The Coastside Fire Protection District board will meet tonight in a closed session to discuss the appointment of a new fire chief.

The board will hear from its labor negotiator and, if necessary, request more information, said President Doug Mackintosh.

Board members declined to comment on the scope of the closed session discussions, which are scheduled for 7 p.m., at the fire station at 1191 Main St. in Half Moon Bay. The board’s regular session is set to follow the closed meeting at 7:30 p.m.

A job listing was never posted for the position, but Mackintosh hints that the board has already selected potential candidates.

“If you have very specific people in mind, nothing says you have to go outside,” Mackintosh said.

Earlier this year a California Newspaper Publishers Association attorney said the fire board’s practice of meeting behind closed doors to discuss labor negotiations with employees it does not yet have constitutes a violation of the Brown Act, the state law mandating open meetings. Counsel for the fire district disagreed and no formal complaints were ever filed.

The appointment of a new fire chief is necessary as the district moves away from its management contract with CalFire, the state agency that won the contract in 2008.

The CalFire deal is set to expire in the summer of 2013.

Appointment must occur during an open session. Definitive decisions will wait until then.

Agenda items set for the open session include a report from the fire chief detailing CalFire’s performance so far this year, as well as a contract for a consultant to further define costs associated with creating a stand-alone department.

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