At an October 3rd special joint meeting between the Southern Marin Fire Protection District Board of Directors and the Mill Valley City Council, the organizations unanimously backed a joint resolution supporting consolidated fire services. The move continues a process that dates back to early 2020, when the agencies 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 will put the Mill Valley fire stations at 1 Hamilton Drive and 26 Corte Madera Ave. those already affiliated with SMFD fire stations in Sausalito and Tam Valley under one structure, authorizing city and district leaders to submit an application to the Marin Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo).
Consultants from Citygate Associates provided a presentation and report. Additional discussion relative to the process, as well as supporting comments from John Grey, Local 1755 Labor Attorney, Association Presidents, Mill Valley Assistant City Manager Alan Piombo, and Southern Marin Fire District Fire Chief Chris Tubbs, was provided. The Citygate Associates report reviewed the merits of consolidation in-depth, answering questions regarding financial viability, operational efficiencies, and governance.
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.