Grand jury says Coastside fire districts should merge and outsource services

By on Mon, July 10, 2006

The San Mateo County Grand Jury, in a report issued Monday, says that it is necessary for the Point Montara Fire Protection District and Half Moon Bay Fire Protection district to merge, and to outsource their fire services to another agency, [index of report pdf’s] before the end of 2006.

A culture of strife has existed in the HMBFPD for at least the past six years. During this time HMBFPD has been involved in five lawsuits with current or former employees; has so far paid $707,595 in settlements and has spent $516,280 on legal expenses.  In addition, twenty-eight firefighters have retired or left HMBFPD to seek employment elsewhere, the fire chief has retired, and both a division chief and the fire inspector have quit.

In its opening pages, the grand jury report quotes a story from Coastsider: Interim Fire Chief condemns deficiencies, recommends contracting out fire service. The San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury is an independent investigative body created by the California State Constitution. Composed of nineteen citizens, the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury serves as a "watchdog for citizens of the county."