HomeCity NewsThree-City Shared Fire Command Dissolved After Three Year Run

Three-City Shared Fire Command Dissolved After Three Year Run

Mutually Agreed Withdrawal Approved by South Pasadena City Council

The San Marino City Council voted Wednesday, May 10 to withdraw from the three-city shared fire department command agreement, which the city of San Marino entered into with the cities of South Pasadena and San Gabriel in 2014.

The decision to dissolve the agreement was mutually agreed upon by the city managers of the participating three cities during a recently scheduled evaluation of the agreement’s effectiveness.

San Marino Interim City Manager Cindy Collins said the decision was in “the best interest of all three cities.”

She explained that the three city managers are still in the process of finalizing the terms of the agreement’s termination clause, which will establish the end date of the current structure.

The role of Fire Chief Mario Rueda—who was sworn in as chief of the three cities’ fire departments in January 2016—also remains undetermined.

South Pasadena City Council members voted on Wednesday, May 3 to withdraw from the agreement and directed its city manager to negotiate a shared fire department command ‘Cooperative Agreement’ with the city of San Marino.

According to a report prepared by the city of South Pasadena, “The proposed Cooperative Agreement identifies each City having its own Fire Chief and Division Chief. The cost of the third Division Chief would be shared by both agencies.”

The current structure, which consists of one fire chief, three deputy chiefs and three division chiefs, has several shortcomings, the report adds. It notes that three of those positions are currently vacant.

“The current shared recruitment process is not providing enough quality candidates to keep up with the current vacancies,” the report states, explaining that there are four vacancies at South Pasadena Fire Department, while another two are expected due to upcoming retirements.

“Other areas of concern include the fact that the agreement has not facilitated the elimination of duplicated efforts nor has it fostered an effective management structure that promotes positive synergy,” the report continues.

The switch from a three-city to two-city agreement, South Pasadena projects, will result in a cost savings of $47,500 to its budget.

The San Marino Firefighters’ Association is also in support of the termination of the three-city agreement.

“We give our city council and city management a lot of credit for giving this complex issue its due diligence and ultimately making a common sense decision to end the agreement. We look forward to a bright future under a new Shared Fire Command Staff Agreement with the City of South Pasadena, and wish the Firefighters of San Gabriel the best,” said Nathan Foth, president of the San Marino Firefighters’ Association, in a statement to The Tribune.

The San Gabriel City Council held off on its decision to withdraw from the agreement at its May 2 meeting, awaiting the actions of the South Pasadena and San Marino City Councils.

[Note: An earlier edition of this article incorrectly stated that the San Gabriel City Council voted to withdraw from the three-city agreement on May 2. That has been corrected to reflect their continuance of item]


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