Sac Bee AM Alert: Cal Fire Under Fire

by Placerville Newswire / Feb 04, 2016 / comments

For the last year Cal Fire has been busy trying to extinguish fires within its own ranks. The state's wildland firefighters were caught cheating on tests, drinking on the job and using state phones to connect with prostitutes, among other egregious mishaps.

Now the State Personnel Board wants to know what Cal Fire plans to do about it.

Back in December the board gave Cal Fire 60 days to explain what it's already done and plans to do to clean up its act, particularly related to hiring practices. The board had launched its own investigation to make sense of the bizarre promotions of two fire academy captains, who previously admitted to cheating in order to pass tests and move up the ranks. The board's report said it found no evidence that the promotions were based on merit and Cal Fire gave inconsistent and contradictory information.

Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott is expected to answer questions at a hearing at 10 a.m. in at 801 Capitol Mall, Room 150.

The hearing is particularly timely given that Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plan calls for the creation of a new $4.4 million investigative unit to probe Cal Fire personnel matters and prevent future calamity.