Wednesday, March 09, 2011

OCFA Could Save $20 million & Pavement Report

Tuesday, at their study session - which was moved to the council chambers due to the large turnout - the Costa Mesa City Council heard a representative from the Orange County Fire Authority, (OCFA) briefly discuss their proposal to take over the fire and emergency medical services for the city. I've discussed the proposal before and gave you a link to the proposal. But, to keep you from having to plow back through the archives, you can read the staff report HERE and the proposal HERE.

The bottom line in this presentation was that the OFCA feels it can save Costa Mesa $20
million over a 5 year term, depending on which option is chosen.

After all was said and done, the council took more time asking questions - to be responded to in the future - than the staff and OCFA representative did with the presentation. Among those questions asked, but not answered, last night were:

Mayor Gary Monahan asked for more details on:
How is the City Insurance Rating (ISO) affected by this change?

Wanted a broader explanation of the manning standards.
How will our current mutual aid agreements be folded in?
What about paramedic transport - costs to residents?
How will Plan Check be handled, delayed and can it be streamlined?
Request was made for information about other contract cities? 5-year projections.
Different apparatus use and re-assignment.
What about
Personnel costs? Broader explanation required. Sick leave, vacation accrual, PERS costs.
They want a breakdown of the improvements in facilities required, who would pay for it.
Facilities life expectancy - need detail on work required and who pays for it.

Eric Bever w
anted more information on:
Including essential services in cost comparisons - HR, etc.
"Like for Like" quote when comparing efficiencies.

Response times comparison - CMPD vs. OCFA
Asset tracking for depreciation value.
Pension impacts on CMFD staff transferred to OCFA
CERT program training included?
nd time for Plan Check and cost basis?
Does rate include the fact that Costa Mesa is not bordered by Wild Land?

Jim Righeimer asked for explanations on:
Paramedic assessment units
Mapping data to calculate response times
Breakdown on cost savings between Options 1 & 2

What do you pay your firefighters?
20 year agreement with 10 year trigger - how does that work?
What are the $851,000 in "other" costs
How are pensions handled?
Fire prevention services - compare our charges to OCFA charges
How is transfer cost calculated?
Pension sho
rtage - $78 million. How do we know that we're not picking up part of that cost.
How are you presently handling the pension issue?

Wendy Leece asked for further explanation on:

Apartment inspection fees?
Dispatch process - potential time delays
Benefit of the front-end paramedic system you use
How will our firef
ighters be placed? Can they continue to work in city
How do you handle Fourth of July?
Effect of closing Station 6? Who is served by it?
Preparedness for terrorist attacks for Fairgrounds and South Coast Plaza
Are options set in concrete? Flexibility?
Helicopter response - Fullerton based. Timing

In addition to the above, Steve Mensinger wanted information on the following:
Reserve firefighter program
Dispatch - cost benefit
Historical growth info on CMFD 10 years
OCFA historical growth 10 years (Comparison to similar cities)

CEO Tom Hatch reminded the council that this is just the start of the process and that any other questions from the council or public should be forwarded to Interim Assistant City Manager Terry Matz. It will take 4-6 w
eeks to develop the detailed analysis requested by the council.

Just a reminder... this report from the OCFA was requested and paid for by the Costa Mesa Firefighters Association. First, that organization wanted to have a credible assessment done of our fire and emergency medical services and the OCFA is the only option for that kind of assessment. That assessment could be used by the council to determine if, indeed, they might want to contract with the OCFA to provide these services. The second reason was to glean ideas from the report on possible ways to improve our fire and emergency medical operations and still maintain our own fire department.


The study shows, and representatives of the CMFD acknowledge, that by shifting to the OFCA almost all our current firefighters would be negatively impacted, both from a wage and ben
efit standpoint. It is my understanding that the CMFD already knew that part of the equation BEFORE they suggested the study, but went ahead with the suggestion to try to help the city get over the current financial crisis. This fact is overlooked in all the inflammatory rhetoric being screamed around town these days.

The sec
ond item on the agenda was the presentation by Public Services Director Peter Naghavi and Ernesto Munoz on the status of our roads and alleys. Several council members complimented both men on the quality of the report, which I agree was an excellent presentation. Unfortunately, no staff report was available to the public. I'm trying to get my hands on a copy so I can give you more details in a future report.

Much of the discussion involved the formula for determining the condition of our paved roadways and the way the schedules of maintenance is created. More on all that later - I just couldn't write fast enough Tuesday evening.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Good report here Mr. West. I see you included all of Riggy's references to pension, however I was hoping you would also include how many times he said his favorite phases. You know the ones like, 'we can't kick the can down the road any longer' - 'i could drive a truck through this proposal'- 'i am god'... okay maybe I made the last one up. But seriously can we please start a "can" count? Maybe a contest where the person who guesses the number of times the 'can' saying is said wins a prize?

3/10/2011 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Geoff here is a link to the article about the new Bell city council members. What I find amazing in this article is the difference in attitudes. Bell is way more worse off than Costa Mesa but look at how these people wish to handle matters. These are the people we need. Can we trade councils so we can have one where the only agenda is to keep the city intact?,0,1459850.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fmostviewed+%28L.A.+Times+-+Most+Viewed+Stories%29

3/10/2011 01:10:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Jim, as much fun as it might be to count the "can" comments by Righeimer, Mensinger and their plants in the audience who come to speak in favor of their schemes, I fear I'd run out of fingers and toes pretty quickly.

Thanks for that link... what a contrast, huh? It will be very interesting to see how these rookies do leading a city in complete shambles - especially if they do fire the interim city manager and city attorney.

3/10/2011 06:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry P. said...

Good recap. I didn't see anything in the paper on this.

It's telling that OCFA can save our City that much. I didn't realize what a bloated fire department we have. Hopefully we can make some of these changes, save money and KEEP our current fire department. Guess that will depend on whether CMFD is willing to adapt and change!

3/10/2011 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Barry, I don't think it's a matter of our Fire Department being "bloated". The OCFA deploys using a different model and deals with the paramedic issue differently. This is the time when we REALLY should have senior leadership in place. Without a Fire Chief, Deputy Chief or Fire Marshall in place to provide a fire leadership perspective to the discussions we are severely hampered, in my opinion.

3/10/2011 09:06:00 AM  
Anonymous can kicker said...

The savings are going to be accomplished by a reduction in manpower and coverage. 20% fewer stations and firefighters will be the main ingredient. The wages and benifits differences between CM and OC are small and have virtually nothing to do with where these savings are comming from.
Public safety is a service. If you don't think you'll need it and you don't care about the level of service for your neighbors who will, then it's understandable that you'll be in favor of less.
The questions that were asked of OCFA are all legitimate and need honest answers (the council must read this blog and have seen some of those questions here). They certainly aren't being asked by the Register or Daily Pilot.
Unfortunatly with public safety in both police and fire being leaderless at the time, it's not clear that there is anybody to question OCFAs answers to these questions.

3/10/2011 09:43:00 AM  
Anonymous moe said...

i thought there was a fire chief. didn't they promote within?

3/10/2011 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

moe, nope. Kirk Dominic is the acting chief. The last chief, Morgan, retired and is now the chief at Newport Beach. Assume they won't appoint a new chief until the OCFA thing is resolved. That organization won't take chiefs in the transition. So, we wait...

3/10/2011 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous moe said...

ahhh. Got it. big difference. Thanks.

3/10/2011 02:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Bob M said...

Joe, Kirk Dominic is doing a great job by asking around to his troops... it seems the Chief that left and wanted to retire (again) wanted more money and left the ship before it was sinking.....Hum

3/10/2011 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Bob M., I've heard the same thing - that Kirk is doing an outstanding job, particularly under the difficult circumstances today.

3/10/2011 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

We could sell Fairview park for a boatload of cash....doesn't mean we should.
OOOppps.....they read they'll probably try and sell Fairview park......Damn.

3/10/2011 06:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Gerricault, we could turn Fariviw Par into a marina, by dredging to the sea, develop Banning Ranch as harbor front property too! It will be awesome. As I recall Riggy has a formula for changing property values and the ease with which it can be done with the right number of votes on council. It's all so perfect!

3/10/2011 09:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Bob's your Uncle said...


I believe your plan was "the plan" many years ago. I remember when the city motto was "hub of the harbor".

3/10/2011 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Costa Mesa PD and FD are getting along just fine without any seat warmers at the helm.

Why don't we just leave it that way?

3/10/2011 10:30:00 PM  

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