Sep 18 2018


At its regular meeting on September 17, 2018, the City Council appointed Bret Black as Fire Chief of the City of Piedmont. Following a rigorous selection process, Mr. Black was chosen unanimously by the Council from a field of 27 candidates. Mr. Black’s first day as Fire Chief will be Monday, October 1st.

This appointment follows interviews of qualified candidates by two panels comprised of residents and public safety professionals, the City Administrator, and the full City Council, which made the final selection. The City Council unanimously agreed that Mr. Black will fit extraordinarily well with the community and the department.

Black began his family in Marin County where he married his wife Nimai and had three sons. His professional firefighting career began with Skywalker Ranch Fire Department in 1997. At the same time he remained active in the local community teaching first aid & CPR as a member of the neighboring volunteer fire department. A few years later he relocated to the Clovis Fire Department in the Central Valley. Mr. Black rose through the ranks from firefighter, engineer, captain, training officer, to battalion chief. Although Bret had an accomplished career with Clovis Fire, he and his wife both longed to come back to the Bay Area someday. Mr. Black brings a broad set of skills to Piedmont, specifically with training mandates, disaster preparedness, strategic planning, but most importantly an inclusive leadership style.

“We are pleased that the recruitment process developed such qualified candidates, in particular Bret Black,” said Mayor Robert McBain. “I would like to express my appreciation to members of the Council as well as the members of the interview panels: Mahvash Hassan, Jeffrey Horner, Lyman Shaffer, Lynne Wright, Don Bivins, Dave Rocha, and Elizabeth Warmerdam.”

“Bret has extensive experience in the fire service,” said Vice Mayor Teddy Gray King. “I believe he will be a tremendous asset to the Piedmont community, the City of Piedmont, and the Fire Department.”

“I believe that Bret Black will serve the City of Piedmont well as Fire Chief,” said City Administrator Paul Benoit. “Piedmont would have been well served with each of the finalists, however Mr. Black distinguished himself during the interviews.”

“Serving as Fire Chief in Piedmont will allow me to be part of a community that values its culture and heritage,” Black said. “I look forward to serving the residents and firefighters of Piedmont and to build on the existing talent within the organization.”

For conditions of employment, read prior PCA article HERE.

Sep 15 2018

Bret Black is scheduled to be appointed by the Piedmont City Council as Piedmont Fire Chief at a starting salary of $193,164.  The appointment and employment conditions resolution will be considered at the Monday, September 17, 2018, Piedmont City Council meeting, 7:30 p.m., City Hall.  The meeting will be broadcast live via Cable Channel 27 and the City website under videos. See full employment agreement linked below.

The Council selected Black after interviewing two of the 27 applicants for the position of Fire Chief.  Upon Council appointment, Bret Black will serve as Fire Chief, effective October 1, 2018.

The Fire Chief vacancy occurred when Fire Chief Warren “Bud” McLaren announced his intention to retire, effective July 6, 2018. McLaren had served the City of Piedmont for thirty years.

The City Council retained the services of Peckham & McKenney, a Sacramento based executive search firm. Peckham & McKenney advertised the employment opportunity extensively, using personal outreach, traditional print and electronic marketing, as well as social media. As a result of the recruitment efforts, 27 applicants submitted resumes for consideration. After reviewing each of the resumes and conducting on-line research on applicants who appeared most qualified, the recruiter selected twelve candidates to undergo screening interviews.

The City Council interviewed two pre-screened finalists and selected Bret Black.

“The employment resolution proposed for Council consideration contains all elements common to other Department Heads. The proposed annual salary is $193,164, which is the amount earned by Chief McLaren upon his retirement. Should the City Council approve the appointment and the resolution, Mr. Black’s first day with the City will be on Monday, October 1, 2018.”

“The City Council wishes to acknowledge the special public service rendered by the City’s management personnel. Management personnel consists of all department heads and the City Administrator. Under the operational coordination of the City Administrator, management personnel are responsible for producing the quality and effectiveness of City services, as required by the City Council.”

There will be a 3% annual salary increase for Black during the term of the resolution.

3.1 Salary – Monthly:  The monthly rate of pay for the Fire Chief is $16,097. The rates of pay shown reflect the following cost-of-living increases during the term of this Resolution:

  • % Increase Monthly Effective 7/1/2019 3% $16,580
  • Effective 7/1/2020 3% $17,078
  • If, during the term of this Resolution, any other bargaining unit is offered a cost of living increase greater than the increases shown above for the same fiscal year, then the difference between the increase for the other bargaining unit and the increase provided under this Resolution will take effect for the Fire Chief.

The City Administrator will make recommendations on future compensation for consideration and action by the City Council.


“10.2 Termination: Pay Upon termination or resignation requested by the City Council, the City will provide the employee at least one (1) month’s pay and benefit coverage as set forth in Sec. 3 hereof, or more at its discretion. This section would not apply in the event of the employee’s voluntary resignation or removal from office involving conviction of a felony, gross negligence or dereliction of duty, dishonest or immoral conduct, intemperance which interferes with job performance or conviction of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.”

READ the full staff report and proposed compensation agreement linked below:

Sep 12 2018

Do you recognize the man pictured below?

On September 9, 2018 between 11:30am and 1:00pm, a subject entered a locked locker containing personal property at the Piedmont Aquatic Center.

The subject stole a single credit card and later used that stolen card at two different businesses on Lakeshore Avenue to fraudulently purchase $527.96 worth of merchandise.

Suspect is a male, 45-60 years old, 5’07” to 5’10”, medium build, salt/pepper hair, slight beard. He wore a white Adidas baseball cap, faded black tee shirt, black baggy shorts, black rim glasses, a black watch on right wrist, and a gold band on his left hand ring finger.

The photos below of the subject using the credit card were obtained from the two Lakeshore Avenue businesses.

If you have any information or can help identify this subject, please contact Detective R. Coffey at or Detective J. Spranza at If you wish to remain anonymous please leave the information at (510) 420-3015.

Call Piedmont Police at (510) 420-3000 for more information.

Aug 31 2018

2nd Reading of Ordinance 741 N.S. Updating Leash Law Provisions, Clarifying Off Leash Areas, Allowing for the Issuance of Administrative Citations, and Updating Outdated Provisions – 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 City Council Consideration, 7:30 p.m. 12o Vista Avenue, Council Chambers.

RECOMMENDATION Take the following actions related to updating City Code provisions related to dogs:

1) Decide whether off leash hours at Dracena Park should match those of the Linda Dog Park, as recommended by the Park Commission (7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Weekdays and 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekends) or should match the overall hours of the park (5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily)

2) Approve the 2nd reading of Ordinance 741 N.S., Updating Leash Law Provisions, Clarifying Off Leash Areas, Allowing for the Issuance of Administrative Citations, and Updating Outdated Provisions

3) By motion, set fines for the revised provisions at $100 per violation

Read the 18 page staff report HERE.  Maps are not included in the staff report. 


Robert McBain, Mayor (510) 420-3048
Teddy Gray King, Vice Mayor (510) 420-3048
Jennifer Cavenaugh (510) 420-3048
Tim Rood (510) 239-7663
Betsy Smegal Andersen (510) 420-3048
Aug 30 2018

On Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at about 10:15 p.m., an alert Piedmont resident on Sharon Avenue called 911 to report two males shining flashlights into her neighbor’s windows.  A third subject was sitting in front of the residence in a vehicle with the motor running.

Piedmont Police officers responded and located the vehicle as it was attempting to flee the scene. All three subjects were detained and arrested for attempted burglary.

The Piedmont Police Department expresses how important these phone calls are when suspicious activities are seen.

Reports to the Police help to keep Piedmont safe.

See something suspicious – call the Piedmont Police Department! 

911 or 510/420-3000

Aug 30 2018

Get involved!   Piedmont begins process.


A Local Hazard Mitigation Plan is being developed by the City of Piedmont. Fires, drought, earthquakes, and severe weather are just a few of the hazards to be addressed in the plan. While hazards such as these cannot be prevented, a Hazard Mitigation Plan forms the foundation for a community’s long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses by breaking the repeated cycle of disaster damage and reconstruction. Additionally, only communities with a FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan are eligible to apply for both pre- and post-disaster mitigation grant funding.

Nationwide, taxpayers pay billions of dollars annually helping communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals recover from disaster. Some disasters are predictable and, in many cases, much of the damage can be reduced or even eliminated through hazard mitigation planning.

The people most aware of potential hazards are the people that live and work in the affected community. In addition to plan participation by local, state and federal agencies, the community is seeking all interested community members to hear more about our Local Hazard Mitigation Planning project.

Piedmont encourages attendance and participation from the general public at our upcoming public meeting to kick off the project:

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Public Meeting: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Piedmont Community Hall
711 Highland Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611

For additional information, contact Chris Yeager in the Piedmont Planning Department at:

(510) 420-3067 or email at

Aug 28 2018

During the month of August, the Piedmont Police Department has seen an uptick in the number of package thefts being reported.

Below are some pictures captured by neighborhood video surveillance in the 800 block of Blair Avenue, the 1500 block of Grand Avenue and the 100 block of Sunnyside Avenue, where packages were taken from the front porch of several homes. Vehicles associated with these thefts were a newer blue/grey 4 door hybrid SUV and a white moped/scooter with a black seat.

Police Tips for safe package delivery:

 1-Don’t leave packages out for extended periods of time. Reach out to your neighbors and ask them to bring packages inside.

2-Use an alternate shipping address like work or a friend/relative that you know will be home to receive packages.

3-Choose shipping options that provide for advanced package tracking, allow you to redirect a package, receive detailed updates on estimated delivery time, and send an email or text once your package has been delivered.

4-Install a security camera. Security cameras can deter burglars, keep your packages safer, and help you keep an eye on your home while you’re away. Products like Nest Cam Outdoor and the Ring doorbell are inexpensive ways to increase security.

If you have any information regarding these thefts, contact Piedmont Police Department Detective R. Coffey at 510-420-3015.

Aug 23 2018


On Tuesday, August 21, 2018, at approximately 4:10 AM, the Piedmont Police Department received a phone call from a resident who reported two unknown subjects inside of her neighbor’s vehicle in the 100 block of Bell Avenue.

Piedmont Police Officers responded to the area and detained two adult subjects. The subjects were positively identified as Michael Joseph Vargas (Modesto) and Clay Henson (Berkeley). Both suspects were arrested that day on August 21 for Auto Burglary, Possession of Stolen Property, and Possession of Burglary Tools.

A search of the suspect vehicle resulted in locating other stolen property from San Francisco. Both suspects are currently in custody in the Santa Rita Jail.

Suspect Vargas

Suspect Henson

If anyone has any additional information related to this incident, please call Detective Jeff Spranza at (510) 420-3013.

If you wish to remain anonymous you may call the Piedmont Police Department Tip Line at (510) 420-3055. For press inquiries, please contact Captain Chris Monahan at (510) 420-3012.

Aug 21 2018

Piedmont Police Department Invites the Community to Show Exotic and Classic Cars –

  • Bring out your exotic and classic cars.
  • Meet your local police officers.
  • Ask questions, discuss concerns, or just stop by and say hello.

Coffee and bagels will be provided.

Saturday, September 8th from 8am-11am
Piedmont Community Center parking lot

Questions contact: Sgt DeWarns,

Aug 3 2018

The Piedmont Police Department will Be Visiting Neighborhood Meetings –

Meet your neighbors, strengthen neighborhood spirit and build police-community partnerships.

Piedmont Police Officers will be stop by Neighborhood Meetings to answer questions about crime prevention.

You Are Invited:

National Night Out

When: Tuesday, August 7th 6-8pm
Where: Participating neighborhoods:

400 block Blair Avenue
200 block Scenic Avenue
100 block Ricardo Avenue
100 block Oak Road
0 block of Cambridge Avenue
100 block Palm Avenue
100 block Greenbank Avenue

For further information: Contact Captain Chris Monahan, 510-420-3012 or