The October Penn Valley Fire Protection District monthly meeting was bushwacked by a disgruntled ex-paid call firefighter. He had quit the district in 2005 because of differences with department policy and his inability to accept direction from anyone; he was never fired.
Since then, Bill Gassaway has been on a personal crusade to cause mistrust, dissention and unrest among the career firefighters and in the community itself. Some in Penn Valley believe his animosity stems from a vendetta against Chief Vander Plaats and the board of directors.
Bill has apparently been misled, misinformed and is being disingenuous about almost everything he had to say at the meeting. He was obviously misled about firefighters’ raises and wages, he was sadly misinformed about the PVFPD volunteers now called interns, and he was being intentionally disingenuous about the community’s safety and lack of confidence in the chief and the board of directors. These are not the true feelings of the majority of Penn Valley residents.
We have seen Bill before at board meetings. His demeanor has always been combative and confrontational. I’m sure we will see him again with his accusations and lack of civility. Bill may very well believe in what he is saying, but right or wrong, he has a right to say it.
Bob Webster, PVFPD director