The former chairman of the Bonny Doon fire board is working to set up meetings with the boards of the Davenport Volunteer Fire Rescue Team and the Bonny Doon Fire and Rescue Team “to discuss what they expect of the Fire Department Advisory Commission.”
After 7½ years on the Bonny Doon fire board, Scully has been appointed to the Santa Cruz County commission that advises county supervisors and the county’s fire chief about fire protection in unincorporated areas that fall outside existing fire protection districts.
Scully, a retired San Jose fire captain who lives in Bonny Doon, wasn’t nominated for re-election to the Bonny Doon board in May. Board members are nominated and elected by the volunteer firefighters.
He had been board president for the past four years and a prime mover in a campaign to establish an independent fire protection district.
His departure was due partly to his objection to the board’s filing a lawsuit against the countywide Local Agency Formation Commission, which had denied the community’s application to conduct an election to form the district.
“It was the right time for me to go,” said Scully, who argues that the lawsuit won’t lead to formation of a district and that the legal expenses will siphon funds that could be better used for other purposes.
Although Bonny Doon’s volunteer firefighters operate as an arm of the County Fire Department, they have chafed under county management, which falls to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection under a county contract.
Nevertheless, Scully repeatedly has said that a strong County Fire Department is an asset to Bonny Doon and not a hindrance to formation of the fire district.
County Supervisor Neal Coonerty, having heard Scully voice that sentiment, called to recruit him as the new appointee from Coonerty’s supervisorial district, which includes Bonny Doon.
Supervisors named Scully on June 23 to fill the seat held by Donita Springmeyer, who retains her seat on the Bonny Doon board along with Rebecca Stoller, Glen Haimovitz, Dennis Mason and new chairman Rob Caldeira, who also heads Friends of Bonny Doon Fire.
“County Fire is doing well but could do much better,” Scully said. “We ought to be looking at more complementary and collaborative ways of doing business. The five fire teams need to get along.”
Besides Bonny Doon and Davenport, County Fire volunteer teams operate in the Summit Road, Corralitos and Skyline Road areas.
The commission faces several near-term challenges, including the need to increase residents’ fire protection fees and increasing staffing from two firefighters per engine to three.