Alameda fire chief’s fuel use absent from logs
City officials this week released computerized logs detailing nearly three years’ worth of fuel use by staffers at the Alameda Fire Department, but Fire Chief David Kapler’s fill-ups didn’t make the list.
Fire Operations Chief Michael Fisher said Kapler was never assigned a gas card, as other department staffers were, so his fuel use was documented only on handwritten logs that are for the most part no longer available.
Three months’ worth of handwritten logs released by the city this week showed Kapler gassed up at the department’s pumps seven times in June, pumping a total of 103 gallons of gas in that month. The logs document four fill-ups totaling 66 gallons of gas during a two-week period in July, and a single fill-up totaling 11 gallons in August – the August 14 visit to Station One’s gas pumps photographed by witnesses.
The logs don’t document which vehicle Kapler was fueling, though witnesses told The Island last week that they saw him pumping gas into a blue BMW coupe on several occasions. The handwritten logs typically detail which vehicle was being fueled, though the logs show Kapler, who doesn’t drive a city vehicle, using his radio identifier in place of a vehicle number.
Fisher said the computerized logs, which date back to Kapler’s October 1, 2007 start date, show the former chief’s vehicle number and radio call sign – the same radio call sign Kapler has now. But that vehicle has apparently been assigned to someone else.
He said the department is working to rectify the problem so that everyone’s fuel use is tracked.
Kapler came under fire last week when he was photographed fueling the BMW at the fire department’s pumps. He had maintained that former City Manager Debra Kurita told him he could use the city’s gas to fuel his personal vehicles, but Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant said Kurita had only agreed to let him fuel a truck he was using in lieu of a city vehicle, which the city had outfitted with a radio, lights and sirens for his official use.
News reports detailing similar allegations that helped lead to Kapler’s resignation from an earlier post also surfaced last week.
Gallant said she would sit down with the chief this week to discuss reimbursement to the city, but some city leaders have said that isn’t enough. Both Mayor Beverly Johnson and City Councilwoman Lena Tam have called for an investigation, with Tam suggesting Kapler should be placed on administrative leave.
Kapler said he was cleared of the earlier allegations, and he attributed the current ones to “frustrations” some department staffers feel over decisions he’s made.