City Mgr. Names Mike DuRee New LB Fire Chief
|(July 2, 2012) -- City Manager Pat West has named Mike DuRee LB's new Fire Chief.
Newly named Chief DuRee has been Interim Deputy Chief responsible for the Fire Prevention Bureau since the retirement in March 2012 of Chief Alan Patalano. A City Hall release says DuRee began his LBFD career in 1994, and has held a variety of positions, including Firefighter, Paramedic/Fire Fighter, Captain, Battalion Chief and Assistant Chief.
[Release text] Chief DuRee is a fifth generation City of Long Beach employee and a fourth generation firefighter in Long Beach. Chief DuRee’s operational experience includes serving with distinction as a Chief Officer, incident commander, company officer, paramedic and public information officer. Chief DuRee also served as a Captain with the Marine Safety Division rescue boat program and public safety dive team member, giving him extensive knowledge of the maritime environment.
City management's announcement comes one day before management-hired consultants are scheduled to present a series of "cost saving" measures to the City Council.
As previously reported by LBReport.com, in October 2011 the LB Firefighters Ass'n agreed to pension changes sought by management in exchange for a management pledge not to reduce staffing from four to three Firefighters on LB Fire Engines in FY12. However, the MOU text allows the Fire Chief (i.e. city management) to adjust staffing in several circumstances including a so-called "declaration of fiscal emergency."
LBReport.com obtained and published the exact MOU language, which is:
Each Fire Engine and each Fire Truck shall be staffed by a minimum of four sworn fire suppression personnel. In case of emergency circumstance, including but not limited to a regional disaster, catastrophe, or declaration of fiscal emergency, the Fire Chief shall have the discretion to alter the deployment model during the duration of the crisis.
As LBReport.com pointed out at the time, the City Council did in fact declare a "fiscal emergency" on July 21, 2009 by simply reciting a series of "whereas" statements that included "declines in property and other taxes" and Sacramento budget revisions that could reduce City Hall's expected revenues by double-digit millions. .
In August 2011, LB's then-current, now-retired Fire Chief Alan Patalano told a public meeting that he didn't favor reducing fire staffing from four to three persons and cited multiple reasons why.
[Former Fire Chief Patalano] We're a large metropolitan area. We have a high call volume. So when we're running calls, the tasks that we have to do. that are already there, that are already finite, and a four person crew can do that, or it shouldn't be a surprise to anybody, a four person crew can do something faster than a three person crew.
That decision can now be made (in the upcoming FY13 budget) by newly named Fire Chief DuRee.
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