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Fire Department braces for retirement wave

Original post made on Dec 18, 2013

More than a dozen Palo Alto firefighters, including many in leadership positions, are expected to retire in the next year or two, prompting the department to ramp up its succession planning, Fire Chief Eric Nickel told a City Council committee Tuesday night.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 9:46 AM

Comments (5)

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 18, 2013 at 11:07 am

This seems like the perfect time to think about consolidation of some functions with neighboring departments. While we value the excellent work of the PAFD, combining management and training functions with neighboring cities seems like a great opportunity to save money.

Any news on the renewal of Stanford's contract with PAFD? If Stanford goes with another department, it would cause a bigger resource re-alignment than the raft of retirements.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm

wow, I second that. I was going to post just about the same sentiment. Perhaps time for a new paradigm in fire prevention/fire resource deployment in this urban/suburban city - shared resourced with the region?

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Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I think it is healthy to have a local city run fire department, but man do we need pension reform...

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Posted by Just dandy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Higher pension costs and increased overtime. This sounds like a great deal for everyone but us taxpayers. Who is watching the till at the city government?

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Posted by
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 19, 2013 at 10:41 am

The Palo Alto Fire Department’s announcement that there would be a significant number of its employees retiring in the foreseeable future offers an opportunity to rethink the role, and cost, of the Fire Department—with an eye towards consolidating many, if not all, of its functions with nearby Mountain View, or possibly the San Mateo County Fire Protection District.

With yearly costs at/about $30M, looking forward it’s not hard to predict that the cost of this department will exceed one billon dollars in the next thirty years. By consolidating with other Cities, hundreds of millions of dollars could be saved—money that could be spent on infrastructure instead.

Using the Internet, and other technological solutions, we could install on-line fire detection equipment in every home and commercial building in Palo Alto--detecting almost as quickly as they start. With almost immediate notification, fire fighters could arrive before much damage will have occurred at the fire site—reducing the need for as many fire fighters, equipment, and stations.

With pensions dragging down every City’s finances around the country—now is the time to perform a full-cost model of our fire department, rethinking how to merge these services with our neighboring cities so that significant yearly savings delivering this necessary service can be achieved.

Palo Alto is too small to continue operating a fire department that responds to very few fires. It would be more sensible to combine with our neighbors—saving hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years.

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