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THE FSCNC’s truck and chipper at the May 5th Wildfire Awareness event. Photo: YubaNet

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. May 10, 2018 – Today, three employees of the embattled Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC) resigned, effective immediately. Two of them supervised and ran the Chipping Program – a signature program for the organization – and the only Verification Specialist for the organization also quit.

The resignations are in support of Joanne Drummond, the FSCNC’s erstwhile Executive Director whose contract was not renewed by the Executive Committee.

“I’m resigning in support of Joanne,” Curt Williges said. The former Captain with Cal Fire based in Nevada City has been supervising the chipping program for the past four years. “She [Drummond] is an outstanding boss and a pleasure to work for. Look at what she accomplished in her 12 years at the helm. I can also tell you that I never was contacted by the HR consultant or anyone else for that matter regarding any complaints. Personally, I have never experienced a hostile work environment,” Williges added.

Frank Quadro, also a former firefighter, was with the FSCNC for over a year. “Yes, I’m resigning in support of Joanne. She’s always had my back.” He also confirmed to YubaNet that nobody contacted him regarding any personnel issues or hostile work environment. “I didn’t know there was such a claim until I read your story.”

Nevada County residents will be directly impacted by the resignations. The chipping program is coming to a screeching halt just as spring cleanup and preparations for the upcoming high fire season are on residents’ minds. Compliance inspections to avoid losing homeowner’s insurance are ending with the third resignation by the Verification Specialist.

YubaNet reached out to the Chairman of the Board and interim CEO Dennis Cassella, but calls were not returned by publication time.

Related story:

Turmoil at the Nevada County Fire Safe Council

2 replies on “Three staffers resign in protest from the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County”

  1. This is a shame, especially at this critical time of the year. I worked closely with Joanne last year when my insurance company (Nationwide) was dropping my coverage. She was responsive, always promptly answered my calls and emails and kept me informed of arrangements for inspections and chipping. At one point I asked her if she was the only one working there? Maybe she spent too much time in the trenches and not enough “Directing”. Usually when that happens it is a lack of direction from upper management. You lost a good team there. Too bad you didn’t ask your “customers”.

  2. So Dennis Cassella is apparently now the CEO. A previous article on YubaNet said that the sub–group of the Executive Committee had decided to split Joanne’s former job into two; one would be some kind of active leader, the other would apply for grants. I suppose that “CEO” covers half of what Joanne did as Executive Director for twelve years. I guess this makes it increasingly likely that Joanne Drummond is not coming back, at least with the present board. These three resignations, on top of the previous resignations by members of the board, send a clear message that something is deeply and seriously wrong with the FSCNC board.

    In my neighborhood the practical effects are immediate. There are huge piles of cut trees and vegetation waiting at the side of the road for the chipper to come. The Lower Colfax Rd Firewise Community was fortunate enough to have the AmeriCorps crew for four days, helping to clear the evacuation routes for this area at three of the most dangerous bottlenecks along LCR. And with our encouragement and plenty of cookies and treats, these guys and gals worked really hard and were very productive. But now there is no FSCNC chipper program, so in actual fact, until alternate arrangements are made, the exit routes are more dangerous than before! I am sure there are other examples right now, with more to follow.

    And what are the homeowners who are being denied insurance or are having their insurance cancelled going to do now? Is anyone on the board going to do the training and get certified ‘real soon’ so that folks in difficulties can get some relief?

    This was all so thoughtless, impulsive, and un–necessary. Maybe some people on the board will get tired of scoring own goals one after the other…

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