BRENTWOOD -- The city is soliciting applications from those interested in serving on the East Contra Costa Fire District Board of Directors, but residents will have plenty of time to consider if they want the gig.
Leaders decided last week they want to keep at least one sitting City Council member -- and possibly two -- as part of its four representatives on the district's nine-member board, but wait to appoint any new members to the board until after the November election.
"We have some pretty seasoned veterans on this board. It's going to take some really good thought process because Brentwood's safety is at risk," Mayor Bob Taylor said.
East Contra Costa Fire became a locally governed agency in February 2010. Until now, its board members have been appointed either by the county or their respective city councils.
The long-range plan for the fire district was to have voters at large choose their representatives on the board.
But the process of converting to an elected board would cost about $300,000, a price tag the financially strapped fire district cannot afford.
Brentwood leaders said they wanted to be sure not to leave a fire board that could fail. Taylor started the discussion by saying he thought neighboring Oakley's methodology in replacing board directors was done in haste.
"I want us to proceed cautiously," Taylor said. "I don't wish to throw a new board member to the wolves."
Brentwood Vice Mayor Steve Barr suggested a similar split of two council members and two appointees. That number could increase to three based on the number of qualified candidates.
"We want to leave a little flexibility," Barr said. "There have been times where we've had two candidates for two commission positions. You never know with these things."
The city would re-evaluate the appointments in one year, he said.
Brentwood council members expressed hesitation in putting new board members in a position where they would be adopting the fire district's budget in September. Questions were also raised about making appointments right before possible changes to the council makeup, including the committee that would pick the appointees.
Councilman Bob Brockman pointed out if a sitting council member loses in the November election, hey would have time, as a member of the public, to apply for the fire board.
"If November would allow us to potentially have some more experienced candidates, then I think it would behoove us to wait," Councilman Joel Bryant said. "It's not that much longer, but it could have long-term negative repercussions if we do it before then." Council members up for re-election who sit on the fire board are Brentwood's Brockman and Erick Stonebarger and Oakley's Kevin Romick, Pat Anderson and Jim Frazier. Oakley leaders suggested Romick stay on the board.
The rest of the nine-member board is made up of two residents of unincorporated Bethel Island and Morgan Territory, both of whom were appointed by a county supervisor.
Staff writer Rowena Coetsee contributed to this story.