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 City of Manhattan Beach California - A Response from  the City Council on  the Fire Department  and  the MBFA Negotiations 23 May 2022 ( news )

City of Manhattan Beach California - A Response from the City Council on the Fire Department and the MBFA Negotiations 23 May 2022 ( news )

City of Manhattan Beach , state California
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   Official Statement:
   A Response from the City Council on the Fire Department and the MBFA Negotiations
     ( PDF )
   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
   MAY 23 , 2022
   A RESPONSE FROM THE CITY COUNCIL ON THE FIRE DEPARTMENT AND THE MBFA NEGOTIATIONS
   City Council Continues its Commitment to Keep Fire Services Local
   Recently , the MBFA has disseminated communications stating that the City Council has made misleading statements r......egarding the ongoing labor negotiations with MBFA . Meanwhile , the MBFA continues a widespread marketing campaign that includes misinformation alleging Fire Department mismanagement and a threat to Manhattan Beach fire services staying local . The following information is intended to dispel the notion that there is mismanagement within the Fire Department and assure the community that Council wholly supports keeping Manhattan Beach fire services local now and into the future .
   The City of Manhattan Beach is NOT contemplating a contract with LA County Fire .
   The City Council unanimously rejected continuing with a feasibility study to contract out fire services with the County of Los Angeles in 2019 . The Council continues to take great pride in providing local fire services , and its efforts at the negotiating table are designed to keep local fire services sustainable into the future .
   The City Council proposes to modify the contract to give the Fire Chief the flexibility to increase daily staffing .
   
   The current contract prevents hiring more than eight firefighters per day under the “Constant Staffing” provision . The City has proposed to make this a minimum number so that management has the ability to hire additional employees at any rank and increase daily staffing levels above the prescribed eight . The existing employee contract prevents the City from staffing extra positions without the Association’s approval and they have not been willing to approve the City’s proposal .
   The City Council supports Fire Chief Mike Lang , who was appointed in June 2021 and has provided stable and competent leadership .
   
   The City Council refutes claims that Fire Chief turnover has resulted in “costly mismanagement” or that there is “instability , uncertainty , and community vulnerability” related to the Fire Chief . The City’s Fire Chief , Mike Lang , is the second of two permanent Chiefs since the retirement of Chief Robert Espinoza in 2018 after serving for close to seven years as Fire Chief . Daryn Drum was Fire Chief from April 2019 through June 2020 . Police Chief Derrick Abell served as acting Fire Chief from April 2018 through April 2019 and Wolfgang Knabe served as interim Chief from July 2020 through June of 2021 . An MBFA Firefighter/Captain was Acting Fire Chief from June 4 , 2021 through June 20 , 2021 .
   The City of Manhattan Beach does NOT have “frozen firefighter” positions .
   
   Staffing levels are currently not and have not previously been at “critically low levels . ” MBFA positions were fully staffed beginning in February 2017 through the end of 2019 . In 2020 , the Human Resources Department limited in - person testing across all City departments due to the pandemic . There was one vacancy in MBFA for the majority of 2020 due to a retirement at the end of 2019 , and an additional retirement at the end of 2020 . In 2021 , the Human Resources Department conducted testing to promote a Fire Engineer and hire three new Firefighters .
   MBFA has again been fully staffed since September of 2021 .
   MBFA members have been the majority of top City earners , since at least 2009 ,
    largely based on overtime , including years in which the MBFA was fully staffed .
   The City Council is NOT trying to “privatize” fire prevention .
   The City Council has proposed hiring employees who are dedicated fire prevention professionals . Hiring specialized Fire Marshal and Fire Inspector professionals would enable the City to attract employees with career expertise and technical job knowledge to promote stability , consistency , and job knowledge at a lower cost to the City . However , the Fire Association does not want to change the current rotational assignment into these positions because these assignments qualify for a 12 . 5% increase in “assignment pay” for the temporary duties . Eligible fire - safety employees can retire immediately after their temporary assignment ends , increasing their pensionable income by 12 . 5% . This also causes added expense to the City .
   Additional information regarding the City’s proposals are outlined in the
   City Council’s Official Statement on Fire Negotiations
    . Although the labor negotiations between the City and MBFA are ongoing , the City Council would like to assure the community of its full support for the Manhattan Beach Fire Department .
   Please contact the City Council at
   CityCouncil@manhattanbeach . gov
    if you have any questions or comments .
   ###
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