Oct 22, 2010
I am not personally involved in the recall efforts against commissioners Rudebaugh and Fish,however, I was a direct witness to their behaviors (both public and behind closed doors) and completely support and understand why the petitioners want them removed from office.
Rudebaugh and Fish are currently circulating a flyer that falsely states that “the only real reason the petitioners want a recall is because of a strong personal attachment to the former fire chief,a desire to have the former management structure returned, and a $500,000 permanent levy” on the citizens." These claims are false and simply represent more of the scare tactics these two men used to get elected in the first place. It is a well known fact that I am not returning and there are no plans for a levy or the return of the previous management structure.
The fire district is in very poor shape both in terms of equipment and personnel, and its future should be seriously discussed and decided by the citizens, in the form of town hall meetings supported by a community survey, which was the original plan crafted on December 16, 2009 in a work session of the entire board, including these two new commissioners. That meeting gave me unanimous direction to send out a newsletter and survey, to schedule town halls, and proceed with the commissioner supported plan to test public support for some form of levy to address the problems posed by a dilapidated fleet of vehicles. However the newsletter was halted by these two commissioners one day before it was to be mailed.
The August 2010 Timberlake Fire newsletter stated “In mid February, the chief acting on his own without Board approval, removed many pieces of equipment from service.” The board was informed that removing the apparatus was an option one week prior, and none of them objected. In fact, Rudebaugh gave specific direction to do it. Soon after that happened, he put a gag order in place, and then violated his own gag order by leaking information to a friend who called the press, and then acted surprised and strongly objected when the information appeared in the paper. I couldn’t believe it.
I would also like to confirm statements that the management contract was my idea. In March, I researched this as an option and discussed it with other chiefs since I was privately considering another employment opportunity and wanted to ensure that the district would have continuity of professional management in the interim. I brought up the idea of a “management contract” to the commissioners as one of several “short term” alternatives to help the district survive within its current funding, even though the district's long term problems would not be fixed unless we either decreased service or increased funding.
It was understood by all that this was one of several alternatives, and that what was needed was for the board of commissioners to discuss all options in a public forum and obtain feedback to gauge which options the public would support. Unfortunately, commissioners Rudebaugh,Fish and outgoing commissioner Quillin chose instead to move forward with a management contract by acting behind closed doors. All of the planning and options were supposed to be transparent and open, but it was not. It was very dirty politics and it upset a lot of people. In closing, I would just like to thank the citizens of the Timberlake Fire Protection District for two
wonderful years in which it was my honor to serve as your fire chief.
Former Fire Chief, Timberlake Fire Protection District