Monday, November 03, 2008

Two Noteworthy Agenda Items NOT on the November 4, 2008 City Council Agenda

ABSTRACT: Two noteworthy agenda items not on the November 4, 2008 City Council Agenda, which should have been placed on the City Council Agenda, are presented, namely the City’s long-term fire protection plan for meeting state and federal laws, regulations and standards, involving staffing levels, training, and methods of operation, et cetera, and the Forest Theatre Schematic Design. BACKGROUND and COMMENTS on the status of the Carmel Fire Department and the Forest Theatre design process are presented.

• Carmel Fire Department
BACKGROUND: Citing NFPA 1710, OSHA’s Standard of 2-in-2-out, the Citygate Associates Fire Consolidation Feasibility Study, and the City’s own internal study (Public Safety Team Report February 2003), Public Safety Director George E. Rawson and Fire Chief Andrew Miller argued for an increase in the Carmel-by-the-Sea firefighter staffing from six firefighters to nine firefighters “in order to achieve constant engine staffing requirements, in accordance with current response standards” at the City Council Meeting on September 2008. After deliberation, the City Council “directed staff to explore the hiring of the three firefighters, without eliminating CRFA or damaging the identity of the Carmel Fire Department.”

Unfortunately for Carmelites, Public Safety Director George Rawson and Fire Chief Andrew Miller have failed to provide timely leadership on a long-term fire protection plan. For example, one aspect of a long-term fire protection plan is staffing levels. And while the Citygate Associates Fire Consolidation Feasibility Study’s Final Report was completed June 12, 2007, over 15 months elapsed between the completion of the Final Report and the City Council meeting at which the Public Safety Director and Fire Chief presented their recommendation of increasing staffing levels by three additional firefighters, as recommended by Citygate Associates, LLC. Moreover, the City was derelict in prematurely withdrawing from consolidation talks with the Cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove in January 2008 and in failing to place the consolidation issue on City Council Agendas for the purpose of educating and informing Carmelites about the Carmel Fire Department situation, especially given the fact that the City's contracts with Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments will be terminated in mid-December 2008 when the Monterey and Pacific Grove Fire Departments new contract takes effect.

(Sources: MINUTES SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING CITY OF CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA September 9, 2008 and AGENDA PACKET Regular Meeting Tuesday, September 9, 2008)

NOTE: View Firefighter standards on staffing. NFPA 1710 Video
Duration: 08:42

• Forest Theatre Schematic Design
BACKGROUND: In reaction to public outcry regarding theatre architect Richard McCann’s Forest Theatre Pre-Design, the City held a workshop at the Forest Theatre on June 19, 2008. And while it was understood that the public’s suggestions would be incorporated into the next phase of the design, the intent of the budgeted $65,000 for the Schematic Design and the timeline for public presentation of the Schematic Design were not addressed.

Again, unfortunately for Carmelites, the City was derelict in not placing the Forest Theater Pre-Design on a City Council Agenda many months prior to the completion of the Pre-Design Study, dated May 7, 2007, for the purpose of educating and informing Carmelites about the intentions of the Forest Theatre Foundation and the content of the Pre-Design (Richard McCann’s Pre-Design presentation was at the Special City Council Meeting, May 20, 2008). Moreover, a competent city administrator would have, under Announcements from the City Administrator, given regular progress reports on the Schematic Design at City Council meetings. Finally, the City has yet to inform Carmelites as to the placing of the Schematic Design on a Public Hearing on an upcoming City Council Agenda.


Anonymous said...

It seems fair to put a lot of the blame for this on the mayor's need for excluding the public from knowing what her government is doing and her need to micromanage. If Carmel's fire service were merged with Monterey's and Pacific Grove's, she'd lose control. No doubt she feels it's more important for her to keep maximum control than to make decisions that will benefit Carmel.

Anonymous said...

I agree the blame rightly goes to Sue McCloud. But in all honesty, what kind of men are cowed by a overbearing mayor to the point of compromising public safety. And let there be no mistake, the police chief and fire chief have put their own paychecks from the city ahead of public safety. Most people, I hope, expect their police chief and fire chief to fulfil their job obligations before bowing to the whims of a mayor. We should hold both of them accounable for not making the council face up to the hiring of three firemen much earlier and for not making the mayor put consolidation on the agenda months and months ago. I, for one, no longer trust the city or the police chief or fire chief to do what is right by Carmelites.

Anonymous said...

Please advise when the city hires the 3 firefighters and gets around to addressing the bigger picture of carmel fire dept. status. Will consolidation get a complete and open hearing? Will enough information be presented to Carmelites so we can give our suggestions? Will the council listen, or have they already made up their minds behind closed doors?