By Terry Miller
Sierra Madre City Council voted at the last council meeting to convert its paid and volunteer Fire Department into a full-time service department.
The department will now apparently have 3/2 staffing, which means one captain, one engineer and one firefighter/paramedic will staff the engine, and two paramedics will operate the ambulance or (RA), for each of three shifts.
Our friends over at Sierra Madre Tattler said, “There you go. Either nearly 100 or 110 years old, Sierra Madre’s fire department went from being volunteer to a fully paid outfit because it is now the 21st century and the town can’t be Mayberry anymore – Or something along those lines.” John Crawford then went on to say “in this downtown era of new transparency, I have no problem justifying to myself turning City Hall into a blog research resource. I sent another e-mail inquiring about whether or not Gabe (Sierra Madre City Manager) thought going professional was the result of some sort of a labor action on the Fire Department’s part, or just an act of random kindness by the City Council.”
Here is the City Managers response:
“There was no labor action. We are no longer able to consistently fill volunteer fire positions. We currently have 5 volunteers, none of which are full time.
All of the other agencies in the Verdugo system have a 4 person engine response on their primary engine, and agencies that have multiple fire stations will have a second engine with a 3 person response. Sierra Madre has been operating, often, with a 2 person response and zero firefighters on shift. The transition to a career department is necessary and overdue.
Also, we are not considering raising taxes. We made reductions prior to any changes in Fire and even with the addition of the fire positions, the General Fund has been reduced.”