Riverbank Mayor Richard O’Brien stepped down from the dais recently and passed the gavel to Vice Mayor Darlene Barber Martinez so that the City Council could select a Riverbank Representative for the Stanislaus County Fire Protection District (SCFPD) Board of Directors at the final city council meeting of the 2019 calendar year. O’Brien was among the candidates and so had to step down and not participate in the voting process.
After public interviews the decision by the City Council was to select Chad Homme as the new Riverbank representative for a four-year term beginning this month and continuing through December 2023.
City Clerk Annabelle Aguilar explained the process and posted a notice of the vacancy in October for those that were interested in representing Riverbank on the Fire Board.
The only two applicants were Homme and Mayor O’Brien, and there was some initial concern that might constitute a conflict for the mayor since he currently holds a public office. However, with the opinion issued by the State Attorney General’s office, the Mayor was able to apply and they concluded that he could simultaneously hold both offices if that is what the city council chose.
Aguilar mentioned that the Doctrine of Incompatible Offices prohibits a person from concurrently holding two public offices if the performance of the duties of either office could have a significant adverse effect on the other.
Responsibilities of the fire board representative will include strategic leadership, policy, direction, and fiscal oversight of the SCFPD. They will report to the council on a regular basis to provide updates on the fire board’s business and actions.
Since there were only two applicants Aguilar also gave the council an option to conduct another recruitment after the holidays to solicit more applicants. The council, however, opted to choose Homme as their representative so no additional recruitment was necessary.
During the public interviews the candidates had three minutes to present their qualifications, education and interest to serve as the Riverbank representative. Each council member was allowed to ask the candidates two questions. They asked the candidates questions like, if they understood the role of the board representative, steps to obtain financial stability, how familiar they are with the issues at SCFPD, and the top three concerns facing the fire district.
Homme has been a Riverbank resident since 2006 and has served public agencies for 23 years. He currently holds the position of Stanislaus County Fire Communications Coordinator for the fire warden’s office that he has been at since 2007.
“We are happy to call Riverbank our home,” stated Homme during the interview process. “I serve all the fire agencies within the county for their communication needs. I previously applied for this position in 2012. Ms. Guzman was chosen at that time. I think she served as a great ambassador for the City of Riverbank.”
He expressed that he was aware of the fire struggles and that the residents of the City of Riverbank would be the top priority and to maintain services to Riverbank.
After the interviews City Councilmember Cindy Fosi nominated Homme to represent Riverbank on the SCFPD Board of Directors and in a final roll call vote to approve the appointment the vote passed 4 to 0.
Homme will be confirmed as the Riverbank Representative at the first fire board meeting of the year which is slated for Thursday, Jan. 16.