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Will Albany, Piedmont Share New Fire Chief?

The current job-sharing agreement between the two cities doesn't allow for automatic substitution of a new chief when current Fire Chief Ed Tubbs retires at the end of May 2013.

The City of Piedmont will most likely begin the recruitment process to replace retiring Fire Chief Edward Tubbs immediately, but it's not clear yet if the City of Albany will share the new chief's services.

Piedmont City Administrator Geoffrey Grote said Friday that under the current job-sharing agreement between the two cities, Piedmont cannot automatically substitute a new chief — the agreement is tied specifically to Tubbs' services. The substitution of a new chief would require an amendment, he said. Otherwise it will end with Tubbs' retirement.

In addition, Grote said, it's possible that the Piedmont City Council may decide that a new chief should work exclusively for the Piedmont Fire Department, at least during the first few months of his or her tenure.

Grote said he and Albany City Manager Beth Pollard have started discussions on the fire chief issue and plan to confer again Wednesday morning.

Tubbs announced his retirement last week. It will be effective at the end of May, 2013.

Tubbs joined the Piedmont Fire Department as its chief in August, 2010. In April of the following year, Albany and Piedmont agreed to a one-year pilot program where Tubbs would split his time between the two cities. The job-share program was renewed for another two years in April of 2012.

Grote said he will ask the Piedmont City Council tonight for an appropriation to begin the recruitment process for a new fire chief. 

Before the city can publish a formal description of the job, though, city council members will need to decide if a new fire chief's services would be available to Albany immediately or if they would prefer a "breaking in" period where the new person worked solely for the Piedmont Fire Department, Grote said.

Tubbs worked exclusively for Piedmont for several months before the two cities agreed to share his services, Grote noted.

Tubbs is an employee of the City of Piedmont, while the City of Albay contracts for his services.

Under the initial agreement, Tubbs got a 10 percent raise for the extra work of managing two departments, for a total of about $266,750 in salary and benefits. He continued to be a Piedmont municipal employee, with Albany reimbursing the city for its share of his pay.

The program saved Piedmont about $111,000 in its first year, while Albany saved about $85,000.

In Albany, Tubbs replaced Fire Chief Marc McGinn, who officially retired in the summer of 2010 but continued working on a salary-only basis until the job-share program went into effect. 

garrett Keating January 07, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Paul's right - Wikipedia says Albany is 60% water, not a high fire danger. Paul, do you know how many fires/EMT/Rt80 accidents AFD responds to each year?
montymarket January 09, 2013 at 03:27 AM
Why Piedmont? Isn't Kensington or El Cerrito actually contiguous with Albany (albeit in Contra Costa County)? Just asking.
Rick Schiller January 20, 2013 at 10:23 PM
My analysis of the 1.7 sq. mile Piedmont area was a lead-in to the rapid response possible by Piedmont public safety. If serviceable area in Albany is, as some have stated, approximately the same as Piedmont, the distances required to get to those serviceable areas are still greater.
Don Jose January 25, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Fire Agencies cannot have a jurisdiction that spans two counties due to each County Health Director dictating EMS protocols that are county specific. For more details please research Dublin-San Ramon Services District Fire department. They were split into San Ramon Valley Fire and Dublin (contracted with Alameda County Fire) in the late 90's for this exact reason.
Paul O'Curry January 25, 2013 at 11:29 PM
Albany's Fire Marshall is retiring soon. Maybe we might be better off with a combined Chief/Fire marshall position? Keep everything in house.

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