Contra Costa County Fire Districts Should Merge, Says Consultant’s Report

July 21, 2021 16:18 pm · 25 comments

by Tony Hicks – A study on fire district consolidation released Tuesday says the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District should consolidate with the East Contra Costa and Rodeo-Hercules districts to increase effectiveness and efficiency.

Hired by the county last year, consultant AP Triton concluded in its 200-plus page study the three districts should coordinate with Contra Costa’s Local Agency Formation Committee (LAFCO) before considering applying for a reorganization.

The study also recommends the districts align to determine a training philosophy and standardized program to meet community needs.

The company presented its findings to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors – acting as the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Board of Directors – on Tuesday.

Similar presentations were recently made to East Contra Costa and the Rodeo-Hercules board.
Each governing body will now reach out to constituents for more feedback before moving the process any further.

“This is an exciting day for ECCFPD and the residents of East Contra Costa County,” Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis, whose district includes much of East Contra Costa, said in a statement. “Our actions today, and the decision by the ECCFPD governing board to continue to work with Con Fire is a long-awaited opportunity to form a regional sustainable solution to providing the level of fire service that our communities need and deserve.”

Chiefs from the three cooperating fire agencies all approved the study.

“These possible annexations have long been informally considered and this formal study, presented to our board of directors this week for their consideration and action, now gives us hard data to base decisions on relative to providing improved fire, rescue, and emergency medical programs to much of the county,” Contra Costa fire chief Lewis Broschard said.

The next step in the process is staff in all three districts coming up with a draft resolution to present to their boards next month, said East County fire chief Brian Helmick.

Exit 12A July 21, 2021 at 6:01 PM

.
How much would this cost the public in terms of salary adjustments, retirement funding, and new fees and charges?
.

anon July 22, 2021 at 7:27 AM

A boat load
East CC gets a lot less in salary than Con Fire – just watch – they will get the same when the merge
also– there are 20+ Con Fire Batallion Chiefs that get over $200,000 in
retirement – the unions run this County & the taxpayers get taken

Bloghog July 21, 2021 at 6:07 PM

Many years ago, East County Fire districts were volunteer fire departments. Because the County Supes & Ciries have allowed the area to exponentially increase in housing, it made sense to create an actual fire district. Unfortunately to the rest of us within CCC Fire District, our $ will be used for that district & Rodeo Hercules. We need a whole lot more info than what we’re being given.

Well Folks July 22, 2021 at 8:48 AM

Bloghog,
It;s obvious you haven’t been to Hercules in quite a while. Development has gone crazy in that area. They don’t “need” money from Concord or anyone else. If anything they will not want the merge as it takes money away from them and also the ability to have their own hiring practices and policies.
The worst thing that can happen is to have this district put under the incompetent Clowns of Pine St (Bos)

Russ Sayin July 21, 2021 at 6:35 PM

The next time I trust what a consultants says will be the first time.

Bobo July 21, 2021 at 7:23 PM

How about adding a volunteer unit to makeup for the shortfall and let the paramedics work?🤷‍♂️

Cautiously Informed July 22, 2021 at 3:19 PM

Volunteers and volunteer fire departments are for small communities with little populations. Full time volunteers would be needed. Most people’s need a paying job to survive.

Rolaids July 21, 2021 at 9:06 PM

I wonder why Richmond Fire is not included in this scheme?

Michael Hunt July 21, 2021 at 9:30 PM

Because Richmond fire is better to work with than con fire. Con fire doesn’t like running medical calls which is why they have reduced their load and no longer respond to calls where people fall and hit their head.

anon July 22, 2021 at 7:37 AM

“Con fire doesn’t like running medical calls which is why they have reduced their load and no longer respond to calls where people fall and hit their head.”

Not sure what you are talking about — they are in Rossmoor 7-10 times a day on routine medical calls. What we do not get is they stay downtown all the time & have to race out here. Not sure why – most AMR units stay are the fire house & have lunch with the fire people. Everyone here has insurance & no one fights the Paramedics.

Well Folks July 22, 2021 at 8:53 AM

Rolaids
Richmond and El Cerrito are city run depts vs special districts. So the residents of Richmond and El Cerrito have a line item on their tax bill for the specific dept. So for them there would be zero benefit of joining the jumbled mess that is Consolidated Fire.

Rolaids July 22, 2021 at 11:48 AM

Thanks, @Well Folks… best answer. I didn’t know El Cerrito also had its own department.

Michael Hunt July 22, 2021 at 12:32 PM

To anon,

I can assure you that none of us go to the firehouse. It’s an agreed understanding of we don’t want to be there and they don’t want us there. We don’t like each other with their sh*t attitude on medical calls being one of the reason. Their lack of responding to certain calls where people ended up really sick.

Don’t talk as if you know what you’re talking about.

Well Folks July 22, 2021 at 8:58 AM

What the Clowns of Pine Street (BoS) really want is San Ramon Valley Fire as that is the district that not only has money but knows how to manage money. Sorry Clowns that will NEVER happen. They have managed to do all the right things to distance themselves from the county they can. Sorry you won’t be getting your hands on their money.
So if the people that live in the Hercules Rodeo Dist are smart they will protest this move with everything they have as in the end the residence within that district have everything to lose with this move

Rolaids July 22, 2021 at 11:58 AM

@Well Folks. HAS money, sure. But MANAGES money? I’m probably not alone in saying that the only thing I actually know about that district is that it is infamous as the one that let a chief spike his pension to, the figure escapes me, something like 300K for the rest of his life?

Did I Say That Out Loud July 22, 2021 at 4:21 PM

Rolaids – You might want to blame the right entity on the “spiking”, it wasn’t the Department. it was the formula used by CCCERA (Contra Costa County Employees Retirement Association). The factoring of that Fire Chiefs pension was done within the framework that was in place at the time and was completely legal. Understanding that many were upset with the outcome and the resulting pension. The factoring of that formula has been changed, including the age at which a Firefighter can now take a full retirement. San Ramon Valley Fire IS a very well managed District. Though separated for a few years, I speak with a 26 year connection to the Department.. I have not reviewed the contracts, mou’s, and the budgets of ConFire, but I do know that East County residents have voted down taxes that would have supported their Fire Stations in the past, only to go on and scream bloody murder when it was fiscally impossible to keep Stations open. As stated by “Well Said”, San Ramon and it’s well managed Department is what the BOS would love to get their hands on.

Well Folks July 22, 2021 at 5:44 PM

Rolaids,
Pull both budgets and you will see SRVF manages their money way better than ConFire. Of course SRVF has a fireboard that is not made up of county politicians which is a good thing. While they were under the county BoS their funds were used to bail out ConFire several times.
As long as ConFire is under the Clowns of Pine St there will always be money issues. it is time for ConFire to get a real fireboard that has zero connection to the BoS.

Rolaids July 22, 2021 at 10:57 PM

@ Well Folks. AND Did I Say That Out Loud. Thanks for the informed responses. While I’m demonstrating my only passing knowledge of these matters: I was wondering about East County. Again, I only know what they are infamous for. In this case, property owners’ unwillingness to tax themselves for adequate fire protection. Before ConFire agrees to absorb a region with a poverty of fire resources, should we require that they buy themselves a new station and some trucks, or whatever would get them in the ballpark of ConFire’s level of investment?

Well Folks July 23, 2021 at 9:04 AM

Rolaids
Part of the issue in East county is there were no development fees earmarked for a fire station or 2. Not sure why, maybe everyone was in a hurry to appease the developer and didn’t collect adequate fees. So I can understand where the taxpayers are coming from.
If you take a look at the Dougherty Valley (sp) development you will notice a nice new fire station with nice new equipment. The house was part of the agreement for the development. FYI – development fees that include a fire house should also be part of of the deal when they finally develop the CNWS.

chuckie the troll July 22, 2021 at 10:15 AM

The larger the agency, the less responsive it becomes to the public (taxpayers) and the more autocratic it becomes.

The MTC started out with good intentions (good paving material for the Highway to Hell), got bigger, swallowed ABAG in one swallow, and foisted a one-size-fits-nobody-well plan called One Bay on the Bay Area.

Any bets on the eventual formation of a single fire agency for Contra Costa County? Or maybe more than one county?

Well Folks July 23, 2021 at 8:49 AM

There will never be just one fire agency in CCC. San Ramon Valley will not be absorbed. For one thing the residents on that district are a powerful voting block that will never let the Clowns of Pine St get their hands on that districts money.

The Fearless Spectator July 22, 2021 at 11:56 AM

A consultants is someone who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is and then sends you a bill for the answer.

Cautiously Informed July 22, 2021 at 3:13 PM

A consultant recommended the same thing decades ago.

WC Resident July 22, 2021 at 6:00 PM

Consultants tend to justify their fees by recommending changes. People resent paying someone to say “you are doing fine as you are” unless it’s the doctor or dentist.

Also, we have a number of fire districts in the county. See https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/1550/Fire-Protection-Districts for the list. I have not thought about if separate districts are better or worse for the public

That web page implies that con-fire already handles medical calls for the entire county which con-fire subcontracts to private companies.

I noticed that Richmond was not mentioned on the county’s “Fire Protection Districts” web page and so am wondering what else is missing.
Richmond has their own web site – https://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/79/Fire-Department

Well Folks July 23, 2021 at 10:00 PM

Richmond and El Cerrito are city run fire departments and will never become part of ConFire. The are staffed to handle medical emergencies within their cities
Also ConFire does not handle all medical calls. SRVF handles their own and always has.

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