New Palo Alto Fire Chief Eric Nickel sworn in Around Town, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Jan 19, 2013 at 8:55 am
After two and a half years without a permanent fire chief, Palo Alto held a promotional ceremony Thursday, Jan. 17, for Eric Nickel, the former Novato deputy fire chief hired to lead Palo Alto's $26.6 million department.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 18, 2013, 1:02 PM
Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2013 at 10:25 am
It will be interesting to see if this fellow does anything to justify his salary. There are currently almost no metrics for Department heads, in terms of performance. The City Council does not have any control, other than budget, to make recommendations that have any force, and the City Manager does not seem to be moving towards creating a transparent framework for operating the municipal government.
All-in-all, government in Palo Alto seems to be getting more expensive, less transparent, and very hard to understand--in terms of cost/benefit.
Posted by NCaifornia, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2013 at 8:02 pm NCaifornia is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
The fire department in Little Rock responds to more than 4x the number of incidents, covers an area 5x larger in terms of square miles, and had a population more than 3x that of Palo Alto and has a roughly similar budget. I cannot believe that it costs 3x-5x more in Palo Alto than Little Rock to provide comparable services. Moreover, I would guess we are in the top 10% of costly fire departments nationally.
Why doesn't the City benchmark and provide the results?
I am not opposed to paying firefighters a hefty amount over the benchmarks due to the cost of living in the Bay Area. They are extremely valuable public employees and they risk their lives for us.
However, I just do not understand how we are so much more expensive.
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Jan 20, 2013 at 9:31 pm
The avg price for a home doesn't matter. It's the pensions that this new council deals to get under control. Having a private paramedic company where the city doesn't have to paid into medical and pension fund should be look at. Firemen making six figures pensions after retiring at age 55 is insane! The city cannot afford this craziness any longer.
Posted by Me, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2013 at 11:30 am
Here's a suggestion, move to Little Rock. The cost of living is way less, think of the gigantic homes you could all buy when you sell your 2 million dollar Palo Alto homes? You could live your life stress free and not have to worry about city employee pensions and benefits.
Posted by Welcome Wagon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm
I'm with you, Michael and Kate - Welcome Chief Nickel! I love your vision and wish you much success with it to the benefit of our community. Don't mind the trolls, they are a permanent fixture on this list and don't represent the community as a whole.