Town Square

Post a New Topic

Time for a new Fire Board

Original post made by Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest, on Jul 23, 2020

If you have watched any of the recent Fire Board meetings you have seen how difficult Board President Jones’ challenge is as he tries to get the current board to do its job. The other four directors are engaged in a bizarre combination of childish behavior towards one another and micromanagement of things about which they have no competence. Critical programs have stalled for months and the Chief and the staff sit in bewilderment as the board refuses to do its job.

The seats of two of the directors, Kiraly and Silano, are up for election in November. They are no longer serving the best interests of either the community or the Fire District.

I urge Kiraly and Silano not to run for reelection

The residents of the Fire District would be better served by two new directors who have sound management experience, no greater political aspirations and who will join with Director Jones to provide the quality of oversight and direction which the citizens expect and the Fire District staff deserve.

Comments (12)

Posted by Kit
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 12, 2020 at 3:33 pm

Kit is a registered user.

Slick campaign move Peter Carpenter, bash the current board to make room for you. You and your buddy Sean (who you coerced into running) filed on the very last second. You have been on the board, then resigned for health issues. You work behind the scenes with your buddy the Chief to push things that tickle your fancy. If anyone watched the last board meeting Director Jones apologized for his behavior and didn’t mean to say “Jim Crow”. He was obviously incited by Director Kiraly’s behavior. Directors Silano, Mclauglin and Bernstein remained calm. There was no childish behavior on their parts. Between the 3 of them they have more experience in public safety, good sound business management and a great pulse on the community. Who has political aspirations? You do Peter.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 12, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The current Board is doing a horrible job - period.

For example, it is August and the Board has not yet agreed on its 2020 objectives. And dozens of other decisions are also being delayed.

I never resigned from the Board but rather served out all three of the terms for which I was elected - and in each case I was elected with more votes than any other candidate.

It will be a dynamic election in which all of the candidates will be able to present their credentials to the voters and it is the voters who will decide who can best serve their interests.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 12, 2020 at 4:04 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

I will vote for Peter. He did a great job when he was on the board before. Kiraly needs to go. She shouldn't have been there in the first place. She has broken the law for nearly her entire term by serving on the Harbor District Board at the same time. If we didn't have a corrupt DA, she would have been prosecuted or, at a minimum, forced to give up one of the seats.

Kit sounds like a disgruntled firefighter. They didn't like Peter when he served before because he wouldn't let them have whatever they wanted.

Posted by Kit
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 12, 2020 at 5:06 pm

Kit is a registered user.

During Carpenter‘a tenure he held up the a fire fighters contract for several years, causing an unfair labor practice lawsuit against the Fire District.

Peter- maybe retire, 80 is a big number.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 12, 2020 at 5:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"During Carpenter‘a tenure he held up the a fire fighters contract for several years,"

Correct, because I refused to give then an 11% pay increase.

By the end of my third term on the Board we had a five year contract with the firefighters - something unheard of in a public agency.

Tough but fair - that has always been my objective.

Service before self - that has always been my guiding principle.

Posted by Marie
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 12, 2020 at 5:25 pm

Marie is a registered user.

I will definitely cast my vote for Peter Carpenter. The Fire Board never ran so smoothly and sensibly as when he was a member. We are fortunate to have civic servants of his caliber who are willing to serve our community.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 12, 2020 at 6:28 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

And Kit confirms his/her status as a disgruntled firefighter. I remember at the time meeting with the President of the firefighters union to see if he could explain why they deserved an 11% pay increase. His answer boiled to "other fire departments are getting it we want it too". Peter and the rest of the board stood strong and told the firefighters to stuff it. We need that kind of leadership again. The current board is dysfunctional.

Posted by Annetta McCarty
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 12, 2020 at 7:09 pm

Annetta McCarty is a registered user.

My husband and I are voting for Peter Carpenter and Sean Ballard, without question! We can't think of two finer, more qualified gentlemen for the job. We'd be hard-pressed to find, and fortunate to have, men of their caliber serve our community as Directors on the Fire Board. Vote for Peter and Sean!

Posted by Maria Amundson
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 12, 2020 at 7:34 pm

Maria Amundson is a registered user.

I'll be voting for Peter and Sean as well. It's time to move forward. There are so many important issues before our community here. With all due respect, we're nearly halfway through August, and for the Board to not have even agreed on the 2020 objectives really appears to point to extreme dysfunction.

Posted by Sean Ballard
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 12, 2020 at 9:49 pm

Sean Ballard is a registered user.

Without launching into a platform discussion, the three reasons I’m running for this office (again) are: I’m available, I’m competent, and I care sincerely about this community and our collective safety. //SB

Posted by Ken Friedman
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Aug 12, 2020 at 10:05 pm

Ken Friedman is a registered user.

It is so easy to speak poorly of others when done with anonymity. I think it is cowardly.

I will be supporting Peter Carpenter for election to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board. I have served on three non-profit Boards. It has been my experience that the Boards that function best are those that support the Executive of the Organization (or the Chief in this case) and allow for disagreement but still maintain respect for each other. After watching many of the MPFD Board meetings I don't feel they satisfy either measure.

The meetings are available here: Web Link

I invite you to watch the meetings and consider the fitness of the candidates who are running.

Change is in order.

I gladly disclose that I worked with Peter in a professional capacity on a very complex project. We had almost daily interactions for the slightly less than two year duration of the project. There were certainly moments of great tension between us yet each and every time we were able to resolve them through well considered and direct communication. I also got to know Peter on a personal level. I am inspired by his commitment to his (mine as well) community, the methodical and reasoned approach he takes to solving problems, his long, varied record of service and most importantly his kindness and compassion for others.

Please vote for Peter Carpenter.

(By the way Kit, Peter, at any age, would outwork you on even his worst day! Bet on it.)

Posted by Scott Barnum
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 13, 2020 at 7:13 am

Scott Barnum is a registered user.

The Menlo Park Fire Board is an important but not very well understood, governmental agency that serves multiple communities and constituencies. It has a very key role to play in providing strategic direction and oversight to the fire and emergency response services we receive, among other things. It also has responsibility for a very large budget to oversee that is funded by our tax dollars. Like any governing body, selection of the right people to serve on the board is paramount for effective governance and leadership of the body. While the Fire Board has been in the news more recently than in the past, it is still an agency that is not that visible nor are the issues it is facing that well-known. I would encourage voters to do some additional diligence this year when voting for members of our Fire Board.

I have worked with Peter Carpenter for 15 years and Sean Ballard for nearly 10 years as an organizer of the citizen emergency response group Atherton Disaster And Preparedness Team (ADAPT) and as a board member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)/Community Crisis Management (CCM) Executive Boards. Peter is well-known, very experienced in both public safety and with our Fire Board itself having served multiple terms as a board member and board chairman. He knows the various community governments within the Fire District and their inner workings. And he is a strong advocate for good governance.

Sean Ballard, while not as well-known, has been involved with emergency prep in our community in leadership roles for some time. Most importantly, for the last two years, Sean has served as Chairman of the CERT/CCM Executive Board, elected by his fellow board members, and has done an excellent job in leading this group and interfacing with both the Fire Department's leadership and the Fire Board itself. He is very aware of the Fire Board’s issues, challenges and all the player’s involved having also served as a member of the Fire Board’s Finance Committee, as a citizen representative. He has a very even handed and steady management style and personality. Sean is very strategic and financially astute, given his professional career in financial services and investment management.

Please take some time to learn about all the candidates running for our Fire Board and their positions on the various issues facing the Fire Department and their impact on our communities.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox.

Implications of Remote Work for Palo Alto
By Steve Levy | 3 comments | 3,614 views

Coping with a tragedy — without coddling ourselves
By Diana Diamond | 6 comments | 2,344 views

Cheez(steak) Whiz: A Philly transplant's guide to the Peninsula's best cheesesteaks
By The Peninsula Foodist | 4 comments | 2,187 views


Check out our latest awards

The Almanac was honored with nine awards for its newspaper and website in the annual California Journalism Awards competition, including first place for local election coverage. These awards are a tremendous affirmation of the quality of our reporting, photography, editing and design. Become a member today to support another year of award-winning journalism.

Read More