A bloodless coup d ‘etat occurred as Brad Beedle was ousted as board president of the Novato Fire Protection District and replaced by board member Farhad Mansourian at a hastily scheduled special meeting on Friday.
At issue were accusations from some of the board members that Beedle had disclosed details from the closed-door discussions related to the departure of Fire Chief Marc Revere, the appointment of interim fire chief Ken Massucco and other personnel issues including potential litigation, according to board member Farhad Mansourian.
Board members James Galli, LJ Silverman and Mansourian voted to reconsider the selection of the board that had occurred on Dec. 5. Board member Tomas Kaselionis abstained because he had not been present at the original meeting.
Galli and Mansourian attributed the change to disclosures from a closed-door session via phone calls made by Beedle to four fire chiefs after the meeting.
Mansourian said that he verified with the fire chiefs that the calls had come from Beedle.
“This is a big exposure to the district,” said Mansourian at the board meeting. “For me that was unacceptable.”
Beedle vehemently denied disclosing any closed-door information, saying that he let the fire chiefs know of the early retirement by Revere and the appointment of an interim fire chief in courtesy calls — information that was already public record, he stated.
Beedle also fired off his own salvo, saying that he was telephoned by Mansourian on Thursday and asked to “take a dive” on his board position and step down, using his business as an excuse.
After the board voted to reconsider its prior election of officers, a new slate was quickly decided upon and approved 4-0 with Beedle abstaining.
Mansourian assumed the role of president and the other board officers were assigned, leaving Beedle as a director.
Beedle asked each board member for the reason for the sudden change in leadership by a board that had approved him as president 23 days ago.
Kaselionis said he was not present at the original board appointment meeting and would not have supported Beedle as president.
“I wasn’t left with the impression that you could lead in a time when the district needs that leadership,” said Kaselionis.
Silverman accused Beedle of using his position on the board inappropriately for leverage related to Beedle’s business which provides emergency services to school sporting events.
Silverman said he had fended off calls from the school district and complaints that Beedle had accused athletic directors of cronyism and double-dipping.
Mansourian delivered the most detail, citing the closed-door session of over three hours, resulting in the change-up of the fire chiefs and adding that there were personnel issues with potential litigation.
“What we cannot do is to come out of closed session and disclose what was done in closed session,” he said.
“We have critical discussions for a new chief and we need to put the district back together,” he added.
Public agency boards are required under the Brown Act to disclose action taken in closed sessions.