Residents Angry Over San Miguel Fire's Proposed Move to Cal Fire

The board votes 4-3 to enter into negotiations with Cal Fire to contract out certain essential services.

Close to 200 East County residents packed the student center at Cuyamaca College on Wednesday to voice their frustration over the contracting out services to state agency Cal Fire.

Despite the vehement contentiousness of the crowd, the board voted 4-3 to enter into negotiations with Cal Fire.

In January, San Miguel sent out an RFP to contract out services to any agency that responded with a submission. Only Cal Fire did so.

San Miguel Fire Chief Augie Ghio that the RFP was sent out because the fire district, which serves 150,000 people in Spring Valley, Rancho San Diego, Jamul, Crest and parts of unincorporated La Mesa and El Cajon, "wanted to investigate a better way to do business."

In an article by U-T San Diego about the Wednesday meeting, board member Chris Winter said: “The bottom line is we have a fiscal problem. We have to stop kicking the can. We have to fix this and fix it now.”

Winter cast the final deciding vote, with the board deadlocked at 3-3, according to the paper.

San Miguel is facing a $1.3 million budget defecit this year, its third defecit of more than a million dollars in the last few years. Board members told the crowd that going with Cal Fire could potentially put an estimated $3.2 million back into district coffers, this despite an estimated $1.2 million annual administration fee that Cal Fire would charge to operate the district.


Justin Case May 02, 2012 at 12:08 AM
ROBERT PERRY.... REALLY?? You know all 200 of those people and where they live or are you just trying to suggest your own agenda? You say, "The community doesn't really care who shows up to their house when they call 911"... OMG.. You speak as though you know what your talking about when clearly this must have been your first San Miguel board meeting.
Justin Case May 02, 2012 at 12:09 AM
C'mon BATMAN.... The Firefighters Union is not the problem. They are hated by the Fire Board because they have been very vocal about the Chief and the Board's over spending on non-essential items. The Firefighters Union members have taken tremendous pay and benefit cuts to save the department only to see the savings from their cuts spent on a raise for the Chief, life time medical benefits given out to the Chiefs part-time spokes model (which happens to be his next door neighbor). The board voted to give themselves medical benefits, including lifetime medical for one of them, and they only meet 2 to 3 hours a month for board meetings. When pushed by the community to reduce the size of the board to save district funds, the board voted to save themselves and remain the largest in California. Why does such a small fire district have the highest paid Chief and the largest most highly paid board in California? The Firefighters wanted to know, the community wanted to know, and now the board is making them pay. Yet, with all this abuse to our community and the Firefighters who stood up for them, now the uneducated are saying "the Union Has given back nothing". Hold the leadership accountable for driving this Fire district into oblivion!! You should be ashamed !!
Kevin George May 02, 2012 at 04:43 PM
That is all very interesting and enlightening information Justin. I have been trying to figure out the Maurice Luque fiasco and how it came about. I think you just explained it. Unbelievable.
Gunther Schwartz May 04, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Maurice Luque does not work for the San Miguel Fire District. He works for San Diego City Fire. Leonard Villarreal works for San Miguel Fire District......
Big Red Driver May 05, 2012 at 04:43 AM
The only thing that has changed in the past 5 years is the Chief. He is the only constant and his philosophy on spending is what is wrong with San Miguel. By closing engine 15 3 1/2 years ago the district saved aprox. 1.5 million dollars per year. He continues to spend in areas like the shop whos budget has doubled in the past 4 years even though we have less fire apparatus. The Administration Chief continues to build a structural deficit at an alarming rate every month yet continues to drive a district vehicle home 146 miles round trip to Murrieta, CA. After the Chief Put the District into a fiscal crsis he continues to fly first class around the state on his junkets at District expense.


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