Jan 9 2012

City Council Candidates Discuss Issue 8: Investigating Savings for Fire Department

The PCA posed a series of 10  questions to candidates for the Piedmont City Council in the upcoming election on February 7.   Following are the candidates’ entire responses to question #8:

If service quality can be maintained, would you support an independent study to determine potential savings to Piedmont by adopting the Albany fire department staffing model of paramedic and fire protection services?


Tim Rood, City Council Candidate, response:

It would certainly make sense to have information about how our staffing model compares with other comparable jurisdictions. Given that we share a fire chief with Albany, the Council should first ask the chief for his opinion regarding possible changes to staffing levels and their potential effect on service quality – an issue that was not discussed in the 2011 budget workshop. The chief should be asked to prepare an analysis of staffing alternatives for Council and public discussion, after which additional study might be sought by the Council. An independent study of potential savings as well as possible impacts on service quality would be important information for the Council to have before committing to such a major decision.  It’s likely that current and retired experts on city management who reside in Piedmont could perform the independent study at little or no cost to the City.

Margaret Fujioka, City Council Candidate, response:

I support either an independent study or a comprehensive staff report to determine potential savings to Piedmont by adopting the Albany fire department’s staffing model.

Robert McBain, City Council Candidate, response:

I believe the Piedmont Fire department and its paramedic services are responsive, professional and timely.  Albany does have a different staffing model that has been evaluated by Piedmont city staff.    We must recognize, however, that the Albany model relies on support and aid agreements with surrounding communities that provide a very high level of mutual aid that would not be provided by Oakland.  City staff and the fire department should continue to evaluate the costs and response requirements to determine the optimal balance for staffing levels and minimize overtime costs.  We have a good system in Piedmont:  if we can make it more cost effective, then we should.


Leave a Comment