Well, you have to give them credit for one thing — they don’t give up. But although their previous “investigations” have been a stretch, this one takes the cake. This time they’re going to decide in all of their wisdom whether one member of an organization the county has nothing to do with has too many assignments, and, also, whether he makes too much money working overtime.

As for the first allegation (too many assignments) they have proof; they have sworn statements. And, as for the second, it turns out that administrative captain is the only member of the full-time staff, including the other captains, that has taken the trouble to qualify as a strike team leader, meaning every time another agency asks for help, he is the one who leads the strike team to the incident and directs their activities. These assignments can go on for days, and it’s all overtime, which is reimbursed, by the way. So, yes, he earns a lot of overtime.

Here’s the mysterious part of this current grand jury investigation. IFPD is an independent organization overseen by a board of commissioners elected by the citizens of our community. Other than abiding by many state laws that govern its activities, it is not beholden to anyone, and especially not the county.

For a county grand jury to undertake an investigation of an independent organization such as IFPD to decide whether, in their opinion, the organization is being run properly is a travesty.

And then there’s the third allegation having to do with our firefighters engaging in improper political activity. That was investigated by the department, and their attorney advised that there was no violation of law. But the grand jury knows better – on what basis I wonder?
But here’s the kicker. As a result of their first investigation (that I’m aware of) they required IFPD to meet with county fire/Cal Fire to discuss whether that agency should take over the fire protection duties within the district. When conducting that investigation the first thing the grand jury did was run to county fire to ask them what they thought, and I’ll bet they did the same thing this time. And that, my friends, is what this is all about — trying to make IFPD look bad in order to help pave the way for county fire to move in and take over, which ain’t gonna happen.

Ben Killingsworth