SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. - UPDATE 8/10/17 11:00 p.m. Victory for Aptos firefighters and residents who wanted to see their fire chief go.
The Aptos/La Selva Fire Protection District's board has voted to approve a separation agreement with the chief.
The board was deciding whether to extend fire chief Jon Jones contract for two more years.
But a little over an hour ago they unanimously approved a separation agreement with the chief.
That decision is welcome news to protestors who spent the day holding signs to gather support from the community to urge the board to let go of fire chief Jon Jones.
Thursday residents and firefighters said that Jones has failed the community in his three years of service.
The Aptos/La Selva Firefighters Association took a vote of no confidence back in April. That vote was unanimous against fire chief Jon Jones.
"The morale's the worst we've ever seen it, we've had people retire early, we've had an employee resign," said Will Wingert, vice - president of Local 3535 Aptos/La Selva Firefighters, "We have mismanagement on nearly every level one could imagine."
Hours after the meeting started, the board came out of closed session with their decision to approve the separation agreement and appoint an interim chief.
KION caught up with the president of the Aptos/La Selva Firefighters union just after the vote was announced.
"[We are] very pleased, it's been a long arduous road for the entire organization," said Ryan Peters, presideent of Local 3535 Aptos/La Selva Firefighters, "For the board of directors, for the division chiefs, our group, we're all pleased with this decision."
The agreement won't be final for seven days. The interim fire chief will stay in place until the board's next meeting.
UPDATE 8/10/17 9:37 p.m. The Aptos/La Selva Fire Protection District will be looking for a new chief after the board of directors voted for a separation agreement Thursday night.
The agreement will go into effect in a week. There will be an interim fire chief until the department finds a new one.
KION's Zach Fuentes will have the full story at 10&11.
A group of Aptos residents is protesting for a new fire chief.
The protestors rallied with signs Thursday ahead of a meeting to decide the future of the fire chief for the Aptos/La Selva Fire Department.
Some residents want the Fire Board of Directors to let go of Chief Jon Jones. They say he has failed the community in his three years of service.
They question his ability to manage citing staffing issues, decreased fire prevention and a breakdown of community relations.
The board of directors is deciding in closed session whether or not to extend the chief’s contract for two more years.
"We're puzzled why he would even ask for a two year extension, when it's very clear that he does not have the support or the trust of the community, or the firefighters, or the chiefs, why would you stay at a place where people don’t really want you,” said Aptos Resident Becky Steinbruner.
KION reached to Chief Jones for comment, but have not heard back yet.