Meeting Minutes from the Local 3800 Website

Below are 2 sets of meeting minutes from the Local 3800 in Nevada County. These are on their public website, but I thought I would bring them to you here. Though older (2010 and 2011) you will get a feel of how they really operate.

I have highlighted yellow the “usual suspects” as well as areas of importance.

Local 3800 Sept 2010 minutes

Local 3800 Jan 2011 meeting minutes





Here is the story regarding, NCCFD Local 3800, Grueneberg and Pascale (Yubanet)

When the economy took a dump in 2008 and continued to fall through 2011, the Fire Chief (Tim Fike)  realized that that with upcoming FF negotiation he would have to ask the NCCFD Local 3800 members for money back (concessions) rather than be able continue the trend of increasing salaries and benefits.

This did not go over well with the  NCCFD Local 3800 members. They enlisted the “help” of newly appointed board member Keith Grueneberg. The NCCFD Local 3800 members sought Grueneberg for appointment after another Board member had passed away. His first meeting was January 2011. Grueneberg was instrumental in helping draft the Vote of No Confidence letter for the Fire Chief that the  NCCFD Local 3800 members presented to the full board in January 2012.

The Board kept this information to themselves until late February 2012, and then only discussed in closed

session, as NCCFD wanted  their Special Tax Measure to pass. The ensuing months were tumultuous, with Grueneberg constantly circumventing the Fire Chief’s Authority.  In the end, Chief Fike retired in July 2012 and Grueneberg tried to step in as Fire Chief (

Between July 2012 and to-date things have only gotten much worse at NCCFD and with Grueneberg and the NCCFD Local 3800 members :

-In November 2012, Grueneberg’s Sheriff  Buddies (Carrington and Hablett) were elected to the board. When they found out Linda Chaplin was running, they wanted to stack the cards in their favor at a cost of $23K to the NCCFD taxpayers.

-Though I reported to the Personnel Committee that Carrington sent a racially offensive email to  Grueneberg, who then forwarded it the NCCFD Local 3800 President (and NCCFD employee), Wyatt Howell, who then forwarded to a still friendly with NCCFD Local 3800, Battalion Chief…Grueneberg resigned as Chairman of the Board, but remained on the board. (

-We tried to recall Grueneberg from the board and were not successful:—Signature-gathering-can-begin.php

In June 2013, the Nevada County Grand Jury came out with their 2013 report on NCCFD and it was scathing regarding Grueneberg and the board as a whole.

Most recently Pascale reported on the continuing:

I could go on and on about the TRUTHFUL reporting Pascale has done and the price I feel she is now paying. Oh…by the way, a friend of mine told me Gruenenberg’s son is a CHP in the Sacramento region.

It Is Time To Stand Up For The Fire Chiefs In Nevada County!

As the former Office Manager of 49FPD and HR Administrator of NCCFD, I agree with Chief Vander Plaats regarding the paid call firefighter (PCF) rosters. At NCCFD, there were at least 20 names and an average on 4-5 consistent responders…mainly during the fair. If Mr. Gassaway has all his PCF certs and training completed, then why doesn’t he just go ahead and respond to emergency calls? Also, during my tenure, I found it was the firefighters who made it quite inhospitable for the “volunteers”…just ask any former 49er FPD volunteer what happened after consolidation with NCCFD.

But what does not pass the “truth test” here is where is the Penn Valley members of the Local 3800 firefighter union in this? The issues brought up by “several different audience members” stinks of Local 3800 involvement.  Why haven’t they issued a letter or a voice of support for their Fire Chief? Could the PV members of the Local 3800, with the help of the Local 3800 FF Union President, actually be behind this? Attacking the Fire Chief’s credentials is certainly something as lowly as the Local 3800 is known for doing.

But after the NCCFD 2013 Grand Jury Report…, the Local 3800 have been trying to stay out of the spotlight. My guess is they have put these “several different audience members” up to making these false claims.

I can guarantee you, if this “group” (Local 3800 members) stays silent and un-supportive of their Fire Chief, then they are behind this attack on one of the finest, professional Fire Chief’s in Nevada County.

I can certainly tell you that during the my employ with NCCFD, I heard over and over that after the Local 3800 “took out” the NCCFD Fire Chief, that next on their list was the PVFPD Fire Chief, and then the Higgins FPD Fire Chief.

I am happy to see the PVFPD Board standing up for their Fire Chief, unlike NCCFD’s Board lack of support for its Fire Chief, past and present.

Please don’t let that tail start wagging the dog…it’s a slippery slope.

A One Year Board Vacancy On The NCCFD…Please Apply

You have until 5pm, this Friday, October 11, 2013 to turn in an application to fill a board seat at the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District.

Even though the position to be filled is a 4-year term ending December 2016, the seat will go to election in November 2014 for the  final two years of the term.  Additionally, come November 2014, there will be 3 seats up as well as this “one-year” seat.

If you would like to start the process of taking your Fire District back, please take a moment to fill out and deliver your application to the Admin Office located at: 11329 McCourtney  Road, Grass Valley, CA 95949.

The NCCFD Board will be holding a Special Meeting sometime AFTER  5pm, this Friday, October 11, 2013 to review all applications and to give the applicants time to speak at the meeting.

Below is a link to the NCCFD Website and attached is an application for your convenience.

Application for Board Position

Press Release Regarding Recall Grueneberg Effort

Recall Grueneberg 2013

Press Release

September 30, 2013

After counting and recounting, we have fallen short of our goal of 4,388 signatures to force a Special Election Recall of Keith M. Grueneberg by 718 signatures. Unfortunately, we had to discount approximately 500 signatures as the signers did not live within the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District.  While we were not able to recall Grueneberg this year, we will be refocusing our efforts to make sure he, as well as other select board members, are not re-elected in November 2014, should they decide to run as incumbents.

While Grueneberg might feel that we failed, we see our efforts as a win. Below are many (though certainly not all) of the known truths, along with the 2013 Grand Jury Report, we have proudly brought to light regarding Grueneberg and his good-old-boys.

Grueneberg has and continues to:

*KNOWINGLY chose to ignore provisions of the Brown Act, NCCFD by-laws, rules. regulations and ordinances IN ORDER TO AFFECT PUBLIC OPINION DURING THE SPECIAL TAX ELECTION.  90% of the people who signed the petition, asked us when we would have a petition to repeal the 2012 Special Tax. This is something we will consider. It only takes approx. 2300 petition signatures to force an election to repeal the Special Tax. Maybe it should be repealed, then NCCFD can go out and be honest about where they intend to spend the money and see if the voters will pass it. The 2012 Special Tax passed at 68%, only 1.6% over the 66.66% required…a very slim margin. Another sticking point is there is no Sunset Clause and the Board can increase it up to 3% per year.

*Undermine the authority of the Fire Chief as the Chief Executive Officer; Lacks executive leadership, micromanages…created and continues to foster an unhealthy working environment for administrative staff, leading to hostility and mistrust.

*Lacks fiduciary responsibility by entering into employee collective bargaining agreements leading to EXCESSIVE and UNEXPECTED EXPENDITURES; Has a close and personal relationship with Wyatt Howell, the President of the Local 3800 Firefighter Union, placing into question his credibility during collective bargaining with the Local 3800 Firefighter Union after the passing of the 2012 Special Tax.

* After receiving a racially offensive email from a retired NCSO and now current Board member, Grueneberg  forwarded the racially offensive email to Wyatt Howell, the President of the Local 3800 Firefighter Union, who then forwarded it to a NCCFD Battalion Chief who chose not to report it, all in direct violation of NCCFD’s personnel code.

*Has fallen short in his role and responsibilities as a member of the Board of a public agency.

* And….We forced the entire the Board of NCCFD to comply with Government Codes pertaining to its Special Tax (formation of Citizen’s Oversight Committee (COC), setting up a special accounting for revenues to be deposited and insisting on the required annual report of what the Special Tax dollars were spent on). 

*And …We have recently (9/19/13) forced the Board of NCCFD to rescind an illegal board member appointment as they violated the California Government Code relating to appointments.

*And…we will continue to be the NCCFD watchdog, until this board (or a newly elected one) proves that they can abide by the provisions of the Brown Act, NCCFD by-laws, rules, regulations, ordinances and the California Government Codes.

We will continue to report the Real Truth at The Real Deal on Nevada County…Updates on the what is really happening at MY and Your Fire District-NCCFD located at:

Rescision of Board Member Appointment

Last night, at the NCCFD “emergency board meeting”, the four board members who attended rescinded their previous decision to appoint Mr. Ronald Pennington (good friend to four of six sitting Board Members) as the board member replacing the seat left vacant by Robert Rhodes.

It was this “watchdog” blog that called out the NCCFD Board’s illegal action on 9/19, violating California Government Code 1780 (see earlier posts), thus, once again, forcing the NCCFD Board to play by the rules…not just the ones they make up as they go. We could have waited until the October 17th Board meeting to call them out, and then the Nevada County BOS would have stepped in and made the decision for NCCFD, but that is not what we are about. The NCCFD Board should be thanking us for bringing their obvious, devious, good ol’ boy network to light…again. (What were a majority of the Board Members doing right before the 9/19/13 meeting, all huddled outside with Mr. Pennington? Coaching him? Congratulating him? Wait! He had not even been appointed, albeit illegally, to the board as the meeting had yet to start.)

District Council, Jim Curtis, was in attendance. He apologized to the Board stating he had not anticipated that the Board would have deviated from the Resolution he was asked to draw up and had not properly prepped the Assistant District Council should the Board go off course. (Poor Jim, I guess he forgot how badly the Board behaves when he is not in attendance) The Resolution presented 9/19/13 was reviewed by the Chairman of the NCCFD Board prior to the meeting.

grueneberg sat there with a sourpuss face, shaking his head. Carrington chimed up “well, stuff happens.” (Wow, really? Only when the Board chooses to circumvent the law)

The Board and Council spent quite a long time on the 15 day posting requirement and when to hold a special meeting to avoid missing their 60 day window. They finally landed on October 11th, no time was mentioned. October 13th is 60 days from 8/14/13, the effective date of Mr. Rhodes resignation.

According to the Government Code, the posting of the vacancy must be for 15 days. Though posted last night, after the meeting, the 15 days start counting today, Thursday 9/26. All applications must be in by the close of the day on Thursday October 10th and the appointment will be made on Friday October 11th. Yubanet was in attendance and offered to post the vacancy announcement that night. Knox and Hanson thanked thanked Yubanet, but grueneberg and Carrington were silent on the matter. Click here: and here:

When asked for public comment, I spoke up and stated that while I thought it was a kind act for Mr. Curtis to fall on the proverbial sword, it is time for this Board to start taking responsibility for its own actions. Mr. Curtis stated he had “broad shoulders”. I continued, that is nice to have broad shoulders, however, if the Board would have followed the resolution, which just happened to follow the procedures required by the California Government Code, then they would not be in the predicament they find themselves in…again.

Rather than let my statement stand, Carrington decided he had to chime in with his brilliant statement, “well, stuff happens.” My immediate reply was, “yes, and it seems to happening a lot to you (the board). I stated it is time for this board to take responsibility for their actions and to stop blaming others. I continued, it was their responsibility, as board members, to know the Government Code, it was their responsibility to know how to do their job.

Carrington started to say something snide, when the Chairman stopped him as did Dir. Hanson. I’m sitting there thinking, Wow! Such anger from Carrington and grueneberg (still a sourpuss face and more head shaking, kind of like one of those bobble-heads), in full view at a public board meeting. Professionalism at its best. I will be happy to go toe to toe, at any public board meeting, with these gentlemen (and I use the term gentlemen loosely). I will be happy to point out everything this board has done, and continues to do since September 2011, to tarnish the NCCFD name and bringing this fire district to the sorry state it is in today.

And the meeting was adjourned.

I believe in the future I will video these meetings. If you could see the disdain Carrington and grueneberg (& Hablett when in attendance) have for certain women in the audience, when they speak up and let the board know when they are doing something wrong…boy, if looks could kill.

So look for video clips on future blogs, that should be fun!

And the Back Story…To the November 2012 Election

Back when I was still working as a lowly HR Administrator for NCCFD and the elections in 2012 were rolling around, NCCFD had three board seats up and two incumbents re-filed (Rhodes and Leonard) and one (Hitchcock) did not. At that moment in time, if only one interested party chose to run, then there would not have been an “election” as all candidates would have been appointed in lieu, saving the District $25,000.

The first person to file for the seat was Linda Chaplin. Again, if no one else chose to run then all incumbents and Ms. Chaplin would have been appointed in lieu, thus saving the District $25,000 in election costs.

Now here is where the plot thickened. In my office, Director Hanson, in front of the Division Chief and the District/Board Secretary told this interesting story, Sorry Dave, but this has to be told:

grueneberg had asked his buddy o’pal Hablett to run for the seat Hitchcock was giving up. But, lo and behold, when Hablett arrived to file his paperwork, he asked if anyone else had filed. The Elections Office stated that indeed someone had filed the previous day. So, Hablett called and informed his buddy that if he, Hablett, files it will force an election to the tune of $25,000 bucks. The buddy asks who has put in their paperwork, Hablett replied, Linda Chaplin.  His good ‘ol buddy said file, we can’t work with her. Boom! $25,000 on the hook.

Then, I had an NCCFD employee state grueneberg told him how he was also recruiting Carrington to run for the Board as we can’t let that “crazy woman” on the Board.

Last, but not least, Pennington was a neighbor and is still a personal friend of Dave Hanson. Hanson recruited him to run.

So there ya have it, the circle is now complete. The good ol’ boy network still is in play.

Regarding the illegal appointment of Pennington on 9/19/13, the Calif. Secretary of State’s Office states the do not have the authority to enforce the government codes, see the below email:

Thank you for  contacting the Secretary of State regarding a  special district.

While the  Secretary of State oversees elections in California and files and maintains  certain government and business entity documents, our office does not have the oversight or authority to investigate this  matter.  If you haven’t done so already, you may wish to forward your  concerns to your county’s Board of Supervisors.  

You  may also wish to consult with private legal counsel.  A private attorney could directly  represent your interests and provide advice most helpful to you.  Lawyer referral services are available  through the State Bar of California.

And then they clarified:

When we receive correspondence about a matter  that does not fall under the oversight of the Secretary of State’s  office, we try to refer the individual to an agency that may  be able to assist.  In our previous response  to your email, we suggested sharing your concerns with the Nevada County Board  of Supervisors.  We have since confirmed the Board of Supervisors does  not have the authority to intervene in this matter.    

We apologize for any confusion that may have  arisen from our previous response.  If you need advice related to  concerns you have about a special district, you may wish to contact private  legal  counsel.    

So, the County BOS and the County Election Dept has no authority to enforce the Calif. Gov’t Codes…I guess neither does the State….the only avenue is for citizens of the District to file a claim with the NCDA. Really? I should go out and pay for any attorney to pursue violations the NCCFD made?

And this is why it is all so corrupt, even at this puny level of government.