This year Orinda voters have a chance to add a key member to MOFD’s board of directors. Their choice is between Craig Jorgens, a retired business executive with an education in finance and engineering, and Victoria Smith, a real estate lawyer with 12 years on the Orinda City Council. The Task Force recommends Craig Jorgens for this position.
MOFD is big business. It has an annual budget of $25 million, greater than Orinda’s, and like most public agencies, has accrued huge retirement benefit liabilities. Currently the discounted present value of these liabilities is in excess of $200 million and the non-discounted cost, stretching out 50 years, is over half a billion dollars. This is not your grandfather’s fire department. This is big business.
The new Orinda representative would be joining Steve Anderson, a business consultant; Brad Barber, a tax lawyer; Kathy Famulener, a prosecutor for the Alameda County District Attorney’s office; and John Jax, a retired partner of the accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche.
MOFD needs more business expertise, not another lawyer.
MOFD has general issues and Orinda has specific issues with regards the services provided by MOFD that its representatives need to deal with. The Task Force believes that Craig Jorgens is the most qualified to deal with these issues. He agrees with MOFD that these issues exist and has ideas to deal with them. Conversely, over her career as a city council member Victoria Smith has gone out of her way to NOT deal with the emergency services MOFD does, or does not, provide Orinda and the cost of those services to the tax payers even though she has been the Council’s liaison to MOFD for five of the past six years. It is hard to tell whether she would represent Orinda’s interests on the MOFD board or continue to ignore them.
For these reasons, the Task Force strongly recommends that the residents of North Orinda vote for Craig Jorgens to represent them on the MOFD Board in the November 2016 election.