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Jerry Galland

Jerry’s Point of View

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Asking questions of the fire commissioners – updated

September 23rd, 2013 at Mon, 23rd, 2013 at 9:26 am by Jerry Galland


I sent my questions to all 5 commissioners allowing a full two business days prior to the regular board meeting.


One question was answered. No, the district has no obligation to pay one dime towards principle for the training property until 2016.

We were able to buy the land without asking permission from the public and we successfully used a scheme which allows us to keep the public away from the decision process.

Meanwhile we pay about $240,000 per year interest only. Waste of taxes.


Your Wallet, Brandon Church’s benefit


The second question was how much has the district spent on defending the private EMT license of Brandon Church, a fact that had to have been known to the commissioners when they voted to pass the motion, in the investigation of perjury. Remember the district called a special meeting nearly 2 months ago way back on August 5th to pass a motion to put your taxes in his legal team.

Either the commissioners were ignorant when voting of the fact that Brandon Church committed perjury renewing his EMT license and just wanted to reach into your wallet instead of his, or the union’s, to defend him, or they knew it and decided to make you pay anyway. Both prospects are very troubling to say the least.


The commissioner meetings are for the express purpose of allowing the public to ask questions and get answers, financial included, of your elected officials.

Chairman Bill Gates refused to answer, even though he and all the other commissioners had two full business days to ask David Lawson, the Chief Financial Officer.

Chairman Gates said that had been addressed in a several weeks old public records request. And he refused to update the public on how much we gave Brandon Church for his personal expenses.

So much for allowing the public to know a damned thing about your money.

Entertaining though was Chairman Gates fixation on the time I sent them my email. With humor in his voice, he repeatedly cited the email was sent at 3:48am the previous day. It got a chuckle from a few other commissioners for some reason. When reading both questions, with the encouraging amusement of the others, he was proud to accentuate the early hour the emails were originated.

Apparently Commissioner has a certain degree of scorn for the working class and was proud to display that scorn in front of a well attended crowd of department employees and friends.

Good call, ignoring the fact that I was considerate enough to send my email early enough that should the commissioners chose to keep the public informed of use of taxes, he felt it more important to waste the opportunity and disrespect the public in the process.

On the bottom of every agenda it reads: We will respect each other and their opinions, and will hold each member to confront inappropriate behavior, or behavior that does not add value.

Unless, apparently, it can get a laugh at the expense of the public. Then we will embrace and encourage it.

No wonder no one else goes to these meetings.






In the past few months, the department has made access easier to the commissioners


On the official website they added email links. Since this is fairly new, for years the only way to reach your elected official was to send a message to the department as request forwarding, I wanted to share these links with you.


Getting an answer to a question asked during the public comment section of a commissioners meeting usually ends up with a ‘we’ll look into that and get back to you’ answer. Meaning you have to wait an entire month before they reply. At one time, Chairman Gates said the reason for having public comments at the beginning of the meeting was so they could address and answer them that very day. That has not worked out so well. And the public comment section has been lately shifted to make it even more unlikely a citizen will get a timely answer.


I am trying to get a timely answer to some questions. I tested each email this morning when I sent two questions to each commissioner. One was about the use of tax money for the training center and the other about the funds used for Brandon Church’s Department of Health investigation.


Submitting my queries two full business days ahead of the regular commissioners meeting should give ample time for the public to get an informed answer at the meeting, don’t you think?


We will see how the system works.


Meanwhile, do you have question?


Use the links below to contact them at their official department email address. If you get a response, please share it with me.


Ask Chairman Bill Gates a question

Ask Commissioner Jim Fossos a question

Ask Commissioner Mark Freitas a question

Ask Commissioner John Rickert a question

Ask Commissioner Mark Thompson a question

I am active in the arena of government accountability. In order to stay on the pulse and help keep the public informed, without compensation, I have attended every regular meeting and almost every Special meeting of the Board of Commissioners since October 2010.

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