Town Square

SRV Fire Protection District - it's "All In the Family"

Original post made by C. R. Mudgeon, Danville, on Oct 11, 2012

I urge all voters in the area served by the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District (SRV FPD) to read this article from today's San Ramon Valley Times (Mercury News): Web Link

Three of the 5 candidates for the three open seats on the SRV FPD Board have close ties to the union, at a time when the board is negotiating a new contract with the union.

In addition, one existing board member, Jennifer Price, who is not up for election, is the sister-in-law of Fire Chief Richard Price.

Here are the five candidates, along with their union ties:

- Gordon Dakin - cousin of Matt Dakin, who is on the union's executive board

- H. Jay Kerr - no union ties

- Stephen Mohun - brother is Mike Mohun, union president

- Gerardo Peniche - brother-in-law of district firefighter Erick Hubbard

- Matt Stamey - no union ties.

My own opinion is that Kerr and Stamey deserve our support, as they are the only two candidates without conflict of interests as they negotiate with the union on a new contract.

Read the above-linked article to draw your own conclusions. But putting Dakin, Mohun, and (perhaps to a lesser extent) Peniche on the board will basically mean a continuation of very lucrative salary, benefits, and pensions, that the district can't afford. Basically it amounts to asking the fox to guard the henhouse!


Like this comment
Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Oct 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I was just at Lunardi's in Danville and there were a couple of firefighters(?) who were passing out a brochure that was pushing for the election of Dakin, Mohun, and Peniche.

I used to respect firefighters, but it seems that all they want is their own lackeys elected to the fire board to give them ever-more generous benefits and retirement.

Like this comment
Posted by willy t
a resident of Danville
on Oct 12, 2012 at 6:26 am

And they retire at 50 so the taxpayers on on the hook for these generous retirment packages for years which include full medical. Enough.

Like this comment
Posted by Kerri
a resident of Danville
on Oct 12, 2012 at 6:34 am

When someone has a connection to a cause, it is often a sign of passion & dedication. Not croniosm, as some might conclude. You have to know what you're talking about & believe in what you are representing to be an effective leader.
The men & women of the SRVFD do a damn fine job serving this area. I personally have the utmost respect for our first responders. Not many of us are called to put our life on the lines with what we do. We should be proud & thankful that we have the SRVFD taking such good care of our community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Like this comment
Posted by Jake
a resident of Stone Valley Middle School
on Oct 12, 2012 at 7:20 am

If you vote for Mohun, Dakin or Peniche you are simply stupid (unless you are a SRV firefighter of course). I'm very surprised Chevron let Peniche take Union money. Chevron should be supporting the entire community and not the special interests of the Union.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Oct 12, 2012 at 7:22 am

Yes, we should be proud of the work the firefighters do, but be proud with some common sense. There salary and retirement packages are bloated and ridiculous. To continue doing the same is finically foolhardy. Its time to use intelligence in negotiating with these unions. Back anyone running for the SRV FPD Board that is not connected to the union or management, its just that simple. Cronyism and nepotism have no place on this board, yet it has for years and no one seems to notice this. Many thanks to CR Mudgeon for bringing this to everyones attention. Use his article as a voting guide.

Like this comment
Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Oct 12, 2012 at 8:09 am

I have written about this issue more than once over the last 18 months, I am so glad folks are waking up to the shocking unsustainable and lucrative incentive packages our fire board has approved time and time again. Let's "re-engineer" the whole fire department function, it is a matter of record the number of "fires" is perhaps 15% of the calls to a fire station as providing ambulance services is the vast majority of their daily duties. Contract the medical emergency calls to a much less expensive medical emergency firm. The firefighters do not want us to know they actually combat a fire very infrequently. The nepotism on the board is frankly unethical in my view and is the reason we are in the in this financial mess. Chief Price wants everyone to know he is "volunteering" at $1.00 per year compensation, but doesn't want us to know his brother's wife sits on the Board. Enough!

Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Danville
on Oct 12, 2012 at 8:42 am

For several years now Danville Fire Chiefs have been retiring with income in excess of $200,000 per year. Enough already!

Like this comment
Posted by Elaine
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 12, 2012 at 8:42 am

Who thinks putting the Union President's brother (Mohun) in charge of the District's budget is a good idea? Do the firefighters think we are idiots? I'm sure the Union is paying Peniche's candidate expenses not Chevron, but shame on Chevron for allowing him to deceive the voters by not disclosing his conflict. How is any if this legal! Thank you Times for daylighting the coup attempt.

Like this comment
Posted by Old Danvillian
a resident of Danville
on Oct 12, 2012 at 9:00 am

No conflicts of interest there! The firefighters and their board are all standing at the public trough happily slurping up personal financial rewards. The shame of it is that we let them get away with it.

Like this comment
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 12, 2012 at 9:19 am

Kerr, Stamey, and then put your pencils down. I'm also calling Chevron about Peniche.

Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Danville
on Oct 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm

We are now on to how the firefighter unions screw the people and leave no money for schools. Thanks for posting the article and remember if prominent firefighters are for a candidate it is very likely a good idea to vote against the candidate.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike Mohun
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 17, 2012 at 8:53 am

My name is Mike Mohun. I am the Union President for the San Ramon Valley Firefighters, Local 3546 of the International Association of Firefighters. I agree that you should be informed when you go to the poles to vote.

If after reading this response, you want not to elect our endorsed candidates, I respect your opinion, admire your initiative and support your informed decision. Because it is you the citizen that I work for, and you the citizen whom I have dedicated my life to serving. I want what is best for you, and believe this is true for every firefighter that works in this community on your behalf.

We have never tried to hide my earnings or benefits from you. If you feel we deserve less, then we are at your disposal. We want only to be able to provide for our families in a responsible manner. I did not become a banker, or a stock broker. I became a paramedic and firefighter because my life's desire was to take care of others. I am compensated a wage for the service I provide. The most influential force on my wage is the economy. We will see cuts, and continue to see them as long as the economy declines.

When I became President of the local just a few months ago, my first objective was to resolve negotiations as soon as possible. It is my desire to have negotiations complete before the end of the year. We are aware of the publics outrage, and though we do not feel responsible, we do possess a sense of responsibility. With this, my team has given the Fire District a very generous proposal. What I can not understand is why the current Fire Board has neglected to respond to our offer which concedes wages, benefits, and retirement reform, all offered prior to the State Legislation's reform Bill 340, and at a time where the employees I represent have experienced a wage freeze for several years and, if our proposal is excepted, a wage freeze and wage concessions over the course of the next four years.

This Fire Board has had our offer for over a month and have not provided us with a response of any kind. Why? It would serve to support the argument that we are running candidates with the intent to manipulate the negotiations process.

If we can negotiate a contract within the next couple of weeks, then there will be no need for us to run candidates for contracts, wages or benefits. I know the political economic environment we are in, and that many people are angry. Why would I be so naive so as to run controversial people for Board knowing that it would provoke such a response.

First: We have a fire Chief who is working for one dollar a month. He is receiving full retirement. It has been decided that it is time for him to leave. His scheduled departure is for the end of the year. The board gave the directive to hire a recruiting firm to hire a new fire chief, and with much time to accomplish the task before the January 1, 2013. Yet management has stalled the process to the extent that hiring a new Chief within the year is difficult if not impossible.

Second: Our current second in command, the Operations Chief,has only a few months experience in his position. The Board failed to fill this important Assistant Chief Level vacancy several months before he was appointed and only then at the Union's insistence. Prior to that appointment, it was management's desire and the Board's apparent intent to rehire the previous Assistant Chief on Double wages, which would have given him a salary of hundreds of thousands of dollars including his retirement. The Union argued against and was successful in preventing this from occurring. We know too well how we are being perceived by the citizens, and knew it then. The Board was not prepared because of a lack of succession planning, and the position remained precariously vacant for several months, and may have remained vacant for several more had we not intervened.

Third: One of our two assistant chiefs has retired leaving a vacancy open in yet another key level position.

Fourth: There is a very real possibility that we will have another key level position, vacated, leaving two upper level management positions vacated in January of 2013 in addition to the vacated Chief position. We have advised this board to plan for this event to no avail.

Fifth: Due to the heavy concessions I have proposed, in addition to State level reform, there is a real possibility that we will retire over 25% of our employees including captains and engineers, and though many of you would agree that we respond to a proportionately low number of fire calls, it does not make the responses we do respond to less dangerous, and even more dangerous to the employee and citizen with the lower level of experience we will have.

Sixth: If the $75.00 annual parcel tax does not pass in Contra Costa County, then our engines and ambulances will be responding more frequently into Walnut Creek and Concord, with a fire agency we have not trained with, a new radio system not yet implemented, and young inexperienced companies. As the senior Representative for this agencies employees and their safety, I am absolutely terrified of the consequences.

Our team realizes the need for stability and the lack of stability we are currently experiencing. I do not trust that some members on our Fire Board are capable of meeting the challenges we face.

Gordon Dakin has been our Fire board President. He does not compromise efficiency and effective delivery of Fire and Emergency services. He understands the danger we are facing and, as a citizen of the Valley, feels compelled to act on your behalf to protect you. The only way he knows to do this successfully is to become a Board member. When he was on this Fire Board his direction saved the District over a million dollars annually. He refused to compromise his principles. He refused to entertain concessions to employees.. There is no indication to me that he would concede to this Union anything in the form of wages or salaries.

Gerardo Peniche has experience in technology and in human resources. I expect that Gerardo will analyze and evaluate our current I.T. division and find significant savings by downgrading what may be an unreasonably expensive process. He has experience in public relations and team building. With what we are currently experiencing with mass retirements on the horizon, decreased morale, and the significant concessions and wage cuts, he is the ideal candidate to help us through this environment.

Steve Mohun has experience as a Chief Financial Officer, and has been a Certified Public Accountant for over 30 years. The Fire District has been spending into reserves and we are told will continue to do so into the future. If, after his analysis he decides the employees will have to contribute more in the way of concessions, we would comply willingly, knowing he could be trusted. I know that I can trust Steve. I have not had this kind of trust for all members of the current Board.

The citizens have come to trust us. You trust us with your sick family members. You trust us in your homes, with your property and possessions. You trust that when we come to your aid, we do so with a desire to do what is best. We are dedicated to our profession and are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice to accomplish what may seem impossible.

Why then would we not expect the same level of dedication and commitment from our Board members, the same expectation of trust from them that you have come to experience from us. We're not politicians. We are not financiers. We live humble lifestyles. We respect honor, integrity, loyalty to family, to our work, and to you. And if we suspect that the people that influence our ability to protect you fail us, then we will do what it takes to find someone to replace them. And we have found them.

Thank you

Mike Mohun

Like this comment
Posted by Lisa M
a resident of Danville
on Oct 17, 2012 at 10:59 am

Scroll down the pages until you finally see Total Commpensation less than $100,000.

I wonder if Stacking the Board of Trustees on the San Ramon Valley Fire District has any relationship to this?

The next thing we will hear is that Firefigters working in other areas and living here (and vice versa) form the majority of the seats on the Boards.... oh, it already is happening?

Well, who is representing the Taxpayers? Nobody! Check out the link here from CC Times / SJ Mercury News Public Employee Database:

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Lisa M
a resident of Danville
on Oct 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm

RE: Above posting. The link included only sent you to the public employee database. Use the drop down menu for the San Ramon Valley Fire District & then review .... page after page of Compensation & Benefits that will put your hair on fire!!

Web Link