Fire consolidation process in progress

Letter to the editor

Posted by on Sat, September 10, 2005

Ginny McShane is vice president of the Point Montara Fire Protection District board and is a candidate for reelection in November. Coastsider welcomes responses and letters from other candidates for the board.

The Point Montara Fire Protection District and the Half Moon Bay Fire Protection District have hired Robert Olson and Associates (ROA) to consult on preparing a Consolidation Application to be sent to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), in San Mateo County.

In the LAFCo process, the fire districts will hold a series of study sessions open to the public. The Consolidation application will include the current fiscal conditions of both districts,  financial projections of a consolidated district, recommendations for cost savings, a recommended capital replacement schedule, and fire district governance models.

Study sessions and committee meetings will be open to the public and properly noticed according to the Brown Act.  A consolidation application will be developed, and sent to LAFCo.

LAFCo than considers the application. If the application is approved, time is set aside for a protest hearing.  During this protest period, citizens can collect signatures to force a vote. Ultimately, the LAFCo executive officer shall make a finding about the protests submitted which will result in either a termination, an order to hold an election, or an order to find annexation complete.

As you can see, this process is comprehensive and includes everyone. Consolidation has the support of the firefighters’ union and both fire boards.

Geographically, the Coastside is separated from other fire service providers.  The Consolidation of these two districts would provide a single fire agency.

Please attend these meetings.  Your input is very important. Preparations are being made to televise these meetings on Channel 6.

It’s election time and readers should look beyond the self serving comments of candidates. 

While some progress toward consolidation has been made recently with both Boards voting their intent to consolidate, either Board can stall the application to LAFCo over any number issues or even unilaterally withdraw an application once made. Many citizens have concerns about the seriousness of the current PMFPD Board’s intent to pursue consolidation, after the election.

Director McShane voted to terminate the contract with HMBFPD without dispute resolution or the courtesy of a complaint letter in September of 2003.  Director McShane did not support consolidation in September 2004 during the first set of consolidation meetings which broke down.  Director McShane has flip flopped so many times on consolidation, most have lost count.

PMFPD Director’s MacKimmie and Riddell recently voted to hire Mr. Doug Snyder as a PMFPD part time employee.  This was done to screen Paramedic candidates should PMFPD go it alone.  Readers of the Fire Board soap opera in the HMBReview will recognize Mr. Snyder as the source of one of the allegations against HMBFPD in 2003.

The current PMFPD Board has a history of transparency issues: daytime meetings, no TV broadcast, no website, one year meeting tape retention, public speaking limits and disrespectful treatment of citizens attending meetings asking questions or making comments.  Just subminimal Brown Act compliance and the Board attempting to control information and public discourse.

The joint consolidation meeting broadcasts were arranged by President Donovan of HMBFPD.

Vince Williams
Candidate for PMFPD Director

Comment 2
Sun, September 11, 2005 1:12pm
Joe Loomis
All my comments

I echo Vince William’s remarks and concerns.  I have been attending Pt. Montara and Half Moon Bay Fire District meetings for over two years.

I am thoroughly disappointed with the behavior of our current Pt. Montara Fire Board. A change on our Board is needed if we are to stop the bickering between these two fire districts and move forward in the interest of the safety of lives and property in our community.

Our present Board has lost sight of the fact that delivery of emergency services, and not petty politics, should be the goal of our Fire District
in cooperation with the HMB Fire District.

Rather than work with the HMB Fire District and move forward with consolidation exploration, our Board has alienated the HMB District and cancelled the emergency services contract with the HMB Fire Distict.

It is time for new leadership on our Pt. Montara Board.  I hope our citizens will study the issues and vote as informed citizen taxpayers in

Joe Loomis
Moss Beach
<email>[email protected]</email>