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May 4, 2010 > Newark Fire Department consolidates with Alameda County

Newark Fire Department consolidates with Alameda County

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Bill Mancebo

May 1, 2010 is a date etched in the history of the City of Newark. This day marked the end of Newark Fire Department's 100 years of service to the community as Newark firefighters joined Alameda County Fire Department. A Centennial Celebration and Change of Command Ceremony was held at Newark Fire Station No. 1 with approximately 300 people in attendance. Resolutions were presented by State Senator Ellen Corbett, a representative of State Assemblymember Alberto Torrico, Assemblymember Mary Hayashi; Alameda County Board of Supervisors Gail Steele and Scott Haggerty. Commemorative plaque presentations from the Newark Firefighters' Association Local 1483 to past Newark Fire Chiefs marked a community milestone at the event.

Consolidation has resulted in certain internal changes in staffing; Demetrius Shaffer replaced his Newark Fire Chief badge becoming an Alameda County Deputy Fire Chief. "The clerical support staff that was previously a part of the fire department will remain employed with the City," said Deputy Fire Chief Shaffer. "The term of the agreement is five years. Toward the end of the five-year agreement, staff from Alameda County Fire Department (ACFD) and the City will meet to discuss past performance and work to negotiate the terms of a future agreement. This information will be presented to the City Council so that a decision can be made to renew the agreement or consider other options," he added. "There will be an 18 to 24 month incremental integration period where Newark Fire Department policies and procedures will be standardized with the ACFD."

This change is due to ongoing budget deficits that have severely curtailed City of Newark resources. The five-year agreement was unanimously approved by Council, on February 25, 2010 to provide fire and emergency response services for the city's residents. A partnership with ACFD is projected to create an estimated $500,000 savings in the first year and similar savings in each subsequent year besides benefits of full administrative functionality and reduced workloads for other departments. Total estimated savings over the five-year period amounts to approximately $2.7M.

"With the consolidation, response times for the units stationed in Newark will remain as they were pre-contract. However, resources coming into the City to assist with fire department operations will be much quicker since all resources for the Tri-City area will be dispatched from the same communications center," said Deputy Fire Chief Shaffer. Additional efficiencies and economies of scale will be realized now that Union City has also chosen to contract for fire services with the ACFD.

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