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Fire Chief: New Department Running Smoothly

The new San Carlos Fire Department still has five vacancies but is meeting call response times.

Seventeen days in operation, is making a smooth transition with the and is meeting call response times, fire officials told the City Council Monday.

The city dissolved the , and on Oct. 1 officially shifted to a homegrown fire department with Redwood City filling management positions.

The employees, now sporting new logos and badges, are a mix of former Belmont-San Carlos Fire Department employees and transfers from Bay Area and state fire departments, according to a city staff report.

The department is still trying to fill five vacancies, and Fire Chief Jim Skinner said the department should be fully staffed within a month. The department will then have 21 employees.

To accommodate for the lack of personnel, the department has been adjusting staffing on a daily basis, said Deputy Chief Stan Maupin.

Despite the vacancies, the department has been exceeding response times for emergency calls and is averaging 5.5 calls per day, Maupin said.

Redwood City and San Carlos fire departments have established technology and communication interconnectivity, and Redwood City is processing payroll for San Carlos firefighters.

Firefighters had a booth at the and have been making school visits for community outreach and education.

“The reaction to us was very, very welcoming, and it’s definitely something we are going to continue,” Skinner said.

The department is planning an open house for next month and will be participating in several upcoming events, including the on Oct. 28, Santa’s arrival by helicopter on Dec. 3 and Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 28, he said.

“We want to be part of the fabric of the city,” Skinner said.

Councilman Matt Grocott lauded the progress the fire department has made and said it could be a model for future service consolidations.

The council also approved a CalPERS retirement package for fire department employees.

The benefits package with CalPERS gives fire employees a 2 percent at 50 retirement formula, according to a city staff report. The contract will be effective Oct. 24, the first day of the next pay period, the report says.

Council to revisit sustainability association membership

The council directed staff to schedule a hearing to discuss the city’s membership with ICLEI, an international association for local governments committed to sustainability.

During public comment regarding the city’s strategic plan, several speakers said the organization takes away local control and the pros and cons of membership need to be vetted in a public meeting.

“It needs to be investigated and debated what the membership in ICLEI actually means,” said Bob Cohen, of Menlo Park.

Glenn October 18, 2011 at 03:27 PM
It is great news that the city of San Carlos is willing to review it's membership. I am certain that after reviewing the true goals of ICLEI and the subtrifuge it has employed to bring a UN mandate into our local communities via services and software the community will reject it's tennents and urge the council to cancil it's membership.
Angie Lax October 18, 2011 at 03:37 PM
Nice article but maybe you should have placed a photo of the San Carlos Fire Department-not Engine/Station 15-Belmont. I will see if I can add a photo above!
carole robinson October 18, 2011 at 03:47 PM
I certainly want to be able to be present and see what the council learns from investigating ICLEI, and hope to provide information to them if nexessary.
Anita L. October 18, 2011 at 08:00 PM
I also am glad that the City of San Carlos will revisit & learn more & cancel the membership with ICLEI, United Nations's mandate,for our folks lives. We've had enough of hidden agendas & lies,that are hurting our local families & hindering their survival. What hurts our rural farmers, will also trickle down to us. We need to protect PEOPLE, not take more away from them. Thank you, Anita L.
Jamie White (Editor) October 19, 2011 at 12:58 PM
Thanks for adding a photo, Angie!
Concerned Taxpayer October 19, 2011 at 09:25 PM
Yes please review and cancel membership in ICLEI. The last thing we need is some outside group mandating what we do in our own town.
Concerned Taxpayer October 19, 2011 at 09:29 PM
I do find it very interesting that Matt Grocott now appears to be supportive of the new Fire Department structure and even promoting the idea of service consolidation. People need to remember that this is what you get with Matt - He votes no even when he is the only one, he demagogues issues like this and he tries to play the other side. Now he is championing what he was against? Where are his minions that told us that going this direction with the Fire Department was going to lead to death and destruction? Hardly the case!

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