It is a crying shame that the city of San Bernardino will have to sue Cal Fire, a state fire agency just to get a proposal from them for the cost to provide services to the city. As most people know the city of San Bernardino is in Chapter 9 bankruptcy and needs to evaluate every cost to show the bankruptcy judge due diligence in reducing city costs while delivering the services its taxpayers need and can pay for. Well Cal Fire has decided to not honor a request from the city to at least offer what it would cost to provide services to a city the size of San Bernardino.
I might see why Cal Fire does not want to do the services but they have contracts all over the state with other cities and county governments.
In my opinion, there seems to be a verbal brotherhood agreement between firefighters to not want to do anything that might lead to cost cutting or the city removing the current fire department employees and their high salaries and benefits packages.
I am an old union member and had the opportunity to work in human resources for over thirty years and know this is a strategy used by some employee groups. There is nothing wrong with it but in this case, it is one government agency seeking help from another government agency at the expense of the same taxpayers who are footing the bill.
One of the services every government agency must provide is public safety (police and fire) along with other services expected by citizens. And if the city were to go entirely bankrupt, Cal Fire would have to provide the services anyway as a state agency.
By Cal fire not being willing to provide a quote, I decided to research Cal Fire’s diversity programs and staff. From the pictures posted on its website it is not a public agency that has many or any African Americans or Latinos on staff or board. They have as one of their missions to outreach in urban communities to educate and recruit from underserved areas. So why would they not jump at the chance to take on the City of San Bernardino where over 70 percent of the population is made up of Latinos, Blacks, Asians, and Native Americans?
If Cal Fire and the firefighters association would stop playing politics with the city then the citizens might start changing their opinions of public safety employee associations. When we think of people who work as firefighters we think of service and dedication to their community. However in San Bernardino that opinion is changing each and every day. I know the voters who voted decided not to repeal Section 186 of the city charter but that came about from a lack of leadership to educate the voters on the issue.
However on this issue, for Cal Fire as a state agency to not provide a proposal is wrong and will further impact the citizens of San Bernardino. The bankruptcy judge or state elected officials should force Cal Fire to live up to its obligation of providing a bid.