Gilroy's interim fire chief has resigned after he was caught buying booze for an underage decoy during a sting by Santa Cruz County authorities over the weekend, according to city and police officials.
Roger Bloom, 52, a Fremont resident, was cited Friday night in Live Oak after he agreed to purchase alcohol for a 20-year-old man working undercover for the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, said Deputy April Skalland, the agency's spokeswoman.
Bloom handed in his resignation Monday, and it was accepted, said Gilroy City Administrator Tom Haglund. Bloom was installed as the inteim chief last month following the retirement of Dale Foster.
Haglund lauded Bloom's background -- citing a "stellar" 25-year track record and his high regard in the firefighting community -- before expressing dismay at the allegations leveled against him. A plan for choosing Bloom's successor was being formulated Monday afternoon.
"I personally and professionally am deeply disappointed in this turn of events," Haglund said. "That is inconsistent with being fire chief for the city of Gilroy, inconsistent with being a department head for the city of Gilroy."
Gilroy human resources director LeeAnn McPhillips said Bloom tendered his resignation after apologizing to Gilroy city officials on Monday morning. He had taken over as interim chief on Aug. 17.
"He was very sorry, very remorseful and very disappointed in himself," McPhillips said.
Bloom was caught in an operation conducted by the Sheriff's Office, Santa Cruz police, and the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Skalland said.
About 8:30 p.m., the decoy asked Bloom to buy him beer outside Pleasure Point Liquor and Grocery at 4000 Portola Drive, Skalland said. Bloom declined the decoy's money, but bought him beer with his own money and gave it to him, she said.
The offense is a misdemeanor. Skalland said her agency intermittently performs the stings to combat what she called a higher prevalence of juvenile drinking in Santa Cruz County compared with nearby counties. She cited the area's laid-back, beach-going personality as a major element that attracts underage drinkers.
"We have more kids coming here and having parties here," Skalland said.
Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter Stephen Baxter contributed to this report. Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.