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Posted on: April 5, 2017

Possible CAL FIRE Agreement Available for Public Review

Mariposa County has released a copy of a possible agreement with CAL FIRE for command and control of the Mariposa County Fire Department. The terms of the agreement include three full-time staff to lead the department, perform fire code inspections, and enhance fire department operations. The County would also have access to more than a dozen other CAL FIRE staff including legal services, human resources, and the Madera-Mariposa-Merced unit chief, who would also serve as chief of the local fire department.

The release is accompanied by a comparison of expected costs with County estimates for an independent fire chief. The comparison shows the CAL FIRE model would be about $51,500 more than hiring an independent chief. The comparison does not account for recruiting, workers compensation claims, post-retirement benefits or some other unpredictable costs associated with directly-hired staff.

The CAL FIRE agreement could cost as much as $987,645 overall. This includes more than $214,000 the County is already paying for dispatch services and assumes that all employees used for the contract are tenured staff working overtime. Because the County would only pay for actual costs under the terms of the agreement, the total costs could be much less.

Mariposa County Fire Department has been operating under multiple interim fire chiefs for nearly three years. Past recruitment efforts have struggled to produce quality candidates, possibly because no other California county of similar size has a fire chief-equivalent position, motivating the board of supervisors to consider alternate leadership models.

CAL FIRE has similar contracts with more than 140 California jurisdictions and is already a partner in local emergency response. They are respected as one of the best all-hazards response agencies in the world and would work with county volunteers to streamline operations, recruit new volunteers, deliver additional services, and continue to provide 24/7 emergency response.

The Board of Supervisors will be discussing the agreement at their April 11 meeting. No final decisions will be made at that time.

Click here to read the agreement
Click here to see the cost comparison
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