“Vindication” or Has Anybody Checked the Vin #?
Maybe some of you recall the Sentinel Headline of June 29, 2011 and story by reporter Donna Jones:
“Watsonville fire chief vindicated as new fire truck arrives: Delay of used aerial ladder truck sparked criticism”
At last week’s city council meeting (03/13/2012) Fire Department Battalion Chief Bob Martin Del Campo said that the 1999 aerial ladder truck was once again undergoing repairs and would possibly be ready to go into service in two weeks which would be at the end of this month.
The “truck will be repaired at the end of the month” strategy, which has been used since last June (9 months ago) when the Sentinel in essence vindicated Fire Chief Mark Bisbee, ironically is beginning to show some transparency. The end of the month anticipated date for completion of repairs basically buys more time and gives the illusion that, for example, the truck will be running this month. What month and what year?
But, I do have to say I empathize with Battalion Chief Del Campo because he is being left to answer questions while Chief Bisbee has been a no show at city council meetings. But, then maybe Chief Bisbee has decided that he has misled the city council long enough already.
Next month on April 20th it will be 4 years since we issued the $225,000.00 check for the fire truck to Fire Trucks Plus and still the fire truck is not in service. And as some of you know the truck was AWOL for almost 3 years questioning the whereabouts of the money for that time.
Last week fireman and union representative Corey Schaefer wrote an email to Mayor Eduardo Montesino regarding the safety of the fire truck (# 4471) In portion Mr. Schaefer wrote to our mayor: “Beside from what you may have heard, every time the firefighters attempt to test, drive or operate this truck, they find another thing broken. To date: there are still things drastically wrong with this truck.”
I had written to Mayor Montesino that a serious safety issue existed with the fire truck and the mayor responded that I was making it a political issue. As you can well imagine I took exception to our mayor’s statement because something as serious as safety should not be compromised by politics.
What is wrong with the fire truck? From what I gather the crux of the problem is that the electrical wiring is basically a bird’s nest. I am of the opinion that the reason an electrical schematic has not been found for the fire truck is because one does not exist for the changes made either to the wiring or for the generator which some sources believe was swapped before we received the truck. If the generator was swapped it will be a costly endeavor to replace it along with replacing/repairing the wiring.
The city paid $117,000.00 to have the truck refurbished yet we never have received a list of costs for labor and materials for this money. Why?
The city has paid both KME (the manufacturer) and Burton’s of Modesto to inspect the truck and attempt to repair it and both times the issue of the electrical schematic not being available has been the preventing factor to the truck being repaired. Now we are having our in-house mechanic attempt to fix the electrical problem? Why?
Fireman and union representative Corey Schaefer has asked Fire Chief Mark Bisbee, in writing, for an independent safety inspection of the fire truck. He has not received a response. Why?
Almost a month ago I asked our city manager how much this fire truck has cost taxpayers to date. No response. Why?
Some may think that I have beaten the fire truck issue like a Grand Canyon rented mule. Maybe, although this is not just about a fire truck but rather more about how our city is being managed, or mismanaged. And, is the fire truck fiasco an isolated incident or just one of many that has yet to be uncovered?
Another fact that should not be disregarded is how our city manager and members of his staff retaliated when I dared to question how yours and my tax dollars were/are being spent. They made it pretty clear that if you whistle blow expect to be punished.