HESPERIA • The Hesperia city council will discuss a proposed budgetary cut that would eliminate nine full-time San Bernardino County firefighters and five sheriff’s deputies’ positions Tuesday night before they vote on June 21. As part of the city’s 2011-12 budget, officials have proposed eliminating nine firefighter-paramedics and five vacant deputy positions. The 14 first-responder positions make up the bulk of the 20 city staff jobs the city is looking to do away with as part of the next fiscal year. Victorville is proposing to lay off 10 full-time employees but no cuts to deputies or fire personnel. Apple Valley hasn’t proposed any layoffs for this year. There are currently 45 full-time firefighter positions assigned to Hesperia which includes captains, engineers and firefighter-paramedics, fire officials stated. According to authorities, the proposed cuts to personnel will take staffing from the current three-man crews to two-man crews at certain stations. The cuts will be discussed city’s budget workshop starting at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Hesperia City Hall located at 9700 Seventh Avenue.
Story: VV Daily Press
APPLE VALLEY • With persistent concerns over fire safety in town, Councilman Rick Roelle has questioned the status of a station that now often appears shuttered, asking for details on whether response times have slowed. A letter included in the agenda for Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting states fire station 336, on Yucca Loma Road near Apple Valley Road, isn’t closed. Instead, Chief Art Bishop with the Apple Valley Fire Protection District said it’s now staffed with 20 paid-call firefighters. A fire engine, water tender and other equipment are also still housed at the station. “As far as response times are concerned,” the letter from Bishop states, “the Fire District maintains, and remains committed to, the sub six-minute response, 90 percent of the time, within the Town of Apple Valley.” A report from AVFPD provided by Bishop shows response times dropped between 2008 and 2009, from an average in the high- and medium-density areas of 6 minutes flat two years ago to 5 minutes, 53 seconds in 2009.
Story by: Victorville Daily Press
On May 18, 2010 the West Covina City Management is proposing a cut in Fire Department Response Apparatus. They wish to eliminate 1 of 5 Paramedic Engine Companies from service. This reduction will eliminate 6 positions and extend response times. The 4 remaining engine companies will remain at their current staffing levels of 3 personnel assigned daily with a total reduction of daily Fire/EMS personnel. Currently, there are 25 per day which would reduce to 23 per day with these proposed cuts. There are numerous other response details that will be affected with this reduction.
This proposed Service Reduction will be presented at the May 18, 2010 West Covina City Council Meeting. Show up and support the WCFD Firefighters
Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Location:City Of West Covina Council Chambers
Street: 1444 West Garvey Avenue
City/Town: West Covina, CA
For Further details contact Cory Cisneros firstname.lastname@example.org
APPLE VALLEY • The Apple Valley Fire Protection District is looking at ways to close a $1 million budget deficit, with retirement incentives, employee furloughs and more on the table. Officials are hoping these moves will trim enough from the budget to avoid laying off any of the district’s approximately 80 employees, though that possibility was mentioned during a special meeting of the district’s board of directors Tuesday afternoon. Chief Doug Qualls said the AVFPD is working with a 15 percent deficit of its $7.6 million budget, and they anticipate another cut next year. Qualls cited declining property values as the main reason for the shortfall, with less revenue coming to the district as the value of homes — and therefore the amount of property taxes homeowners pay — has plummeted over the last two years or so. According to AVFPD employees, they were informed about the approximate $1 million deficit in a memo from Qualls early last month.
Story by: Victorville Daily Press
APPLE VALLEY • With the Apple Valley Fire Protection District looking to cut costs, one politically sensitive option being floated is the possibility of contracting with San Bernardino County for fire service, as every other Victor Valley city now does. Apple Valley Councilman Rick Roelle, then sitting as mayor, spearheaded a push to look at turning the local fire department over to County Fire last April. Roelle cited concern with the district’s finances and how it might affect its ability to provide service to residents. That suggestion drew sharp criticism from many residents, who insisted that the quality of service would drop without having a local fire department, and the idea died last June. According to County Fire figures, it takes roughly $1.3 million to $1.6 million a year to run a fully staffed fire station. The numbers from AVFPD were not immediately available. “The guys are going to do the best with what they got,” said Jake Salgado, president of the Apple Valley Professional Firefighters Association. “The fire district will deliver outstanding quality service regardless of how big or small the budget. We are being fiscally responsible to the community.”
Story by: Victorville Daily Press
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Fewer police officers, higher fees and a reduced firefighting force are among the expected effects of Long Beach’s proposed, and vastly scaled down, city budget on which council members will put the final touches Tuesday. However, after last week’s meeting, some of those cuts will be restored, particularly in public safety and youth programs. The council will have a budget hearing at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a closed session at 4:30 p.m., the regular council meeting at 5 p.m. and a final budget hearing scheduled to begin no later than 7 p.m. The meetings are open to the public and can be viewed live on Charter Communications Channel 8, Verizon FiOS Channel 21 or online at www.longbeach.gov. Last week, the council approved 11 of 18 agenda items that are needed to complete passage of the 2010 fiscal year budget, which had to be cut back to eliminate a projected $38.3 million deficit that will reduce the general fund to $380 million. Under the City Charter, the council must approve the budget by Sept. 15, which is this Tuesday, or City Manager Pat West’s proposed budget will automatically go into effect Oct. 1. Furthermore at last week’s meeting, after much negotiating and compromising, two council factions came to an agreement on which of West’s proposed cuts to restore. The most high-profile change under the council’s plan is the restorationto full strength of Fire Station 1 downtown and Fire Station 18 in East Long Beach, as well as adding a sixth firefighter to Station 14’s proposed reduced “light force” crew. Under West’s proposed budget, Fire Station 1 and Fire Station 18 would share a fire engine, which would leave the downtown station understaffed at night and the Eastside station closed during the day. Continue reading
The Los Angeles firefighters’ union renewed its campaign Thursday against the rotating brownouts at city fire stations, delivering hundreds of postcards demanding the restoration of full service. “This is not the time to be cutting fire service,” said Pat McOsker, head of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, during a rally at City Hall. “September and October is the brushfire season in Los Angeles. We just came off the Station Fire, which was the 10th worst in California history, and we didn’t even have any winds.” Continue reading
Editor’s Note: Earlier this month, Ohio Fire Chief Donald Barnes was dismissed after balking at orders from his mayor to make a new round of cuts in the fire department’s budget. The Shaker Heights Fire Department had already been forced to shed four firefighters earlier this year. But when Chief Barnes was then told to slash $250,000 from the department’s budget and lose more positions, he refused. The Chief of seven years was subsequently dismissed by Mayor Earl Leiken. In this exclusive interview with FireRescue1, Chief Barnes speaks publicly for the first time on the dismissal, his fears for other departments in the current economic climate and his plans for the future.
Click to read interview
OAKLAND — The union representing Oakland firefighters voted 335-64 in favor of a new contract that will freeze wages and increase the hours firefighters work as the city faces an ongoing financial crisis, the union’s president said this week. The city relied heavily on concessions from city workers to try to balance its budget this year, and the firefighters became the second major city union this week to agree to a new contract. Chuck Garcia, president of Local 55 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents Oakland firefighters, said the union agreed to the deal to save jobs and protect services. “I think it’s important that the citizens know that Local 55 took a leadership position to save the city $6.4 million so the city could have a balanced budget,” he said.
Under the terms of the contract, firefighters will work 56 hours a week rather than 52 with no additional pay, will have cost-of-living adjustments frozen through June 2011, will continue paying 13 percent of their retirement pensions, and possibly will have a less expensive health plan. The contract will run through June 2012. Continue reading