East County News Service
January 24, 2017 (Spring Valley) – San Miguel Fire District’s board meets Wednesday, January 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the District’s board room (2850 Via Orange way in Spring Valley). The hot agenda item is a proposal to shift dispatch services from CAL FIRE to Heartland Communications, by joining Heartland’s Joint Powers Agremeent along with the cities of El Cajon, Lemon Grove, La Mesa and Santee as well as fire districts in Alpine and Lakeside.
Patrick Walker, Deputy District Vice President for CAL FIRE’s union local 2881, says this would cost over $800,000. “CAL FIRE Firefighters Local #2881 opposes this move,” says Walker, adding that “the agreement is $250,000 more than the cost of CAL FIRE dispatching.” He faults the board, stating, “Once again, no study was done and they refused to obtain a free quote, not just from CAL FIRE, but other agencies as well.”
The board, prior to the November election, voted to undo a partnership with CAL FIRE and return the district to local control as a free-standing district. San Miguel partnered with Cal Fire initially when the district was facing a budget shortfall during the recession. But Walker slammed current board members backed by former San Miguel Firefighters union members, as being “irresponsible” and influenced by special interests.