For those of you in Brentwood, you may want to attend tonight’s City Council meeting as Item 19 will hold a discussion of appointing representatives to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board of Directors.
While it’s likely a given they will follow the City of Oakley’s lead in moving towards an appointed board, the only question will be which model will be chosen. A number of scenarios could play out.
- Option 1: All four seats up for appointment
- Option 2: Three seats up for appointment while one councilmember stays on
- Option 3: Two seats up for appointment while two councilmembers stay on
- Option 4: One seat up for appointment while three councilmembers stay on
- Option 5: Brentwood Council makes no changes to the model
Using common sense, Options 1, 4 and 5 can be thrown out; however, both options 4 and 5 are interesting should Brentwood want to make a power play at possibility trying to leave the District for a second time. Remember, last May this very council voted unanimously to begin work on possibly establishing a Brentwood-only fire department.
By keeping the council on the fire board, the dynamics tilt towards Brentwood’s favor since Oakley already made the decision to move towards two citizen appointments this coming cycle with Mayor Kevin Romick to be off the Board in two years. However, as fun as scenarios and conspiracy theories are, the current board wants off with the exception of a few members who want to stick it out for a long-term solution.
My prediction tonight is Brentwood will decide to keep two councilmembers (Steve Barr and Erick Stonebarger) on the fire board while opening up two spots for appointments. My preference, however, would be Option 2 with Joel Bryant being the lone councilmember who remains on the Board.
I’d urge the folks of Brentwood to watch Steve Barr, Erick Stonebarger, Robert Brockman, and Joel Bryant very closely tonight and listen to what they say as they serve duel seats. Ask lots of questions and encourage them to put three seats up for appointment.
Below is the information that was included in the Staff Report.
Discuss the option of appointing members of the public to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection
District (“Fire District”) Board of Directors and if desired, direct staff to prepare an application and advertise for interested members of the public to serve as Fire District Board members; and direct the Fire Ad-Hoc Subcommittee to conduct interviews and bring a recommendation back to Council to appoint between one and four public members.
On October 27, 2009, the Cities of Brentwood and Oakley and the Contra Costa County (“County”) Board of Supervisors consented to the creation of an appointed governing board for the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District based on proportional representation.
On November 10, 2009, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, acting as the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board of Directors, consented to the creation of an appointed governing board for the District based on proportional representation.
On December 8, 2009 the Brentwood City Council appointed four members of the Brentwood City Council to serve as Brentwood’s four Directors of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.
On December 14, 2010 the Brentwood City Council appointed Vice Mayor Barr, and Council Members Brockman, Bryant, and Stonebarger, with Mayor Taylor as an alternate to the Fire District Board of Directors.
At the Fire District Board meeting on June 25, 2012, a discussion amongst the members dealt with the future composition of the Board. With the initial term of their four-year appointments just over a year away from concluding, several board members expressed an interest in exploring membership options. The options discussed included moving forward with an elected board; continuing with a board comprised of County representatives and city council members from each jurisdiction; or appointing a board comprised of County representatives and council appointed members of the public or a combination of city council members and council appointed members of the public. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Oakley and Brentwood Fire District Board members decided to return to their respective city councils for discussion and consideration of future Board appointments. Due to budget constraints and the significant costs of a Board election (estimated at over $300,000), no Board member was in favor of moving forward with an elected Board at this time.
The current Fire District Board consists of nine members: four from Brentwood, three from Oakley and two from the unincorporated County area, each residing within the District. Four members of the Brentwood City Council have been serving as the Board members since 2009. The initial appointments were for a term of four years or until qualified successors could be appointed by the Council; or at the pleasure of the Council. At this time the City Council may wish to appoint members of the public to serve as Brentwood’s representatives to the Board, replacing current Council Members. The Council has the ability to appoint up to four public members, or to appoint fewer than four and have some members of the Council continue to serve as Fire Board members.
If the Council wishes to solicit interest from members of the public, staff recommends advertising the positions in the local paper and on the City’s website, similar to the way we recruit for Commission members. The Fire Ad Hoc Sub-committee could perform the initial screening of the applications and interview the top candidates to recommend to the Council for final approval, and the terms of the appointments could be staggered to provide continuity of representation.
Staff would need to know how many of the four Board positions the Council would like to fill with public members as the Council may choose to retain some seats with those currently serving on the City Council.
There will be no fiscal impact associated with the appointments to the Fire Board of Directors. The District will continue to receive approximately 6% of the 1% property tax levy on all property within the District. The City has not assumed any financial or legal obligations of the locally governed District Board.