Commissioner Rodriguez's New County Fire Department Esd6 Fire & Rescue
Commissioner Rodriguez pushing legislation for a county fire department
In a recent meeting, County Commissioner Rodriguez spoke of creating a county fire department. With a county fire department, the board would be made up of a representative from each commissioner's precinct.
By doing so, this might eliminate the Emergency Service Districts and the Commissioner's district board would oversee the tax dollars and their expenditures. While this concept might be better than having the ESD6 boards. Ms. Mendelsohn's relationship with Commissioner Rodriguez and the fact that it would be built in his district, truly doesn't seem to make a difference to the community of Southeast Bexar County. The Commissioner could still keep Ms. Mendelsohn on board and would still have a stronghold on the funds. As Ms. Mendelsohn likes to say, it's purely "semantics".
The VFD's made a plea to Ms. Mendelsohn, that if they wanted to build a fire fighting facility, such as the ESD6 Fire & Rescue, they were all for it, but they requested that the South Bexar Fire and Rescue be given the new fire station. South Bexar facility is a mobile home in disrepair and they house their equipment in storage shed's that have continuously been broken into. They do not have enough space to house their equipment or vehicles. Ms. Mendelsohn avoided making any commitments to the VFD's or even discussing the possibility of it.
The ESD6 Fire & Rescue was a part of the original drawings made by the architect firm that charged the ESD6 $219,000 for the plans and layouts for the Fire Station/Evacuation/Community Center. However, the loan for nearly $6 million dollars did not show funding for the fire department, but for the evacuation/community center only. Ms. Mendelsohn then stated that the center would not be built because of too much discord in the community over it and they would wait until it could be built solely on government funding. She did state that they would still be building the fire station with grant/loan money. When asked, how since the grant/loan paperwork was only for the center, Ms. Mendelsohn said they had another grant/loan for the fire department, but would not disclose any other details pertaining to the loan or the presumed location for the new fire station. This was news to the community, who had not been told of this other loan being processed and when community members had requested information on the "facilities", none was released on the fire station. All in violation of the open meetings act. The ESD6 and Ms. Mendelsohn have gone into financial agreements with community tax dollars and refused to provide documents as to the agreements, which they went into without a formal board meeting and informing the community.
It is obvious that transparency is not the strong suit of the County Commissioner Chico Rodriguez or the ESD6 board president. Where does this new plan of theirs leave other board members? They will be merely expendable members of a board that no longer have a purpose.
Election of officers
The first meeting for the ESD6 Fire and Rescue was held. Ms. Mendelsohn, who asked the board "You all don't want to make a motion to discuss?" Leaving the board quiet and quickly prompting a well rehearsed motion from Ms. Vargas to make to keep the board officers the same for the ESD6 Fire & Rescue as those of the ESD6 Emergency Service District. Ms. Mendelsohn has now gotten power over two entities that receive Southeast Bexar County tax dollars. Ms. Mendelsohn sited internal conflict if different officers were appointed. Conflict of interest comes best to mind when placing the exact same board that makes up policy and distributes funds in charge of a fire department that falls under the same board.
And speaking of conflict of interest, the board also chose to adopt the same conflict of interest policy for the ESD6 Fire & Rescue as that of the ESD6's Emergency Service District.
Bylaws of the ESD6 Fire & Rescue
According to Mr. Bryant, (the former attorney for the ESD6, who at the time was also representing the ESD6 Fire and Rescue; mentioned that he had not read the bylaws, but that they were standard bylaws that could be amended. Mr. Hearn expressed concern as to how long they would have to wait in order to amend them. What Mr. Bryant mentioned was that the bylaws would have to be in place before they could move forward and since this was just a draft, they could amend them, he also stated that paperwork he HAD FILED with the state, stated that the new board would be the same as the ESD6 board in answer to a question asked by Ms. Vargas; wanting to know if the new board could be different than the one on the ESD6.
This meeting once again just let the community know that they are still working around board policy to achieve their agenda and that the dog and pony show of electing officers was already a done deal before they opened this meeting.
Their activities lead to many questions in the community.
- If the ESD6 Fire & Rescue is it's own entity, who is paying for the attorney fees for this meeting?
- What funding are they using to cover the cost of filings, etc? Since it is just in the setting up stage, they don't have any funds.
- Where is the ESD6 Fire & Rescue going to get its equipment?
- How could they have filed the paperwork, if they had not yet voted for officers or approved the payment for filing fees?
ESD6 signs contract with Southside ISD
As it stands, the ESD6 has signed a contract with Southside ISD to use a facility that the district deemed unusable, portions of it burned by a fire that rendered the building useless.
The agreement would have the ESD6 responsible for all repairs and making it usable, with community tax dollars. Ms. Mendelsohn has shut down all three fire departments in the Southeast Bexar County area and is providing coverage under contract with ESD2, whom she would be moving into the school district building once they have done all the repairs.
Speculation among members of the community is that now that Ms. Mendelsohn's "team" is sitting at the helm of the Southside ISD school board, she will have the board President and former ESD6 board member, Loren Glen Martin, aka. Adock, aka. Brewer sell the ESD6 the school property. Something that Mr. Brewer has done in the past as he purchased the school property in Buena Vista; shortly after being elected to the Southside ISD school board for the first time. That property is still tied up in litigation.
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