but its a thought and threat.

And I will also be complaining to LAFCO and the Board of Supers.

JimSimmons42 Jul 25, 2012 - 6:11 pm

An election wont happen under the board or the next one because the next board will be the current boards puppets. I like the idea in the article that firefighters run so they can just get rid of these people for good and then we get some solutions.

I watched the video, I thought Mike was somewhat exaggerating. Nope! Bob said it best, “that is one of the most un-freakin-believable pieces of video I’ve watched in a while.” I agree, these people really have some explaining to do.

B-wood Jul 26, 2012 - 1:57 pm

That was hard to watch. These individuals are bringing shame to the city of Brentwood and alienating the neighboring communities.

No doubt about it-Brentwood needs some new blood. Maybe the firefighters or some “union folks” should focus on running for the 3 open seats (2/city council and Mayor’s seat) and not waste their time on the fireboard positions.

Obviously it doesn’t take much.

Barbara DuMont Jul 26, 2012 - 3:59 pm

I have to agree with you. Shame on them! It just another example of a few people thinking that they need to control everything and no body else in the community can do the job as good as they can. On the fire issue, can we wait for the games to be played out before we work toward a solution??? the excuse of the learning curve is BS. I know there are people that understand fire depts, budgets, pensions, response times, personal/union issues, etc that could do this.

JCast Jul 26, 2012 - 4:05 pm

Well said. New blood is needed and I will be voting for anybody who is not on the council right now.

EastCountyReader Jul 26, 2012 - 8:42 pm

This is nothing but the latest edition of the dog and pony show in which the Brentwood politicians don’t want to give up control or be responsible for the mess. It’s been going on for years!

The fireboard should be elected and the Brentwood council members should not have control over the process.

When the district was formed in 2002 it was governed by CCC-BOS. LAFCO RECOMMENDED that CCC-BOS determine the ongoing board representation. http://www.contracostalafco.org/municipal_service_reviews/fire_and_emergency_medical_services/CoCo%20Fire%20MSR%20Master%20-%20FINAL.pdf (Page 205). The entire document is available online and ECCFPD is referred to between pages 185-219. Some of the information is outdated due to the age of the document.

The CCC-BOS was able to transfer the composition of the fireboard to a locally appointed board.

Everyone agrees that the expense of electing members is more than the district can afford at this time. This is a direct result of the current board, spending down the reserve finances that the BOS had built up over the years. The new board in 3 years mismanaged the financial reserves and has disregarded the entire board composition issue; all the while patting themselves on the back for bring about local control. Thanks for ignoring our right to elect real leaders while running OUR district into the ground for all those years.

One of the results of the mismanagement described above is that LAFCO continues to find the district to be “independent” of the CCC-BOS, due to a clause in the Health and Safety codes.

The County has no requirement to fund the district’s election based on the failure of the current board to abide by LAFCO requests of formation. The fault rests solely with the current fire board.

Keep in mind that the district would bear the costs of the election IF the citizens collected enough signatures on petitions. The CCC-BOS should pass a resolution to act in accordance with a successful petition drive requiring the district actually undergo the expense of collecting the signatures. Although I really have no experience in these matters, and basically make this crap up as I go, I do think the Supervisors are ABLE to do that if they wish.

JCast Jul 26, 2012 - 9:17 pm

EastCountyReader, thank you for that link as its great info. How these guys can hold onto their seats is beyond me. Where is the Contra Costa Times? I read that joke of a paper the Brentwood Press today and Rick Lemyr really didn’t provide any details of what transpired other than fluff. There is a really big contrast between his story and Mike’s. The Press would have had a better story by simply running the transcript of that portion of the meeting than what it put out. That is the kinda coverage free gets you!

Joel Bryant Jul 27, 2012 - 11:00 am

I would like to address a couple of comments that have been left here. First of all Ms. Dumont, to say that the learning curve is ” BS ” only shows me that you really have a shallow grasp of the depth of the complicated red tape and convoluted history of the E.C.C.F.P.D.

When I was first appointed to the fire board, I had a very rudimentary understanding of it’s history.
I have lived in Brentwood now for twelve years, and could only answer to what had gone on during that time.

Over the last nearly two years, I have spent hundreds of hours talking to residents, fire fighters, board members, etc.. in order to get a comprehensive understanding of just how the district arrived at its current condition.

Many of the ideas to help remedy the situation that I had, I found had already been tried, or suggested and found to be inadequate to meet the need of the district.

Remember, this is a problem that stemmed from Prop. 13 in the 1970’s. Since that time, many highly qualified individuals have worked to remedy the shortcomings, with obviously little success.

From the beginning, I have had the understanding that the board was to be comprised of elected members from the communities comprising the district. I have been outspoken in my support of this. I still believe, as I have often said before, that playing politics has no place in public safety.

The lives of our families in this district are the absolute priority to me. I have in a very public way, been willing to trade possible votes for my potential re election in a couple of years, for the safety of the lives of our families.

For me, if it comes to a choice of lives for votes, you can choke on your votes. I will gladly trade saving a life, for getting re elected.

I have never considered myself to be a politician. The very reason I ran in the first place, was my frustration with the fact that we as a community, seemed to be being ignored wholesale by many of the decisions that were being made by our ” representatives”.

As for going with an appointed, community board, It is the only way right now, that replacing the elected officials that currently sit on the fire board, can be accomplished, seeing that the district doesn’t have the money for an election process. When the time comes that it does, let’s do the election.

I have absolute certainty that there are individuals in the community who could be appointed, and have almost no time lost learning the things that I did not know. I am begging them to put their hat in the ring, and get appointed.

I will say, that the reason I felt that I as a board member wanted as many qualified residents to have the opportunity to apply for the postion, is because it is obvious, that when the new directors step in, they are going to have as many sleepless nights, thankless hours,pittfalls, political barriers and hurdles, and frustrations, as I do now.

I want the to SUCCEED!! But they will probably feel like I do, that I was placed in the co-pilots seat on a plane that is in a death spin.

I would also ask, that anyone who has something to say, agree or not, to call me. I know that I don’t have all the answers. If you have some, help me. Right now, I represent you, the individuals of the district. Every family in every part of it. Not just Brentwood.

I think I have made it clear that I truly feel this way, by the votes that I have cast. My phone number is 925-525-5925. I would love to meet with you.

Oh, and Ms. Dumont. I am not disagreeing with your other points, I just wanted you to know that no matter who replaces the current board, and no matter how much they know about the district, there are unimaginable things that they are going to run in to as a board member, that they are going to be blindsided by.

Thaks Mike for the opportunity to talk and listen to the people that I work for.

Joel Bryant

burkforoakley Jul 27, 2012 - 11:20 am


As a councilmember and fireboard member, I appreciate your comments on this post. I’ll be blunt and say a lot of my tone was not directed at you and someone pointed out above that you had no choice but to go along with it based on the discussion. As you know, I do respect you and what you have done recently on that board.

With that said, I hate to use the word “rigged” but that is exactly what it appears to be occurring for the replacement appointees. Based on your colleagues statements, union folks and firefighters will be blacklisted as favoritism is already being shown of who will not be appointed. If you watch the video, which I am sure you have, you can see how my conclusions are probably correct in protecting Stonebarger (who gets a pass on this one because he wasn’t there) and Brockman should they lose their seats. It might be a good idea for both of them to make a statement that should they lose, they will not apply for the fireboard as “citizens”.

Finally, I believe that whoever is on the fireboard, I’d agree there will be a huge learning curve when you truly understand what you can and cannot do to generate revenue or make cuts.

Joel Bryant Jul 27, 2012 - 11:07 am

If you really believe what you are saying, stop hiding behind cute titles, and put your names on here. Stand up and be counted, don’t take the cowards way out.

Joel Bryant

JCast Jul 28, 2012 - 8:39 am

Joel, while we may or may not agree, I respect your comments as you are on the board. I would seriously hope you correct this scheme by your fellow councilmembers at the next meeting.

Steve Barr Jul 28, 2012 - 10:12 am

I totally agree with Joel Bryants comments regarding learning curve and putting your name on your comments. It’s far easier to throw rocks from the sideline than to make decisions in a public forum. Don’t get me wrong I am not complaining about having to make what often is a difficult choice between bad and worse, only stop with the paranoid conspiracy theories and either agree or disagree with the decision. There is no “scheme” only a decision based on the discussion by the city council and if you had watched the video you would have seen that I suggested replacing two members with citizen appointees and leaving two council members for a transition period. After a lengthy discussion with all members participating, the recommendation by Councilman Brockman was unanimously approved.

The Fire District and its residents deserve to have board members that are not only willing to serve but are capable of the tough job ahead. Most of the comments I have read seem to point at council members trying to keep their seat on the fire board and ignore the fact that there is four very capable individuals, not seated on the fire board or council, that are running for the Brentwood City Council and would be eliminated from consideration if the deadline was not extended to November 15.
No one should be excluded from consideration for the Fire Board appointment if they really want to serve, that includes council members, firefighters and even those that disagree with my comment. I openly welcome the debate and exchange of ideas, I don’t welcome name calling or disrespect of opposing opinion.

Robert Ruddick Jul 27, 2012 - 11:41 am

Thank you Joel! You are a stand up guy.

Barbara DuMont Jul 27, 2012 - 12:40 pm

Mr. Byrant,

Sorry if I offended you but I do have a very strong grasp of the history of ECCFP and the departments that were here before ECCFP. I have lived in the Oakley/Bethel Island area all my life and have had many friends that were members of the volunteers depts I have watched the numerous games that have been played with our fire protection and the many mergers in an effort to provide the needed (requested) level of service. The volunteers all answered my questions about the function and funding needs of the different departments including the impact of Prop 13. Yes, we lived here then and I remember having a serious discussion with my parents about the impact of the passing of Prop 13. But then, we were all volunteer fire dept and rural living so we weren’t too concerned about the property tax funding. If we only knew then what we know now………………

To appoint/elect people to the fire board that are not knowledge about the fire dept-as you state you weren’t-makes the learning curve steep. To use that learning curve as an excuse in the appointment process is BS, Over the last few years I have met many people that have moved out here from other areas that are extremely knowledge about how a fire dept functions, just not knowledgeable about ECCFP. I don’t care if they are members of a union, fire fighters-for this district or another, retired, employed, high school drop out or PhD, we need people on this board that are willing to use their knowledge and do the job for no pay, no thanks, no reward. And after reading the discussion and then viewing the video, if i lived in Brentwood, I wouldn’t even bother to apply for the board. To use Mike’s word–it looks like its going to be rigged!

And I do not consider myself knowledgeable enough to be on the fire board

JimSimmons42 Jul 28, 2012 - 1:03 pm

Mr. Barr,

Cut the crap, you were called out and now refer to it as conspiracy theories. I’ve watched the video and I admit I thought Mike was exaggerating on his piece until I viewed the video. You say watch the video, I did and I have to agree with the points Mike pointed out. It looks very suspect of what you folks on the council tried to pull. May I ask who is this ad-hoc committee you guys on the council keep referring to? No where does it ever state who gets to pre-screen the applicants. Will this be done in public or in a private room?

While I appreciate your comments on the discrimination for the fireboard, where was these comments the night of the meeting? Talk is cheap after the fact. I am still trying to understand how someone can be eliminated from applying for fireboard if they are running for city council? Can you please explain that? Has any of the candidates running for council expressed interest in fireboard?

While I agree with Mr. Bryant and you there is a learning curve, it still is no excuse to vote one way on the fire board and another on council. It’s double talk. Nice try on claiming the 2 appointments and 2 council who stays on. Based off the video I recall it being open ended with 2 appointed and possibly 3 based on the number of applicants.

Steve Barr Jul 28, 2012 - 2:12 pm

1) Brentwood has a fire Ad-Hoc committee(see Brentwood website)
2) As stated during the council meeting and is common practice for council appointments, two council members would review applications and conduct interveiws as needed and return to the entire council with a recomendation. The council is not bound by the committee’s recomendation.
3) Elimination; If the goal is to appoint members of the public to the FB it would not make a lot of sence to appoint a candidate for city council, thus eliminating those individuals for consideration. More simply put if one of the council candidates was appointed to the FB (prior to the election) and then was elected to the council, we would need to make a new appointment or have another council member on the FB.
4) Candidate interest in FB; YES
5) Claiming 2 apointments and 2 council stay on;
My recomendation at 32:15 on the video was appoint 2 and keep 2 council members, again at 41:34 again at 41:59, as stated in my original comment. Watch the video again.

Why is nobody questioning the Oakley process or did I miss that post? Are the Oakley interveiws public or private?

JimSimmons42 Jul 29, 2012 - 7:33 am

You could have just told me, I checked the Brentwood site and its not listed. So I still don’t know how big or who is on this ad-hoc committee. http://www.ci.brentwood.ca.us/citycouncil/subcommittee/subcommittee.cfm#completed

I am not trying to pick a fight with you, it just doesn’t smell right.

burkforoakley Jul 29, 2012 - 8:03 am

Hey Steve,

What does Oakley’s process have to do with Brentwoods? Oakley is actually moving towards getting the process started quickly while Brentwood is dragging its feet. It’s two processes and timelines for the exact same board.

For the record, you calling my original post a conspiracy theory is funny. Each of those items I listed could and likely will occur based off council discussion–with the exception of Stonebarger applying for fireboard based off his comments below.

I am not one to simply state yes or no I agree, I have reasoning behind my yes or no I agree.

Back to your post above, its obvious you are in favor of 2-2 based off dialogue from meeting, not sure how that can be put on anyone other than Brockman as he encouraged at the 44:30 mark to “leave it kind of open”. Fast forward to 52:00 to Paul Eldredge you are back to number of applicants and pushing this discussion out to Jan/Feb. 57:00 mark Brockman 2 min option for 3.

Video is a great thing!

Erick Stonebarger Jul 28, 2012 - 1:38 pm

While I didn’t have the ability to attend last weeks council meeting. I can assure you no one is protecting my ability to get an appointment. There is not a chance I will be applying for the fire board in November. But instead of the accusations all you had to do was ask. It’s easy to make accusations behind a keyboard without any basis and get people worked up, unfortunetly it creates a tremendous about of negative energy that could be better spent on trying to make the district better. I find it somewhat disturbing that all the comments I read about my “opinion”, come from people I’ve never sat down with and shared “my opinion” with. You can always reach me at [email protected].

Bob Jul 29, 2012 - 9:27 am

Erick, I’ve seen firsthand your idea of “making the district better” which at the last meeting included trying to remove the last remaining engine in the Discovery Bay/south district area. By extension that would have removed the QRV as well, because as we know they can’t sit in a station stand alone.

Your “making the district better” is to leave 16,000+ people without an operating fire engine or fast response paramedic with 5 miles of them.

Thanks, but no thanks.

You, IMO, simply do not have the fire science understanding for proper deployment strategy. I challenge you to present to the public even one study that prioritizes call volume over response time. I’ve challenged you on this since the first time you promoted it. To date. not a single response from you. You have never grasped the fact that in any multi-station fire district of any size there will be imbalance in call volume across the stations. Metro stations will ALWAYS have more calls than those on the fringes. But you continue to act with this odd and apparently unsupported belief that call volume is the primary driver.

It’s response time that’s most important. Always has been. Always will be. Call volume falls in behind that. One doesn’t need a fire science degree or even a high IQ to “get” that. Just a little common sense.

This whole appointment thing is becoming a joke. There is no legal requirement under the statutes whether the member is a council person or not. The real crime here is the lack of accountability by ballot that independent status and elections offer. But that ship has sailed. None of your flavors of appointment will ever do that. so now you’re arguing over who gets to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

It’s dumb on many levels.

I know I’m not the only one chuckling over the obvious control freak factor present here.

Frank S Jul 29, 2012 - 8:24 pm


You are a hypocrite and I hope you lose your seat on every board you sit on. I will work to oppose you should you choose to run again.

Steve Barr Jul 29, 2012 - 9:23 am

@ Jim,
Your right the Fire Ad-hoc is not listed on the city website not sure why but the committe was formed over a year ago to evaluate options for the fire district and Brentwood, the committee members include City staff and councilmembers Barr and Stonebarger.
Jim, I believe in a transparent process and I get a little defensive when JCast called the Brentwood process a “scheme”(see above post), our process was not created for this appointment only. An example; Mayor Taylor and I have brought the council the last three Planning Commission appointment recomendations. The committee task is to review applications and conduct interveiws as needed. The applications are made available to the entire council in the agenda item when asked to approve and is also available to the public.

The public process continues at the council meeting when the appointments are brought to the council for approval, anyone from the public can speak and support or disagree with the recomendation of the Ad-hoc committee. As stated in an earlier post the entire council has the ability to appoint members that were not reccommended by the Committee.

I appreciate your not wanting to pick a fight and that is not my intenion either, telling me to “cut the crap” is not the same as asking me to clarify or offer support for my comments. My reply to your questions was based on the best information I had at the time.

I am always available offline and can be contacted at [email protected]

@ Mike
My comments above were a reply to the comments that preceeded them and not directed at your original blog.

Bob Jul 29, 2012 - 11:02 am

OK, Steve, so according to your commentary here with fellow ad hoc committee member Stonebarger, we are to believe understand that:

1) You don’t like the idea of fire personnel or union people being on the board, but they will get equal consideration.


2) Any person who has obvious disagreements with you on policy will also get equal consideration from the two of you. To include people who you might know have an interest to implement new direction or policy that is 180 degree counter to your own.

The two of you being the sole arbiters for who gets through to the full council for recommendation.

Believable? Let the readers be the judge.

Isn’t it fairly obvious for anyone watching the video that through application review and interviews the only people who have a shot are only those willing to carry your water? Can you provide even a half believable scenario that might suggest otherwise? Takes 3 votes for approval. Let’s remember. 2 are sealed coming into the process with you and Erick and we already know where Brockman sits from the tape.

Still saying all classes of people will get equal consideration? Really?

Any recommendation outside of that during the full council meeting is pure political theater and has no shot.

That’s a fact. Shoot the messenger if you feel the need.

But again the biggie: the will of the people as a whole is not reflected in this process. That’s what LAFCO wanted you to get to. Anything less is simply a shortcoming.

Instead we will be offered some nine point rehash of tired issues what will lead to nowhere. Tying up scarce staff resources in the process.

Distractionary and pointless.

BenSmith Jul 29, 2012 - 8:52 pm

Bob, interesting points. I can always say I will carry their water so they can appoint me. What is this LAFCO thing?

Barbara DuMont Jul 29, 2012 - 10:32 am

@Mr. Barr your comment regarding why Oakley’s process isn’t being questioned, just give us time. I know we will find something to complain about. but at least they are moving it along and not holding things up. The way Brentwood is trying to do things will impact this board’s ability to move forward for 6 months. and lets face it, we need to get moving or come June, we are going to face the need to close another station and lay off more fire fighters.

Also–here is a question that needs to be asked of BOTH councils. Since we, the voters, are not going to have the opportunity to make decisions regarding the make up of the board (should it be elected and vote for fire board members), how much say is the council going to demand over the appointees decisions? If the council gets upset with an appointee, feels that he/she isn’t acting in the best interest of the city, can they remove him/her? Or can they and will they appoint a person to the board for the term and let them vote the way that person believes is in the best interest of the entire district but possibly not the city? An recent example would be the recent station closure votes. One of Brentwood’s council member voted for the 3 station/3 man station instead of the 4 station/2 man model. If he was a citizen appointee and the council felt that this vote wasn’t in the cities best interest and voted to remove him and appoint a new person, would they be allowed to do this? And this can even be asked of the county appointees. Am I making sense?

I think this needs to be very clear to everyone. The fire board needs to be totally separate and independent of the cities control as it represents East Contra Costa. Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, and Bethel Island are entitled to the same level of service as the two cities and should not be treated as second class citizens.

Frank S Jul 29, 2012 - 8:21 pm

I love this post Barbara, I think Mike should expand on this tomorrow. If what I am reading is correct, it appears Mr. Barr is advocating for the delay so that those running for council can then slip into fireboard should they lose in the council race. Oh wait, that is a conspiracy theory and Mr. Barr does not like that.

I finally got around to watching the video today and I must say, Brockman sounds like a donkey. It’s a shame Barr and Bryant didn’t oppose him.

Off topic, I do give Steve Barr credit though for going to the BOS and advocating for CONFIRE Tax.

Type2OK Jul 29, 2012 - 4:37 pm

All the board for ECCFPD should be made up of firefighters. Lets see what they can do differently than the current board to make east county a safer place.

Frank S Jul 29, 2012 - 8:22 pm

anybody who is not on a city council is immediately an upgrade because the politics are removed. It’s a shame both Oakley and Brentwood are keeping council on using bogus reasoning after stating they would come off during the prior fireboard meeting/

BenSmith Jul 29, 2012 - 8:51 pm

I was just made aware of this site and this is great! The Brentwood Press should be ashamed of their lame duck piece on this topic. Being from Brentwood, aside from Joel Bryant, I will not be supporting any of the three stooges from Tuesdays meeting and based on a coin flip I am stuck supporting Taylor for Mayor. Mr. Barr and Mr. Stonebarger look a bit paranoid off their comments. I can appreciate the analysis by the author of this site because everything he said was true and what these councilmembers are doing does not pass the smell test as someone stated above.

Keep up with the articles, I will keep coming back and tell my friends about this.

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