Fire Board delays setting recall election date

Five days toward a fourteen day deadline, the Board of Directors of the Coastside Fire Protection District delayed making a decision of when to hold the recall election for board majority members Mike Alifano, Doug Macintosh, and Gary Riddell.

County law requires that upon certification of a recall the board must select a date in a widow running from 88 days to 125 days from the date of the decision to set a date. One quirk in the law states that if a regular election day occurs in that window then the board must choose the regular election day. The intent is to reduce overall election costs by holding a many elections as possible on the same day although, according to Alifano, no other elections are currently scheduled for that date.

If the board had made a decision at its Monday meeting then March 5th, a regular election day, would have been the date of the recall.

The Board plans to meet again to set a date on Wednesday, December 12th, which would place the March 5th regular election day outside of the permissible recall date window, allowing the board the flexibility to choose a date ranging from mid-March of 2013 to April.

Both Directors Gary Burke and Ginny McShane expressed a preference for the March 5th date. Neither director is facing a recall.

Director Mike Alifano expressed strong misgivings about choosing the March 5th date stating that it would curtail the time he and the other members of the board majority would need to mount a vigorous counter-challenge to the recall effort. He expressed a preference for a date as late as possible, in April.

Director Gary Riddell voiced concern about waiting so long to hold the election, pointing out that the Board would be constrained until then in its decision-making for moving toward a standalone department. Riddell pointed out that to delay the decision might result in “shooting ourselves in the foot” in that if the recall were defeated there might not be enough time to move future employees through the fire academy and have them ready in time. Riddell said he would not support a date past March 12, 2013.

Director Doug Macintosh said that he was flexible and would be happy with either Alifano’s date or Riddell’s date.

If the board fails to come to a decision before the fourteen day deadline the county, within five days after the passing of the deadline, will make their own choice for the recall election date.

The two and a half minute video below, from the December 3rd meeting, was edited from the full forty-five minute meeting video available here.

Comments are closed.