Santa Ana Fire Department’s 128 years of History to End

Santa Ana will continue to have fire protection after April 20, 2012, but the 128 years of the Santa Ana Fire Department history will come to an abrupt end. That is if the proposed outsourcing of fire services is approved at Tuesday nights meeting of the City Council.

Items 60 A-C, on the February 21, 2012 Santa Ana City Council meeting agenda, propose to terminate the contractual agreements between the city Santa Ana Fire Department personnel and approve the outsourcing agreement with the Orange County Fire Authority.

The Voice of OC reports:

Under the agreement, the city would pay OCFA $33.7 million annually for fire services and be able to shave $10.5 million off its current budget, according to an OCFA proposal.

Much of the savings would come from decreased staffing. The OCFA requires a daily staffing level of 48 firefighters, while the city’s fire department staffs 63 firefighters daily. The extra firefighters will be assigned to positions now vacant at OCFA.

On February 8th, Voice of OC reported that not all of Santa Ana’s Fire personnel were happy with the proposed transition to OCFA.

A contentious divide has formed in recent months within the Santa Ana Firemen’s Benevolent Association as younger members have broken ranks over whether the Orange County Fire Authority should absorb the city’s 128-year-old Fire Department.

Sources close to the union say its younger members are in favor of the move, mainly because it gives them job security, but older firefighters don’t want to give up the decades-long identity and tradition of the Santa Ana Fire Department.
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“The Orange County Register has made it sound like negotiations have gone swimmingly,” said one source, who didn’t want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation. “The truth is they haven’t.”
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Chris Roelle, president of the Santa Ana Firemen’s Benevolent Association, wrote in an emailed statement sent by his spokesman:

“Every one of the Santa Ana Firemen’s Benevolent Association’s 204 members have had the opportunity to formally vote and provide their opinion regarding the City Manager’s proposal to contract out Santa Ana’s fire and paramedic services with the Orange County Fire Authority.”

While it is clear that the savings generated by the proposal are significant, and far more permanent than those negotiated with the Santa Ana Police Department (by Police Chief Paul Walters who also serves as Interim City Manager), it is still a sad day in the history of one of Orange County’s oldest fire departments.

  11 comments for “Santa Ana Fire Department’s 128 years of History to End

  1. February 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    It is a sad day for the city. It’s a shame when they have to choose between being fiscally responsible and protecting hoegeown values. The firefighters will still think of it as “their” city.

    How long before the police department is handed over to the sheriffs department? About ten minutes after Walters dies or retires, I guess.

    • Roger
      February 20, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      “Fiscal responsibility” is what should’ve prevented Wall Street’s $30 trillion credit bubble which–as pointed out by Stanford researchers–led to the financial crisis and the subsequent budget shortfalls for local governments across the nation.

      Conservatives will sermonize about fiscal responsibility until the cows come home, but they refuse to help reign in the reckless gambling that brought this mess in the first place. That’s because it’s less about fiscal responsibility and more about allegiances to corporate interest campagin funding sources.

  2. JohnJacob
    February 20, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    For years now, Pulido, Solorio, Alvarez, Martinez and the rest of the Santa Ana City Council have used the Contract negotiations with Police and Fire to leverage political endorsements for incumbent City Council members and City Council members seeking advancement to Sacramento. At least the ability to leverage endorsements from Santa Ana Fire will be gone now.

    • junior
      February 21, 2012 at 6:45 am

      “At least the ability to leverage endorsements from Santa Ana Fire will be gone now.”

      I like that thought – the SAFD brought this on themselves.

      Are you related to John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt? That’s my name too.

      • JohnJacob
        February 21, 2012 at 7:20 am

        Do you have ANY IDEA how Sick I am of that old warhorse?

        • junior
          February 21, 2012 at 11:45 am

          Maybe you should go by “Jack.”

          • Chiona
            February 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm

            Or Moron!

            • February 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm

              Have you something intelligent or insightful to say, Chiona, or have you depleted your intellectual capacity with your scathing wit?

  3. Santa Ana Resident
    February 21, 2012 at 8:01 am

    It’s a shame to see the end of an institution caused by the irresponsible spending over the last several years.
    The “savings” that are supposed to be realized by this move are really a paper lion.
    Consider that OCFA municipalities subcontract the patient transport to private companies. Santa Ana will likely have to spend several million of their “savings” doing an RFP and paying for that service according to the item on tonight’s agenda.
    Since the paramedics will be moved onto engines, what happens to all of the surplus equipment like paramedic vans the city spent millions on? They depreciate quickly and likely won’t recover their worth at sale in this economy.
    The staff and equipment redistribution and lower staffing levels will likely reduce the current Class 1 status of this department, resulting in higher fire insurance rates for all of the businesses and residents in the city.
    At the end of the day the savings with this transition will likely be less than the $10.5M number the city is touting.

  4. Chiona
    February 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Or Menso!

  5. Joe Bob
    February 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Notice anything in common with all of those last names. Do you think any of this has anything to do with the dumbing down of America?

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