Chief Hugh Henderson reported last night that the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District response times fell to 7:01 minutes on average for 465 calls in March compared to 7:18 for 487 calls in February. Meanwhile, Brentwood Vice Mayor Joel Bryant was appointed the new Board President after Kevin Romick stepped down.
With the downtown Brentwood Station expected to open in early May, response times should continue to go down as we add more coverage and the District re-acclimates itself to a five-station service model.
During Public Comments, there were two speakers from Bethel Island who spoke out about the fire on Taylor Road which left two homes destroyed and one home damaged.
Rick Carlson who had his home damaged in the fire, but was considered a “save” by the District, commended the firefighters on saving his home.
“Obviously, it was a scary scene. I would like to commend the firefighters and their decisions made. They are the reason I am not homeless because of their efforts. While the decision has been criticized on the Island, but I feel they were right on par. I would like to specially thank Engine 94 and Firefighter Johnson, Ben from Engine 88 on an emotional side because he helped me very much,” said Rick Carlson.
Cha-Cha Cha also spoke and criticized the district for not holding a town hall meeting after the incident and allowing rumors and opinions to run wild on the Island. She stated they could have had a town hall to explain exactly what happened, the challenges, and it could have put an end to the debate quickly.
“There is a lack of communication with this District,” proclaimed Cha. “I want all the stations back, I want the firefighters back and put where they belong. Shame on the people who voted against the parcel tax!”
Romick Steps Down
ECCFPD said goodbye to Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick last night who had been transitioning off the Board since November and welcomed Jonathan Michaelson to replace him. Romick was presented a plaque of appreciation from Joel Bryant and was thanked for his service. Romick spent the last two years as Board President.
“We just want to say as employees of Local 1230, thank you… you have always been a good sport and cared about your community,” said Gil Guerrero, Local 1230 Vice President.
“I’ve worked with you for a couple years now. You have been a person of passion, compassion and I thank you for your leadership,” stated Joel Bryant.
Joel Bryant was appointed the new President of the Board while Ronald Johansen was appointed vice president of the board.
The District did not receive a grant to add a ladder truck. It was reported the District was one of 12,000 applicants seeking $2.15 billion in funds.
The Board recommended the staff come up with a policy to deal with their surplus property. They are expected to create this policy within the next 30 day to 6-months.
Request Proposal from City of Brentwood for Administrative Services
Currently this is an exploratory item where Brentwood will come back with real numbers. District staff explained that currently the IT portion of this item is comparable.
Joel Bryant asked if there was a private company that is comparable or feasible? The chief responded staff has not looked into that or tried at this point.
Director Smith stated this is a potential cost savings and instead of going across the county to Martinez, they can walk across the street to Brentwood who in his opinion has one of the bets finance departments in the County.
“If we get that same service that Brentwood gets, we will be ahead of the game,” Director Smith proclaimed.
Housing Arrangements with AMR
There was some discussion last night regarding how AMR is not paying for housing at the stations and that this is saving them money. The Board will be looking into this further as it appears there have been no updates since the original agreement in 1992 when it was a pilot program for a station that is closed in Bryon and a District that no longer exists (East Diablo Fire Protection District).
Director Johansen claims AMR is saving a lot of money by using QRV’s instead of the two paramedics on a rig. We need to address this free housing.
Director Cooper questioned how the contract from 20-years ago is still legally binding.
According to the Chief, the position AMR is taking is the District receives $1.4 million in compensation in terms of service which exceeds any cost of housing. The District will be inviting AMR to speak about this in the near future—no timetable was given.
Three Subcommittees to be Formed
The Board will meet next month to finalize the idea of creating three subcommittees to address many challenges within the District that may need additional time.
Director Smith had been working on this for a few months now and states that the District needs to show that they are on top of things. He explained how he doesn’t want the public to think they are hiding things in subcommittee, but stated the reality is that is when things can get done.
Joel Bryant explained his position is subcommittees and ad-hocs are very valuable to run ideas through before coming to the full board. It saves bad ideas from being presented and saves time. He also stated he wanted a committee created as fast as possible on a potential revenue enhancement.
“We are months behind schedule on a revenue enhancement and an ad-hoc committee could come up with service models. We don’t have 30-days to find out service models. We need it now,” said Bryant.
Bryant suggested that two of the committees being standing while one would be an ad-hoc committee. The District staff will come back next month with policy and allow for the public to provide input before they decide on a direction.