One incumbent and two newcomers were elected to the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District's Board of Directors Tuesday night, in an election where family ties to unions were quite apparent.
Three of the five candidates have family ties to the firefighters union, which is currently in negotiations for a new contract. Danville resident and Alameda County Fire Captain Gordon Dakin, who won the first of three seats with 31.6 percent of the vote, is cousin to a member of the union's executive board. The other winners, incumbent Matt Stamey (25.43 percent) and San Ramon resident H. Jay Kerr (21.99 percent) are not involved in union dealings.
"Family ties were a big factor in this election and the voting public figured out there was a conflict of interest and their vote reflected a dissatisfaction with those families," said Stamey, a retired general manager of a Fortune 500 corporation.
Adding another level of complications, reports said, is that the Board of Directors is in negotiations with the union and that the district has been using reserves to balance its budget, with salaries and pensions making up the largest portion.
Stamey's goals for the fire district include "a balanced budget, no parcel taxes, and a policy of fiscal responsibility." He said in his statement that he wants to maintain public safety "while keeping retirement costs at a sustainable level."
"I feel really relieved that the election is over, happy that I got the vote of our taxpayers to continue to support the district," he said.
Kerr's position paper filed with Smart Voter stated he is committed to maintaining services while balancing the budget without raising taxes, presumably by holding the line on pay increases for firefighters.
Dakin could not be reached for comment.
The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District employs 190 people and maintains 10 fire stations, although one of the is staffed by volunteers. It provides fire, rescue and emergency medical services in Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville, Diablo, San Ramon, the Tassajara Valley and part of the Morgan Territory.