The Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District (SCFPD) Board of Directors held a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 9 that ultimately saw Michael Wapnowski selected as acting chief.
The session was attended by Director Steve Green (Waterford), Board Vice President Michelle Guzman (Riverbank), and Board President Susan Zanker. Director Dave Woods (Empire) was not in attendance. The fifth seat on the board is vacant.
Also included in the meeting was time for public comment, during which Riverbank resident Charles Neal offered comments about his concern regarding the SCFPD budget.
“I am very concerned about this Consolidated Fire Department and the way you guys have spent money,” stated Neal. “It looks like you got rid of a whole lot of money real fast. I think to go from almost 10 million dollars in reserves down to probably $650,000 in reserves in such a short length of time; it really has me concerned and I am sure it would have other people concerned.”
The meeting also saw the board approve the consent items, hear a construction update on Station 24 in Waterford, and included some director comments. A scheduled closed session had the item, ‘public employee appointment’ of the Acting Fire Chief on the agenda as well as ‘public employment’ involving the fire chief.
During the Director Comments prior to the closed session, President Zanker acknowledged the comments made by Neal regarding the budget and concurred that “the board is very concerned about the budget.” She had expressed that it is not their role during public comment to respond or take action on non-agendized items. Zanker stated that some of the projections and changes from an earlier budget session in May were cause for concern and said that everyone is invited to the next budget study session.
Action reported out of the closed session indicated the board voted 3-0 to appoint Deputy Chief Michael Wapnowski as the Acting Fire Chief. It was also reported that at the previous special meeting on Oct. 25, the board voted 3-1 with Director Green as the “no” vote to terminate the contract with Chief Rick Weigele. He was also given the option to resign prior to termination.