The allegations against Chief Bruce Lacher are false.
On April 5, 2013, the Mountain Democrat published on its front page a negative article about Fire Chief Bruce Lacher. The allegations against Chief Lacher stemmed from disgruntled firefighter union leaders and from other disgruntled employees. The union leaders were unhappy because cuts in their benefits would have to be made due to declining property tax revenues. All of the allegations were investigated and found not to warrant the charges made.
Investigations into the allegations were made by the district attorney, the county auditor, the district accountant and an independent insurance investigator. These investigations showed that there were no problems to warrant the allegations made.
Conflict of interest in fire district: The source of some of the allegations made against Chief Lacher was from Michael Dennis. Michael Dennis was recently an unelected, temporary member of the Board of Directors for EDC Fire District. At the same time, his son was an officer in the Firefighters Union. When a father is in a position to influence the salary and benefits of his son, it creates a bias favoring the son and his union. In this situation, there is a tendency of the biased board member to influence the decisions of the board to favor the union in its attempts to gain financially in spite of revenue shortfalls. This unethical process is to the detriment of the district, its leaders and the people it serves. Michael Dennis lost his seat on the board in the last election so this conflict of interest no longer exists.
The attacks on Chief Lacher were made because those making the accusations realized that reductions in the generous benefits of the firefighters were going to be made in order to balance the budget and that the chief would take actions to make the reductions. The firefighters would now have to pay a share of the retirement and health benefits. The attacks on the chief were an attempt to block the chief in making the necessary changes.
CURTIS E. WEIDMER, MD, MPH
Former Director of El Dorado County Health Services and County Health Officer (1974 – 1994)
Former Member of Board of Directors, El Dorado County Fire Protection District (1998 – 2010)