As the Coastside Fire Protection District board has contracted with a retired Peninsula fire chief in order to study complicated personnel issues related to starting a new department from scratch.

The board hired retired San Mateo Fire Chief Dan Belville as a contract administrator by a 3-2 vote at last week’s meeting. He will be paid $195 an hour, and there is no formal limit to how much he will be paid.

The board has split 3-2 on whether to start a stand-alone department and stop using CalFire’s services by next summer. The Aug. 22 meeting was the latest in a series as the board majority moves toward starting its own department.

Belville is expected to make suggestions for pension and health coverage options, as well as hiring new employees for the new department.

Belville has historically been supportive of consolidating fire protection services to cut costs. He became a shared fire chief for Foster City and San Mateo in July of 2010, and retired from the position earlier this month.

“I think we’d be lucky to have him,” said Director Mike Alifano at the meeting.

But Directors Gary Burke and Ginny McShane were skeptical.

McShane voted against the contract, saying she was concerned that Belville would be “double-dipping” by earning his public retirement benefits while receiving the hourly wage from the Coastside district.

“I don’t think that’s an expense the district should be undergoing right now,” said fellow board member Gary Burke. “There is simply no justification or rationale in changing … to a system that has no benefit to the taxpayers of the Coastside.”

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