In an emotionally charged room filled to its brim Chester turned out with strong words for the Chester Public Utility district over its temporary shutdown of the Chester Fire Department and the firing of their Chief.
Here’s what you need to know what happened and what will be happening. CPUD received the notice that the fire department will be dropped by their insurance based on the fire departments loss history. This includes liability claims already paid out and one currently still in litigation. It was determined the department was too risky and in November the insurance was dropped. Current General Manager Adam Cox, a non local assumed his role 3 weeks ago as the interim GM after Alan Homme Stepped down in December. He was brought in to serve the board while they seek to hire a new GM. Cox learned of the loss of insurance this past Thursday. After notice NorCal EMS also dropped their ambulance contract with Chester because they could not operate under the loss of coverage. In this time is when Cox fired Fire cheif Lane, and for protection of Chief Lane’s privacy the board and legal counsel said the reasons cannot be disclosed. What will be happening is today an investigation starts by a private investigator who has no contact with the CPUD board and will confer with counsel. Their purpose is to find where the lapse in coverage originated from and who is responsible.
GM Cox is also assuring CPUD is actively searching for replacement insurance that will come at a much higher price of around 120 to 200 thousand annually until the board can rectify the fire departments liability claims and take the appropriate steps to regain their prior coverage at a lower cost. The consequences the people of Chester face is the potential to lose their insurance as the towns ISO rating will increase from its current 3 status in which insurers will likely not tolerate. Additionally response to fire is coming from Westwood CalFire and medical provided by surrounding districts of West Alamnor and Penninsula Fire. Enloe Hospital has also provided an ambulance to Chester.
What is clear is that the board and CPUD’s operations team clearly has undefined policy and procedures that has led to a loss of transparency and complete disorganization that is in dire need of being rectified.