Waiting for the Smoke to Clear in Garden Grove

Fire fighter with shovel

Shoveling off — or shoveling on?

We saw this coming. If you have been paying attention to the scandals in Garden Grove lately, this should not surprise you. Chief David Barlag, a 28 year employee, resigned as of today, due to a unanimous lack of confidence vote by the Garden Grove Firefighter’s Union.

We may never know if there is truth to the story regarding Barlag’s promotion to Chief and the unwritten contract made long ago, behind the scenes, to ensure that the mayor’s son, Jeremy Broadwater, was to be made a Garden Grove Fireman. The rumor has floated around our city for a year now. The big question on my mind is — will he talk? Would Barlag ever give us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Did he take a comfortable severance package in exchange for his silence? Would he risk possible retributions from his coming clean with the public? My guess is that he will quietly go away and we will have to depend on the $24,000 edited report from Management Partners, Inc.

We are told that our City Manager, Matt Fertal, will provide the City Council with some form of the report, whichever edited version that the City Attorney allows, that had investigated members of the GGFD regarding their complete lack of faith in their Chief. It should be noted that two members of Management Partners, Inc. were previously top level Garden Grove employees. According to their web page, Partner, Cathy Standiford, was the former Deputy City Manager of Garden Grove. Special Advisor, Joe Polisar, was the former Police Chief of Garden Grove. Asking two former colleagues to look into some problems with the Fire Department seems like there just might be some more good old G.G. style politics. I mean, there was never supposed to be anything in writing. Someone asks some questions, somebody gives Fertal some info, Fertal gives the council some info, nobody named Broadwater loses their job and everyone is happy, right?

While I have little faith in this cliffhanger of an investigative report, in another week and a half, I do look forward to the next council meeting and of course, your comments.

About Josh McIntosh

Our man in Garden Grove.