Nearly three years ago, in January 2020, the City of Mill Valley and the Southern Marin Fire District entered into a shared services agreement that sought to leverage existing staff from both agencies to create a new, single management team for both agencies. The move was a first step toward an eventual consolidation of the two agencies, tightening ties between the Mill Valley fire stations at 1 Hamilton Drive and 26 Corte Madera Ave. and SMFD fire stations in Sausalito and Tam Valley.
On October 3 at a “community conversation” at 4pm in the Mill Valley Community Center (180 Camino Alto), officials from both agencies are set to back a formal consolidation. Former city manager Alan Piombo, currently serving as the temporary assistant city manager amidst new city manager Todd Cusimano‘s transition, is set to join Southern Marin Fire District’s Fire Chief Chris Tubbs, to recommend to the Mill Valley City Council and Southern Marin Fire District’s Board of Directors to submit an application to LAFCo for consolidation / annexation of the Mill Valley Fire Department into the Southern Marin Fire Protection District.
The agencies have actually had a shared services agreement in place since 2014, with the agreements viewed as “a means to determine the value, opportunities, and obstacles for a future consolidated effort between both agencies. Since then, both agencies have been creating efficiencies by sharing battalion chiefs, a fire chief, a fire marshal, and capable support staff. Further, the shared management configuration capitalizes on operational and programmatic proficiencies that are essentially unattainable as separate organizations. The result is improved service for the community, safer operations for our firefighters, and a strong governance model. Immediately, the value of consolidated fire services became self-evident. Support for consolidated fire services remains robust and firm from the Fire Department Administration team and Labor organizations,” the agencies said in a statement.
The agencies modified the agreement in January 2020 to include the executive & prevention teams, resulting in a single management structure for both the Mill Valley Fire Department and Southern Marin Fire Protection District. The district’s fire chief serves as the fire chief for both agencies. Officials say this allows the agencies to reduce administrative duplicity and create a single shared training division.
Officials say the district has 63.5 full time employees including a Fire Chief, a Deputy Fire Chief, a Fire Marshal, 2 Battalion Chiefs, 9 Fire Captains, 13 Paramedic Engineers, 5 Firefighter Paramedics, 16 Firefighter Engineers, 4 Firefighters, 1 HR Manager, 1 Finance Manager, 1 Payroll Specialist, 1 Communications Coordinator, 1 IT Coordinator, 1 Administrative Aide, 3 (2 full-time and 2 part-time) Fire Inspectors, 1 Fire Prevention Specialist, and 1 Vegetation Management Specialist.