Chief Brian Helmick, Chief of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD), has placed the safety of the community above self in an extraordinary act of courage. Chief Helmick has stepped forward and petitioned the ECCFPD to allow him to discuss consolidating ECCFPD with the Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ConFire). In my perspective, this is a wise course to follow. I have listened to Chief Helmick present the ECCFPD budget funding difficulties to provide Class AAA fire protection to East Contra Costa County residents. The best that can be said of the situation is ECCFPD is broken.

Chief Helmick has worked diligently to resolve budget shortages. The current chaos is not the cause of Chief Helmick, nor the ECCFPD elected board. The original fire protection design for ECCFPD was flawed, and we are now paying the price for the defect. The only repair would seem to be to join forces with ConFire. However, in doing so, Chief Helmick jeopardizes his position as a Chief, and yes, the ECCFPD fire board members will no longer hold an elected office. Such selfless acts are courageous and extraordinary in the arena of public service. My honor goes to Chief Helmick for his dedication to the safety of the public and also to the ECCFPD board for their selflessness in allowing him to pursue the consolidation path!!

   George Fuller, MPA, MA

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