Fullerton Fire Chief Rescues Entire City


When you think things can’t get any screwier at City Hall, look out! According to this story in the Voice of OC, the Fullerton Fire Department will save Brea taxpayers about $220,000 per year by sharing a battalion chief position that is now vacant.

Who would have guessed that Fullerton would come to the rescue of Brea , especially considering our serious budget problems and the deep cuts felt by many? Apparently, Fullerton Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe must be feeling some brotherhood kindred spirit howling from the mall next door and has taken it upon himself to experiment at Fullerton ’s taxpayer’s expense. According to Knabe, maybe it will work and everyone will save money, or maybe it won’t and we all lose. Makes you feel good, doesn’t it!

Maintain radio silence

In all fairness, let’s hear him out and see what our City Council had to say about Knabe’s plan… (deafening silence) It would appear our own City Council didn’t know we were bailing out the City of Brea and their Fire Department. In fact, no one except a couple of Fire Chiefs seems to know anything about this experiment.

According to the Voice, we will be sharing a battalion chief which will help both cities fill their respective vacancies with the same person who can be in two places at once. Neat trick; I’d like to see it though.

I hear sirens coming and they sound like the Orange County Fire Authority! Ok, here is a trick question for you. Brea citizens and the Brea Fire Department staff wanted to have the department “disbanded”, as the Voice calls it, and have the OCFA take over. Why? Sure the taxpayers save money, but what’s in it for the would-be disbanded employees?

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  1. #1 by Johnny Donut on August 10, 2010

    So Brea doesn’t have the balls to kick out their own overpaid fire department, and now they drag us into the mix.

    I’m sure it was such a wonderful idea that the chief didn’t want to tell the council until the last moment. Our council loves surprises.

  2. #2 by Bolsavik on August 10, 2010

    Funny hed. :-)

  3. #3 by Mark Shipman on August 10, 2010

    I’m kinda surprised there isn’t more support for this plan on FFFF. There is an opportunity to prove “public” outsourcing can work and can be done cheaper than status quo. There is also an opportunity to show that the current admin staff can take on an entire additional city. If your soapbox is built on government waste this sure sounds like a softball down the heart of the plate.

  4. #4 by nipsey on August 10, 2010

    I don’t see how Brea dragged Fullerton into anything, Fullerton is quite capable of dragging itself into things.

  5. #5 by Johnny Donut on August 10, 2010

    Mark, I might agree with you, but there are some telltale signs here that things might not be as simple as they seem.

    First, if the deal is equitable to both Fullerton and Brea, why doesn’t our council know about it?

    More importantly, notice that both positions are currently open. I’m pretty sure that FPD can’t fill any open positions right now, so that tells you that chief Wolfgang is probably looking to promote one of his guys. A check from Brea covers the cost.

    So what we get is the same fireman that we had before for the same price, but part of his time is spent in Brea and he gets a raise.

    Now that’s mostly speculation, but it’s plausible. And it’s not a good deal for Fullerton.

  6. #6 by Michael Beckner on August 10, 2010

    I’d rather have a regional fire authority than a city by city fire dept. in fact the one and only time I have ever called for paramedic (not fire) assistance, the Anaheim fire dept. was there first. That being said I live closer to the edge of Anaheim than to the center of Fullerton. Who knows, maybe we could save tax payers some money and have better service.

  7. #7 by LT on August 11, 2010

    I believe that Wolfgang is one of the best employees in the city of Fullerton.

  8. #8 by Who Cares on August 11, 2010

    If Brea is going to kick in money to pay for this, might not be a bad idea, especially if it that money goes to reduce the costs of Fullerton fire department. I mean really what does a Battalion Chief do anyway except mostly stand round and Administrate.

  9. #9 by Brass on August 13, 2010

    Right now, FFD has the position vacant. That’s better than a half empty glass…

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