Bill Gillespie is out as Humboldt Bay Fire Chief, and everyone wants to know why. Was it a conspiracy? Has he suddenly gotten scared of fire? Did he get tired of Kim Bergel’s farts? Is he just looking forward to collecting his pension on chilling on the lake?
As reported on every almost every local news outlet, (including, but not limited, to the Times-Standard, LoCO, John Chiv, News Channel 3, etc.), Gillespie abruptly resigned following a closed session of the Joint Powers Authority group which oversees Humboldt Bay Fire.
Now, rumors are a-swirlin’ about the single reason he left, and we think there a few plausible options to choose from.We love a good conspiracy, but tend to think that the explanation is a little more simple in this case.
The one unifying factor from all the rumors that we’ve heard are this: the pro-Union JPA was pressured to oust Gillespie as a result of his push back against union members within Humboldt Bay Fire. This is all the more plausible when you consider that the joint power authority contains folks like Austin Allison, who openly stated his preference to negotiate a contract beneficial to fire fighters.
Gillespie has publicly butted heads with Union President Matt McFarland, on several occasions over the last year, such as when he contradicted the union’s claim that HBF’s swim rescue program was being discontinued due to lack of funding. Gillespie loudly pointed the blame for the program’s demise at a lack of willing firefighters. Gillespie also earned the ire of McFarland and the Union when he reprimanded none other than Matt McFarland for insisting on wearing a Black Lives Matter pin on his uniform.
Aside from our general aversion to the amount of compensation received by public employees, we’re of the opinion that Gillespie is a great guy, all around. To put that in perspective, when was the last time you heard THC say anyone was a great person?
We’re hoping that it wasn’t the pressure of pro-union JPA board members that forced Gillespie out , even if it sure seems that way. No, we hope that Gillespie said “F*** you, I quit” when faced with such blabbering bullshit coming from people that are supposed to be concerning themselves with public safety, and not the politics of a few firefighters.