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Enough signatures gathered for fire district recall vote

Two board members with the Russian River Fire Protection District will face a recall election, Sonoma County Registrar of Voters officials said Monday.

Proponents of ousting Kevin O’Shea and Linda Payne, who have both served on the board since 2000, gathered enough valid signatures to hold the election, 870 to recall O’Shea and 853 for Payne, registrar officials said. They needed at least 813 each.

russianriverfireThe recall bid against O’Shea, a former fire chief, and Payne began amid community outrage over the firing of the chief the district shares with the Forestville Fire Protection District.

Even though Chief Max Ming has since been reinstated to the post, the recall bid needs to move forward, said Margaret Benelli, a lifelong Guerneville resident and part of a core group that called for the recall.

“The current board has lost all credibility,” said Benelli, who was a board member in 1991 when the entire board was recalled. “I am sure there are some very qualified people out there who could take their seats.”

The district secretary will present the county’s certification of the signature results at the district’s Dec. 11 meeting. An election could be called at that time and must take place between 88 and 125 days later.

Payne and O’Shea did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

— Julie Johnson

4 Responses to “Enough signatures gathered for fire district recall vote”

  1. Arthur Diamond says:

    Maybe it is well past time to abolish these little fire districts and their petty politics. What maybe needed is a county fire district with no elected chief and run by an appointed board of 5 citizens, no firefighters, active or retired allowed on the board.

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  2. PapaESoCo says:

    @Diane, actually it is not as you portray it. Also, the Guerneville Fire Station, in the past was a hot-bed of disfunctionality for as long as I can remember (see above, Benelli…entire Board was recalled); the position of “Chief” has been a set of musical chairs,in the past. As I understand it the Chief from Forestville is universally liked and respected; and his firing (by some “micro-managers who should have stayed out of some stuff)was not at all well received by the Community,as a whole.
    @Follower, You are absolutely correct in what you stated about Mr. O’Shea, it is history, I too, well remember. Actually thought about that sordid history when this brouhaha first started, but decided to stay silent.

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  3. Follower says:

    Those of us who remember why he was removed as Fire Chief and what he used to do at the Rio Nido fire station are disgusted that Kevin O’Shea is receiving a dime of public money let alone not behind bars.

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  4. Diane says:

    This sounds like another firefighter inspired recall and continuing interference in government by the firefighters.

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