Monday, September 10, 2001
City Council Unanimously Approves Five Appointees to Fire Commission
By KIMBERLY EDDS, Staff Writer
The City Council Friday unanimously approved Mayor James Hahn’s five Fire Commission appointees, including Los Angeles County Bar Association President Roland L. Coleman Jr. and attorney Jay H. Grodin.
Thomas Curry, a 31-year Fire Department veteran, and homeowners association presidents Corina Alarcon and Louise Frankel were also given a nod by the council for posts on the five-member fire board.
Coleman, a partner in the law firm of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman and Dicker took the helm of the county bar’s Board of Trustees on July 1.
Grodin is a managing partner of the WKM Group.
Both Grodin and Coleman were major donors to Hahn’s mayoral campaign. City records through May 1 show that Coleman gave $4,000, and Grodin $5,000 in Hahn’s run for mayor.
Curry, who retired as an assistant fire chief two years ago, said the commission can always improve the organization. Two of his nephews serve in the department.
Alarcon is the former wife of state Sen. Richard Alarcon, an ex-member of the Los Angeles City Council.
She is president of the Larkspur Homeowners Association in Sylmar. Three of her brothers currently serve in the city’s fire department.
Frankel, president of both the Mountaingate Community Association and Mountainview Homeowners Association, has prior experience as a commissioner, having served on the county civil service and economy and efficiency commissions.
The appointees told the council that they are dedicated to improving the department in any way they can.
Council members questioned the nominees on their positions on recruiting more women to the department, but the appointees were reluctant to give a specific solution without looking into the department’s current recruitment process further.
“We do have a commitment to increase the diversity of our department,” Grodin said.
In a separate vote, the council also unanimously approved City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo’s appointment of attorney David Fleming to the Ethics Commission.
The appointment will be a change for Fleming, who has served on the Fire Commission the past eight years, including the last five as president.
“This is like a duck out of water,” Councilman Nate Holden said.
Fleming told council members he was prepared to serve on the new commission and answered questions from Councilman Eric Garcetti on public financing of elections and the possibility of increasing the matching funds the city gives candidates.
Fleming said those ideas are something that should be considered, adding that he would like to see “a level playing field for everyone.”
“I think the role of public service is the highest one can achieve,” Fleming told the council. “I think that we should encourage as many people as possible to run for office.”
Council members applauded Fleming’s long history of public service and wealth of knowledge on issues which the commission will have to tackle.
Councilman Jack Weiss said Fleming’s extensive experience in government will help guide the commission through the tough issues.
“I think he is really going to be a leader for the city,” Weiss said. “It’s easy to make decisions when you have a precedent, but what we’re looking for is seasoned judgment in the gray areas.”
The commission is responsible for administering and enforcing the laws relating to governmental ethics, campaign finance, and lobbyist activities in the city.
“David Fleming brings a longstanding commitment to public service to his role as a City Ethics Commissioner,” Ethics Commission Executive Director LeeAnn Pelham said in a statement. “We look forward to having the benefit of his talent and experience as the Commission continues its efforts in support of open and accountable government.”
Fleming will serve a five-year term ending in June 2006. He replaces Monsignor Terrance Fleming (no relation) whose term ended June 30.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company