MONTEREY, Calif. (KION-TV)- UPDATE ON MAY 3, 2023, AT 2:37 PM- In a unanimous vote, the Monterey Fire Department has been chosen to continue to provide services to the Monterey Regional Airport.
Just before the meeting, union representatives for the fire department like Vice President of Monterey Firefighters L3707 Phillip Bezouska felt hearing their case and the community’s comments helped them get the advantage.
“We believe that we've, you know, made our case as the firefighters union, and I think the board has acknowledged they've heard the United voice of the community and what they desire,” Bezouska said.
Representatives of Pro-Tec also felt confident going into the final decision.
No matter what decision was made, President of Pro-Tec Fire Services Bill Hershman was thankful to the board for handling the discussion fairly.
"We were actually asked that question specifically last week in terms of if we felt the process was fair, and my response was absolutely," Hershman said. "I think we've been given as equal of an opportunity as any other proposal would be and part of this process.”
The board also gave final comments before making a final decision. The Vice Chair of the Monterey Airport District Board of Directors William Sabo wanted to clarify that the final decision wasn’t just about money.
“We here at the Airport District and we here as members of this board are also citizens of the community," Sabo said. "We care about the people that live in the area.”
The resolution to direct staff to enter contract negotiations with the Monterey Fire Department was agreed upon.
The details of the deal will continue to hashed out.
UPDATE ON APRIL 5, 2023 AT 5:37 PM- The Monterey Regional Airport Board held a special meeting on whether they could turn to a private company for fire response.
Monterey Fire is looking to stay as the lead agency for fire response. However, J.J. Protecive Services Inc. is looking to take over as the lead agency. The company is based out of Wisconsin.
A formal decision was not made, but the Board did ask both parties to bring back more information about their services.
The Monterey Fire Union wants to keep answering calls for the airport saying that they would possibly have to cut jobs if the board decides to pick JJ Protective Services Inc.
Gaia Cascio, who is from Monterey, says that the board should keep the contract with Monterey Fire.
"It will trickle down to the rest of the community," Cascio said. "I don't think it's a good idea, and I think we should keep our Monterey Tax Dollars in Monterey."
The current contract that Monterey Fire has with the Airport still has a few months to go before it expires.
The Monterey Regional Airport is considering whether to stick with the City of Monterey Fire Department for its calls for service or turn to a private company.
The airport says this subject is part of a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday.
Monterey Fire's Union, Local 37-07, says they hope to maintain their contract with the airport -- saying corporate profits should not be prioritized over public safety.
We reached out to the airport they say they are hearing presentations from both parties this week, and this is a normal part of their process.
The airport also said, "At this point, no decisions have been made about how the airport will move forward with fire protection services."
As it stands, the current agreement between Monterey Fire and the airport is set to expire in several months.