The search to lead the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District ended when the district’s board voted 4-0 and announced the appointment of its new fire chief, Randall Bradley, at its April 10 meeting. He will be paid $157,000 per year to lead the department.
“This is an exciting time for the fire district and its partners as the discussions regarding increased regionalization have continued to gain momentum,” Board President Dave Woods said from a written statement at the meeting.
Bradley had been the fire chief for the Modesto Regional Fire Authority since July 2012, but came into a political spotlight at the start of this year when he ran into friction with those on the board who backed another candidate for the position.
A series of closed door sessions were held in January and February by the MRFA board that eventually backed the community and employee-supported chief, despite asking for his resignation earlier.
Bradley, 51, a 34-year veteran of firefighting, has extensive experience in fire administration, coming to Modesto after four years as chief of the Moraga-Orinda Fire District in Contra Costa County. He also was chief of the Lawrence Livermore Fire Department for six years and deputy chief of the Alameda County Fire Department for two years.
“I’m excited to be here and look forward to making a difference,” said Bradley on his first day, Thursday, April 17. “This organization is very similar to Moraga-Orinda by geographic size and personnel. It looks like it will be a good fit.”
Stanislaus Consolidated currently has a staff of 54 full-time employees but also provides management and command for the City of Oakdale and Oakdale Rural Fire Protection District employees. Talks are currently under way with Oakdale Rural for merger and the City of Oakdale for contract services with the absorption of its personnel.
Bradley said he had been well briefed on the merger-contracting talks and planned on working toward forming a long-term relationship with those organizations.
Bradley confirmed source reports that he was recruited to come to Stanislaus Consolidated.
In January this year, the district was taking a close look at former Fresno Fire Chief Rob Brown to take the helm. Brown, however, had difficulties at Fresno due to a domestic violence incident where he later pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges of domestic battery and criminal threats.
At that same time, Bradley’s battle with MRFA board became publicized and Stanislaus Fire District officials came calling.
“The whole organization is excited by it,” said Deputy Chief Michael Wapnowski about Bradley’s appointment. “I’m sure his education and experience will be a good fit for the district. I look forward to working with him.”
The district has been without a permanent chief since Steve Mayotte was placed on paid administrative leave more than a year ago in February, 2013. Mayotte retired in December after disciplinary action in May 2013 that saw him demoted to the rank of battalion chief after a 60-day suspension and ordered to spend the last months on administrative leave until his retirement date.