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MOFD Board Votes 3-2 To Seek Bids For New Station

New Moraga-Orinda Fire District directors vote no in move to construct station on Via Las Cruces, Orinda.

The board of directors of the Moraga-Orinda Fire District voted 3-2 Thursday night to issue a package for general contractors to bid on building a new Station 43.

Twill be on Via Las Cruces, Orinda, near St. Stephens Drive.

Voting no were two new directors who were sworn in earlier in the evening: Stephen Anderson and Alex Evans. Evans said he would like to have more information and better understand the district's long-range financial planning before a decision on going to bid for Station 43.

MOFD Chief Randy Bradley said, "We do have the money to do that over time." Bradley said he was reluctant to put it off very far because the cost will increase as the economy recovers and contractors are not as "hungry" in making competitive bids as during the depths of the recession.

The board passed a resolution based on a staff recommendation for bidding to close Feb. 6.

The new station is expected to be busy in part with mutual aid in the area covered by

During the meeting, the board reorganized and elected Frank Sperling president, succeeding Fred Weil, who remains a board member.

Chris Nicholson December 14, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Odd that new guys voted no to even seeking bids. I assume that they sense that the decision to continue with the project is essentially pre-wired. Given the history, it would have been nice if the existing board members would show some deference to the new guys and not push this through over their objections...
Steve Cohn December 14, 2012 at 09:33 PM
No, I think the fact is that the new guys understand the District's financial situation better than the three guys who got them there. Remember, the two guys who resigned last February were the only two who voted not to buy a $2 million office building as a new administrative headquarter while the other three went ahead, committed to it, and then had to walk on a $25,000 deposit. Since that time their underfunded pension liabilities have increased $6 million from $18 million to $24 million and that does not include the impact of an over-valuation of pension assets of $7 million (in other words their pension is actually $31 million underfunded). To pay down this $31 million underfunding, the pension administrator (CCCERA) will be charging them over $3 million per year for the next 18 years including interest at 7.75%. That adds up to almost $60 million in payments just to cover the current underfunding. In their recently released 15 year long range financial plan they have a line item to pay this underfunding down over those 15 years. It stands at under $2 million for ten years and totals just over $30 million. They have woefully underestimated how deeply under water they are. Also, this year their operating budget is $800,000 in the red. I believe that we may have two MOFD Directors who, on their first night in office, have shown that they have a better grasp of the situation than their co-Directors who have been in office for years.
Lamorindan December 15, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Incredible. They are in deep financial trouble, yet the "old guard" keeps on spending and has no clue as to their long range finances. They only have to look next door at the County problem! Certainly Sperling does not help.
Larry December 15, 2012 at 04:06 PM
I'm new here so pardon my naiveté, but why doesn't the board ask the ex-Chief we are paying $240k/year and some of the other well compensated "retirees" to come build the station?
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop December 15, 2012 at 07:30 PM
CN, The die is cast. Bradley has Directors Frank Sperling, Fred Weil, and John Wyro in his pocket. We were warned against hiring Bradley, whose skills at 'empire building' were honed in the Alameda County system and at Lawrence Livermore Lab. He was not in Operations (as in actual firefighting), but in Administration Services and Finance where success was measured in "increased funding" regardless of actual need. Statistically, this 'district' has manpower levels at 300% of the Contra Costa Fire District. The paucity of actual 'structure fires' is embarrassingly low and according to the facts revealed in the Orinda Citizens Emergency Services Task Force report (http://orindataskforce.org/), we essentially operate an extremely expensive ambulance service. There is no doubt that our towns require Emergency Medical Services. It does not require that they be tied to the Fire Department (that sends irrelevant fire trucks and personnel to each medical emergency). The Orinda Citizens Emergency Services Task Force Report is a 'must read' for taxpayers in Moraga/Orinda.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop December 16, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Isn't it time, considering this latest assault on reason, to consider removing the three incumbent board members and begin anew. It is apparent that the board has lost its tether with the realistic needs of these two small, semi-rural towns. To whom do the board members report? Are they an autonomous entity that can squander millions in tax dollars on Chief Bradley's "Kingdom" with out the benefit of a critical eye? It is time this population loses the blinders and confronts this financial juggernaut. As is, we will be bailing it out in the not too distant future by the addition of another "TAX". This firehouse should not be built. Period. And the MOFD needs a complete overhaul, if not dissolution.
Steve Cohn December 17, 2012 at 04:35 AM
I know that I am one the the District's main critics on a number of fronts so my comments probably are like water off a duck's back, but it is disturbing that the first relatively significant vote this newly reconstituted board takes is again, 3 to 2. While the vote was not to spend any money, but just to find out how much money it will take to actually build Station 43, if 40% of the Board is against even taking that small step, you would think the other members would defer to those concerns until they could examine the dissenters reasons for dissent and possibly get a larger majority or even consensus vote. Instead it is a "my way or the highway" form of leadership. MOFD is set up with Directors representing specific divisions, not representatives-at-large, so it should be noted that the Director representing the division that Station 43 is in was one of the no votes. Shouldn't that carry some extra weight? This takes me back to the vote that the resigning Directors made back in February at their last meeting and that was 2 votes to not renew the Chief's contract. What board moves forward on a selection of a CEO with a 40% vote of no confidence without some serious further discussion? Agreed it was not possible since the no voters resigned but it makes one wonder. I am not sure there is anything the community can do about this other than comment on it. It is the Board itself that needs to think about how it is operating.

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