A veteran Fire Chief with over 34 years of firefighting and emergency service experience has temporarily taken over as interim fire chief for the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District.
Appointed on March 13 by the district’s board of directors, Brian Kelly comes to the district after serving as San Mateo’s fire chief from 2003 to 2007. Kelly previously served as the fire chief in the city of Millbrae from 1988 to 2000 and leading Union City’s fire department from 2000 to 2003.
“My first objective is to come in and maintain service levels and assist with the recruitment of a permanent fire chief,” said Kelly.
Deputy Chief Michael Wapnowski was serving as the interim chief after the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District placed embattled Fire Chief Steve Mayotte on paid administrative leave earlier this year.
Even though Kelly said he was assisting in finding a full-time chief for the department, he said he could not comment on Mayotte’s status other than he was still on administrative leave.
Mayotte has been the chief with Stanislaus Consolidated since 2005. In recent years he has been besieged with a slew of labor-related issues including a number of lawsuits, employee grievances, a state employment board ruling against him, and a 2012 Civil Grand Jury investigation.
Kelly, 60, retired from the City of San Mateo in 2007 and has been working with the International Association of Fire Chiefs providing input on a statewide mutual aid project and some FEMA search and rescue consulting.
“I’ve got some stuff to do,” said Kelly about taking over the Stanislaus post. “For me, it’s getting up to speed.”
Kelly said he would be working on communication issues within the department, preparing himself for the upcoming budgets and working on the partnerships with Oakdale Rural Fire Department, City of Oakdale Fire Department, and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire District.
In a 2007 San Jose Mercury News article, Kelly is credited with integrating female firefighters into the Millbrae Fire Department, establishing the Union City Fire Department after a joint department with Fremont dissolved, and helping form a single countywide dispatch center for all 17 fire agencies in San Mateo County.
Kelly is a San Mateo resident and plans on commuting for the assignment and staying overnight a few days a week.
“I’ll be contributing to the ‘T.O.T’ (transient occupancy) tax in the community,” joked Kelly.