Union official promises lawsuit if fireboard adopts San Pasqual contract
June 12, 2013A person identifying himself as a Cal Fire union representative and who attended the Roach family's information meeting Saturday on the Valley Center Fire Protection District's proposal to switch from Cal Fire to San Pasqual Fire, told about 30 people at the meeting that CDF Firefighters, San Diego Chapter are prepared to sue the district in that event. Editor—See opinion piece by John Roach on A2.
The meeting, which occurred at the VC Community Center gazebo was held as sort of a counter to the workshop/seminar the fire district held five hours earlier in VC Community Hall. About 35 members of the community attended (see related story, A1).
One member of the fire board, Oliver Smith, attended, and told The Roadrunner that he was somewhat taken aback when a person who identified himself as a representative of the firefighters' association said that the local chapter plans to file suit.
According to the union's Facebook page, the fire district would be in violation of a 1998 assembly bill (AB 1514), which amended existing law that
authorized fire protection districts to enter into mutual aid agreements with any federal or state agency, any city, county, city and county, or special district—and extended that authorization to authorize fire protection districts to enter into mutual aid agreements with any federally recognized Indian tribe. Presumably since the bill does not mention fire districts contracting with Indian tribes, the union's position is that it is not allowed.
The Roadrunner Randy Scales, chapter director of CDF Firefighters (IAFF Local 2881), to clarify whether his union is planning on suing. He responded Tuesday night, "Mr. Ross, I am reluctant to even respond to your question because of your BIAS to organized labor and our 'AXE TO GRIND' against the board. I will take the high road and answer your question because we have nothing to hide. CDF Firefighters has asked Mr. Byrne to provide the opinion of the Board's attorney for the legal opinion that would allow the district to contract with the Reservation when a previous Assembly Bill 1514 prohibits such an agreement. Mr. Byrne and Mr. Bell have refused to provide any supporting documentation to us. CDF Firefighters is looking into all options and if it is found that a violation of Government code is being committed then an injunction to stop the contract could be filed. No such decision has been made to take any legal action as the law is still being researched by our attorney."