Last month's decision by the Piedmont City Council to pull the plug on sharing a fire chief with Albany left Albany with the problem of what do about getting a new chief.
The shared chief, Edward Tubbs, is retiring at the end of May, and Piedmont decided it wanted to end the two-year-old, 50-50 sharing agreement with Albany.
The Albany City Council agreed Monday night to proceed with recruiting a full-time chief. At the same time, the council agreed to restructure the second-in-command position of battalion chief so that it is no longer performed by a sworn firefighter.
In her report to the council, City Manager Beth Pollard noted that hiring a full-time chief will cost the city an estimated $85,000 in additional costs. She said the extra cost could be partly or fully offset by "by restructuring the Battalion Chief duties and responsibilities to non-sworn personnel and/or contracts."
The sworn position of battalion chief is vacant following a retirement, Pollard said. Because it's filled by sworn personnel with relatively more expensive retirement costs for sworn employees, the city could realize savings by having the duties performed by non-sworn employees and/or by contract, Pollard said.
The battalion chief duties – which include inspections, investigations, training and representing the department at meetings and associations – do not necessarily require the same training as that needed for active firefighting, according to Pollard's report.
The report is attached to this article.
In other council-related matters, the council received information in closed session about the lawsuit by Albany Strollers & Rollers and Carbon Neutral Albany against the city over the UC development proposal for University Village. The two sides are in settlment discussions, but no action was reported out of the closed session.
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