By Janis Mork
October 4, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) -- The cash-strapped San Miguel Fire District recently voted to outsource firefighting services to Cal-Fire. This election season, six candidates are running for four seats on the District’s board, which has taken heat from labor and the public over tough decisions made. ECM has contacted all candidates for information on their candidacies. Below, we profile business/college educator Dan McMillan. Other candidates are retiree Randy Dibb, retired civil engineer William A. Kiel, civil engineer John Revels, fire captain/paramedic David Rickards, and incumbent board member Karrie Johnston Scully. View a map of the district: http://www.smgfire.org/district-map.
McMillan received his B.A., MS in Mathematics and a MBA in finance at San Diego State University. He has served for 12 years on three special district boards, which includes serving as Chair of the San Diego County Wastewater Management District, and as President of the San Diego County Special Districts Association. He has also completed the Special District Certificate Program. He resides in East County with his wife, and has been here for about 50 years. He has six grown children.
His qualifications include “a strong financial background. You need to know how the board works and some don’t, and I do,” he told ECM. “I feel the firefighters are well represented on the board, and taxpayers need stronger representation.”
If he gets elected, he wants to “maintain good to excellent service for constituents, given the financial constraints, and look at any excess costs or non needed costs to provide for fire suppression, fire protection, and emergency services. I want to monitor the implementation of MOU [Memorandum of Understanding, the contract the board did with Calfire].”
Asked about the board’s decision to outsource firefighting services to Cal Fire, McMillan states, “It seems reasonable. I do understand there’s a one year clause. And the board will need to ensure it’s properly implemented. The question they need to ask is ‘Are we getting our money’s worth?’ and ‘Is Cal Fire providing the services we expect and are used to with San Miguel fires?’. The board needs to supervise implementation of the contract closely to ensure taxpayers are receiving the services they expect.
As far as the current board, he says, “I might disagree in cost cutting. We might need to look at remaining staff’s salary, compensation and benefits, given the service they’re providing the district.”
His budget priorities would be to “live within the means of the district. Right now, we can ensure we can fund the contract with Cal Fire properly, and maintain the building and equipment, and retain skeletal staff to carry out administrative and repair duties.”
Concerning fire safety out in East County, “I would like to see more training and response to major fires, and more ability to defend individual dwellings. I and many of my neighbors sustained damage to our homes in the 2003 fire.”
For more information on McMillan, view his candidate statement.