HAPPY VALLEY — Deepening integration talks with nearby fire departments, the Branciforte Fire Protection District is looking to fill one, if not two, board vacancies.
Board member Dick Landon resigned last month from the five-member volunteer committee with two years left in his term. The move comes amid controversial months of debate over the future of the district, which employs a small instructional staff but relies primarily on a volunteer fire brigade. Financially strapped after years of outsourcing jobs to the Scotts Valley Fire Protection District, leaders of the Branciforte Fire Department made serious efforts last year to plan a more permanent reorganization with a larger toll division. It was started.
Manager Pete Vanellas, who was first elected in 2006, described Monday’s departure from the Sentinels as a forced resignation. Landon, who was first appointed to the board in 2013, told Sentinel that he resigned on November 7 in protest of Baneras’ resignation, saying it “may have been a little too early.”
Chairman of the Board Pat O’Connell announced the resignations of Landon and Baneras at the beginning of the November 17 board meeting and thanked them for their years of service. In particular, O’Connell noted Vanelles’ chairmanship of the board and praised him for “working hard during difficult times.”
When asked for comment on Monday, O’Connell said he was reluctant to provide details. The actual number of vacancies on the board remained undetermined this week, as Landon submitted a formal resignation to the board, while Vanells only verbally resigned. said he expected Vannerus to resign.
“The number one reason is what[Mr O’Connell]said. Legal said I don’t live in the area.”
Santa Cruz County Clerk Tricia Webber confirmed to Sentinel that Vannerus is registered to vote and has been registered to vote within the Branciforte Fire Protection District for some time. But Weber said that as county election chief, beyond making sure candidates signed their names under penalty of perjury, her role doesn’t specifically involve investigation or enforcement. She said she usually recommends referring officials back to her legal department for such matters.
“According to election law, voters are the ones who decide where they live,” Webber said. “There are definitely non-traditional places of residence, such as crossroads. We also allow people to register to vote on .We do not question that.”
Definition of “Domicile”
While he owned a home in Monterey, Vannerus said his family business, Santa Vita RV Park, had an address (1611 Branciforte Dr. of his vote). It comes after publicly revealing that it was the second-highest rate payer in the district’s 2016 Action T benefits assessment.
“The district is having problems with that now,” Vannerus said.
As consolidation talks continue between the Branciforte and Scotts Valley Fire Districts, the remaining major decision points are narrowed down to the future of Branciforte Fire’s 2711 Branciforte Drive Station. In October, Branciforte Fire’s board of directors voted to hire a consulting firm to conduct a profit valuation study. This is the process by which individual Happy Valley property owners will need to tax themselves at what rate in order to maintain the fire department after district consolidation. Vannerus said he tried to pull himself out of the benefit assessment district ballot because he was perceived as conflicted, but when he was told he needed to vote. , he opposed the investigation.
Vannerus, along with board newcomer Fareed Rayyis, was due to run unopposed in the November general election and begin his final four-year term this month. The board expects to fill Landon and/or Vanellas’ positions with appointments until the 2023 general election, district officials said. We are looking for applications. Information about this position, which requires applicants to reside within the school district, is available online at branciforte-fire.com.
“This is a really important period in the district’s history,” said O’Connell. “We are going through the process and hopefully we have people who are familiar with what we have been doing and what we are going through. We want to attract the best talent in our district.”