The City Council of Monterey Park last week approved a discussion about consolidating the fire department staffs with cities of Alhambra, San Gabriel, South Pasadena, and San Marino. The plan is to share or merge the Battalion Chiefs of five cities in an attempt to save the overtime expenses. Yet the approval generates strong opposition from the public, reports World Journal (世界日报).
Each city currently has one battalion chief on duty at all times, as Pasadena Star-News reports. The consolidation plan would extend their service to all the cities if the proposal was implemented.
Acting Monterey Park Fire Chief Jim Birrell, the official leader of the discussion voted by the council, says the plan will not cut down the number of battalion chiefs but will save unnecessary overtime expenses through sharing.
Nonetheless, many residents don’t support the plan. John Gee, a resident of Monterey Park, worries the reaction capacity of fire departments to emergencies will decline if battalion chiefs become responsible for multiple cities at once when on duty.
A city code requires resident approval for any significant change in fire protection services.