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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.

[Chief DuRee quote] "My family and I have deep ties to the City of Long Beach and the Long Beach Fire Department. The men and women of the Long Beach Fire Department are second to none in their level of professionalism and dedication to our community, and as the Fire Chief, I am committed to continuing the great level of service our Department provides the residents, businesses and visitors of Long Beach. We have a proud 115-year history of service in this City. I look forward to leading the organization as we continue our tradition of excellent service and move into the next chapter of the Long Beach Fire Department..."

Chief DuRee and his family have made Long Beach their home for their entire lives. Born and raised in Long Beach, Chief DuRee has taken an active role in numerous community groups and local non-profit organizations that seek to improve the quality of life in Long Beach for all residents. He holds a bachelors degree in Public Administration and is currently a candidate for his Masters degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on communication and public relations. Chief DuRee is also a graduate of Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government executive fellowship program for senior executives in State and Local government.


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, 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." 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 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.

Now is that for every single call and the answer is no, not for every single call. Can you operate on some calls with three? Absolutely you can. But for your most critical calls, it's better to have more people there. You can get more done faster.

There are some reports, I think the Firefighters Association supplied you with some information that talked about the National Institute of Science and Technology, also the NFPA [Nat'l Fire Protection Ass'n] standards and the report done by a consultant that we had come in and look into fire protection, that the four person staffing is more effective.

That decision can now be made (in the upcoming FY13 budget) by newly named Fire Chief DuRee.

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