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Fire board adjourns without chief's report

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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 3:10 pm

The Coastside Fire Protection District board cut short a regular meeting Wednesday night, adjourning without hearing a report prepared by Chief John Ferreira that contains financial information and related public comments.

Ferreira's report, in part, serves as a response to cost estimates produced by a legal consultant who suggested a stand-alone department was financially feasible. Ferreira’s report is available online at

Among other things, the report touches on salary and benefit cost differences between CalFire's existing model and the consultant's proposed model. It says that the consultant's model was based on "several invalid assumptions" about CalFire's contract, resulting in miscalculations in various personnel and overtime costs. Ferreira also suggests the consultants overlooked other potential costs.

The chief’s report also tracks CalFire achievements. "This is what you'd grade (the services of CalFire) against," Ferreira said after the meeting.

Ferreira claims that CalFire only billed for actual cost — $5,040,000 for the last fiscal year. That is significantly lower than the originally budgeted $5,553,151. These savings, Ferreira said, can be used toward paying down debt, equipment purchases and other uses.

The details had been requested at previous fire board meetings, but Ferreira said the reports hadn’t been finalized until the fourth quarter concluded on July 1. But Director Mike Alifano lamented that he was "done" with arguing and didn't intend to let Ferreira address his report that night. Board President Doug Mackintosh declared the meeting to be adjourned and some members of the board and audience were left incredulous.

"I'm so shocked. I'm so appalled," said director Ginny McShane later. During the meeting, she said that hearing Ferreira's presentation was a matter of respect. Director Gary Burke apologized to the chief, stating that he was "embarrassed as hell."

People arrived at 7:30 p.m. for a meeting that was supposed to cover a variety of issues in addition to Ferreira's report.

Proposals for services, such as those provided by a fire marshal as the board transitions away from CalFire, were heard from representatives of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District and the South San Francisco Fire Department.

Director Gary Riddell said he was appreciative of both agencies' efforts and in favor of Menlo Park's offer.

The proposals were presented two days after the district announced that Clayton Jolley would be assuming his old fire marshal duties. Jolley had been reassigned elsewhere within CalFire.

"I found the timing suspect," said Riddell. He is concerned that Jolley will be able to resign at any time in future, leaving the Coastside without a fire marshal again.

McShane suggested a meeting curfew, which will also be discussed later.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • pae posted at 8:20 pm on Sun, Jul 29, 2012.

    pae Posts: 143

    The 7/25 Board meeting is up on
    If you don't have time to watch the whole thing, don't miss the end, where Alifano rants about not wanting to hear the Chief's report, saying that he's "walking away from confrontation." That's just the right kind of a person to run a standalone fire department, hire staff, meddle in operations, and all the other things a knowledgable and competent Board member would Never think of doing!

    If he's afraid of "confrontation," maybe he should think about why the routine monthly report from the Chief addressing Board questions might be confrontational. There is no less confrontational person than our very professional and polite Fire Chief. Could it be that the Chief has information that shows the flaws in the Board majority's thinking and in their agenda?

    To find out, be sure to read the letters from Chief Ferreira to President Mackintosh. They are found in the Board packet under Tab 7, the Chief's report. There will also be a link in Talkabout by tomorrow, and on the Keep CAL FIRE Facebook page. The second letter especially is very enlightening, and a MUST READ!

  • pae posted at 3:48 am on Sat, Jul 28, 2012.

    pae Posts: 143

    I can understand why Alifano refused to listen to Chief Ferreira's report at the July 25 Board meeting, after reviewing the Board packet and his report materials. For those who have not had an opportunity to read this, it can be found at
    under the Board packet, July 25 regular Meeting, Tab 7. It contains very important information about the Board's performance in this critical period of "planning."

    In the report, Chief Ferreira blows all the budget projections made by the Board majority and the consultants totally out of the water, with detailed documentation. The increased difference in cost to the taxpayers would be $1-1.5 million at the least, and not all costs are accounted for even still. In addition, he refutes both Mackintosh's claims and Alifano's claims in his full page HMB Review ad one by one, specifically, and with documentation. He also requested President Mackintosh in another letter to address the employee issues now in relation to the status of those who transferred to CAL FIRE and remained, retired or resigned, rather than "determining these policy decisions later" down the road, since the absence of these decisions "is creating unwarranted anxiety and continues to adversely affect morale and performance." (President Mackintosh has not bothered to do this still. He really cares about his local staff, even those he wants to bring back.) Finally, Chief Ferreira provides the 2011-2012 statistics, on which and reasonable and competent Board of Directors would base a performance evaluation. CAL FIRE passes with flying colors.

    To make a long story short, CAL FIRE is doing extremely well, is extremely cost effective, and the Board majority is way out of line even thinking of doing what they're trying to do to us all. They are lying in their newspaper claims, have no solid grounds for removing CAL FIRE at this time, and are acting against the best interests of the community, of the taxpayers, and of our firefighting team. There are no current, valid and documented excuses for what they're doing to us. Period. And furthermore, this Board President thinks so little of his constituents, our firefighters, and our Chief that he rudely couldn't even be bothered to allow the Chief to present his report, though of course he knew it was not favorable to the Board majority's private agenda. Rather than be confronted with the facts, he chose to adjourn the meeting, no doubt hoping that the public wouldn't find out what he was trying to hide. Since the threesome always vote as a block and never think or make decisions on their own, the three got their way yet again.

    If this doesn't support the need to recall this Board majority before they have the opportunity to do any more damage to our fire and emergency service, it's hard to say what will. The clock is ticking loudly!

    Keep Coastside CAL FIRE on the Coastside!
    Recall Alifano, Mackintosh and Riddell.

  • John Charles Ullom posted at 3:55 pm on Fri, Jul 27, 2012.

    John Charles Ullom Posts: 1178

    Good points BigPumpkin. I did make the mistake of lumping all those who oppose
    the recall, including George, into the same group that includes the bullies who
    show up at recall sites to take photos and berate those who choose to
    participate in the recall.

    I apologize. There are plenty of people who are against the recall for plenty
    of different reasons that are principled and reasonable. Just as there are
    plenty of people who have signed the recall who are informed and principled.

    Again, I apologize. I made a silly mistake in my rhetoric. It won't happen
    again. Thanks BigPumpkin. We all need to be held accountable for what we say
    and what we do. I went too far. I owe you one buddy.

  • Tyler Durden posted at 3:23 pm on Fri, Jul 27, 2012.

    Tyler Durden Posts: 445

    "Last weekend one of those board members, Mike Alifano, confronted volunteers who were gathering signatures outside Safeway in Half Moon Bay...They say he was intimidating volunteers, scaring off potential signers and attempting to take photos of the petitions with his iPhone, a possible violation of state election law." —San Jose Mercury News, July 20, 2012

    "A San Mateo County District Attorney's Office investigator has been assigned to look into complaints about a series of verbal run-ins between a Coastside Fire Protection District board member [Alifano] and recall supporters that occurred over the past two weekends."
    HMB Review July 26, 2012

  • BigPumpkin posted at 12:57 pm on Fri, Jul 27, 2012.

    BigPumpkin Posts: 145

    "The DA is investigating the thuggery of those opposed to the recall."

    I'm opposed the the recall. I guess that makes me a thug in Mr. Ulloms eyes? And I'm alarmed to learn i'm under investigation by the DA.

    I wonder what I did? I've had zero interaction with any signature gatherers, expressed nothing but personal opinion. Is it suddenly against the law to express my opinion?

    Or is this more hyperbole from the recall faction? Are these guys so disconnected from reality that anyone who doesn't agree with them is "under investigation" and a thug? It's sad, really. Their entire case is built on exaggeration and information taken out of context.

  • rheadabovewater posted at 12:03 pm on Fri, Jul 27, 2012.

    rheadabovewater Posts: 8

    I'd like to know when the next meeting is going to be held, because now I'm definitely going. This is outrageous!

  • John Charles Ullom posted at 10:21 am on Fri, Jul 27, 2012.

    John Charles Ullom Posts: 1178

    As this is happening, the Grand Jury is receiving the now clearly contemptuous responses of Mackintosh, Alifano, and Riddell to the Grand Jury Investigation.

    The DA is investigating the thuggery of those opposed to the recall.

    Mackintosh, Riddell, and Alifano are video taping and photographing Coastside Citizens for who knows what purpose.

    They have been caught repeating a huge huge discrepancy concerning their assertions of what a new standalone department would cost vs CalFire.

    Now they flip off the Chief and those who attended the meet just to hear what the Chef had to say.

    What next?

  • Tyler Durden posted at 10:26 pm on Thu, Jul 26, 2012.

    Tyler Durden Posts: 445

    "..[The] report prepared by Chief John Ferreira...contain[ed] financial information and related public comments..."

    "...But Director Mike Alifano lamented that he was "done" with arguing and didn't intend to let [Chief] Ferreira address his report that night...".

    Ah yes, after intimidating voters at local supermarkets, Alifano is now in the business of suppressing public comments and suppressing the public's right to hear different viewpoints at public meetings.

    The whole purpose of public meetings is to let the public have a say on how their money is being spent based on relevant financial information. But these out-of-control directors don't want to anybody to hear those public comments or hear relevant financial information so they abruptly adjourn the meeting.

    It seems to me that these directors have now clearly crossed over into illegal behavior. You cannot shut down the public's right to hear from all viewpoints at a public meeting The San Mateo County DA needs to step in and bring some charges against these arrogant directors.


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