The Oakley City Council voted 5-0 last night to begin the process of moving towards a citizen appointed East Contra Costa Fire Protection District board of directors when it was decided two of the three seats will be up for appointment.
The Board is currently made up of 9-members with three from Oakley, four from Brentwood and two at-large appointments from rural East County.
This move became a bit predicable when it became clear that an election, which would be a two-step process, would cost the District around $300,000—money is does not have nor should it spend. This was the next best choice from an elected board which should still be the ultimate goal when the money is right.
From what I’ve been told, the advertisements will begin going out shortly on the City’s website, in City-sponsored social media, in the weekly Oakley Outreach email blast, on the Civic Center Marquee and in the Oakley Press.
The timeline for interviews and appointments will come sometime in September.
According to the staff report on this agenda item, it was originally going to be all three Oakley seat up for appointment, but the council changed its mind last minute as one member will stay one for one more cycle while two seats are filled.
From what I was told, Kevin Romick will stay one while Jim Frazier and Pat Anderson are replaced—I can understand this logic and it makes a lot of sense you do not want 9-new ECCFPD Directors all at one time, they need to be stagnated.
The learning curve for 9-new directors would be huge and it would be like a vehicle stuck in a pile of mud waiting for a tow truck—it just can’t go anywhere or do anything. This was a great decision by Oakley Council to go this route with keeping one seat filled and opening two up.
Looking forward, the City Council of Brentwood was likely watching Oakley’s move last night and paying very close attention. They will now likely try something similar with their four seats. They will likely try for a 2-on and 2-off scenario, but my thought is they should do a 3-off and 1-on.
The reason I suggest a 3-off and 1-on is with Kevin Romick, Bob Kenny and Cheryl Morgan not going anywhere, two seats staying on in Brentwood would give the Board a majority (five) of current Directors instead of new blood—which was not the point of going to an appointed board.
As the application process is set to begin, it should be interesting to see who will apply and what type of difference one can make without any sort of revenue enhancement.
My word of advice for those thinking of applying, I hope you are hope for a difficult challenge and gaining a lot of gray hair!