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Penn Valley Chief Responds To Critics

Some members of the Penn Valley community expressed concerns about Penn Valley Fire District Chief Gene Vander Plaats at the District meeting Tuesday night. Vocal residents made statements attacking Vander Plaats credentials and an apparent reduction of volunteer fire fighters in the district during the chief’s tenure. Chief Vander Plaats says that the concerns expressed about his credentials are unfounded. Vander Plaats was a chief for 16 years in Ripon CA before coming to Penn Valley.
Click here to listen to Chief Gene Vander Plaats

A community speaker also stated that the number of volunteer fire fighters has dwindled from the 20 that worked with the district prior to Vander Plaats arrival. The Chief says that information is taken out of context.*
Click here to listen to Chief Gene Vander Plaats

Vander Plaats said that of the 15-20 names on the Paid Call Firefighters list many were not active, some moved away from the area or left for other reasons so the list was whittled down. Chief Vander Plaats also says that the district has a relationship with the Fire Academy at Yuba College and has interns that work for the district while completing hours for Fire Fighter 1 certification. Applications for open Intern and Fire Fighter positions are posted on the District Fire District web site.
The District Board listened to the complaints from the public about the chief and the board itself. Vander Plaats believes the Board continues to support him in his role as Chief.

1 Comment

October 5, 2013

Lisa LaBarbera

As the former HR Administrator of NCCFD, I agree with Chief Vander Platts regarding the paid call firefighter rosters. At NCCFD, there were at least 20 names and an average on 4-5 consistent responders...mainly during the fair. If Mr. Gassaway has all his volunteer certs and training completed, then why doesn't he just go ahead and respond to emergency calls?

But what does not pass the "truth test" here is where is the the Penn Valley Local 3800 firefighter union in this? Why haven't they issued a letter or a voice of support for their Fire Chief? Could the PV Local 3800, with the help of the Local 3800 FF Union President actually be behind this? Attacking the Fire Chief's credentials is certainly something as lowly as the Local 3800 is known for doing.

But after the NCCFD 2013 Grand Jury Report, the Local 3800 have been trying to stay out of the spotlight. My guess is they have put these "volunteers" up to making these false claims.

I can guarantee you, if this "group" stays silent and unsupportive of their Fire Chief, then they are behind this attack on one of the finest, most professional Fire Chief's in Nevada County.

I can certainly tell you that during the my employ with NCCFD, I heard over and over that after the Local 3800 "took out" the NCCFD Fire Chief, that next on their list was the PVFPD Fire Chief, and then the Higgins FPD Fire Chief.

I am happy to see the PVFPD Board standing up for their Fire Chief, unlike NCCFD's Board for it's Fire Chief, past and present. Please don't let that tail start wagging the dog...it's a slippery slope.

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