Opinion: Corruption at the Diamond Springs Firefighters Union
The Diamond Springs Firefighters Union is corrupt; meaning that the union has shown a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain. The union is driven by greed and other self-interests. They use vicious, unethical methods to try to achieve their goals. The union is not concerned about the well-being of the district or the people the district serves.
Like a spoiled child who doesn’t get his way, the Diamond Springs El Dorado Firefighters Union is having a tantrum. The vote of no confidence they gave their chief is a joke. It is an unfounded, unethical ploy the union is using to try to get their “candy.” I recently saw a firefighters’ union carry out a similar, vicious, ruthless character assignation on the EDC Fire Protection District Fire chief. The accusations were bogus. The union’s goals were completely selfish: to avoid cuts in salaries and benefits to the fighters that were clearly necessary.
In fact, the Diamond Springs fire chief is an excellent chief. On May 22, the Board of Directors of the Diamond Springs El Dorado Fire Protection District sent a letter to the union indicating their complete confidence in Chief Combs. I have known Chief Combs for 29 years. We worked together in 1985 on the paramedic medical committee. I was the county health officer; he was an excellent firefighter paramedic at the time. He continues now as a highly competent fire chief.
For example, when the housing boom busted and property tax revenues plummeted, all government entities in California were faced with severe fiscal problems. Chief Robert Combs developed and implemented very creative solutions to the fiscal shortfalls he faced. He successfully carried the district through these difficult times. A couple of years ago I approached Chief Combs to learn how he had managed the large revenue reductions which had occurred. He explained to me how he acted to keep the budget in balance without having to reduce salaries of existing staff or to cut staff. I was very impressed.
As long as things went the way the union wanted, the firefighters maintained good relations with Chief Combs. Until this farce of the vote of no confidence, there have never been any complaints against the chief. The firefighter paramedics had never questioned the chief’s competence. Only when they could not satisfy their greedy lusts for gain and immunity from strong leadership did the self-centered union viciously turn on the chief. Giving the chief a vote of no confidence is the first of the unfounded, corrupt tactics we will see the firefighters union engage in. It is a sham. It is disgraceful. It is an embarrassment to the people the fire district serves.
The fire district board should take actions to decertify this irresponsible and corrupt union.
CURT WEIDMER, MD
Former Member of the Board of Directors, El Dorado County Fire Protection District
Former County Health Officer and Director of Health Services, El Dorado County