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GRASS VALLEY, Calif. June 22, 2018 – The Grass Valley and Nevada City Fire Departments are proposing a Shared Administrative Service (SAS) for Fire Chief. City Councils will discuss the proposed SAS at the regularly scheduled council meeting on June 26 in Grass Valley and June 27 in Nevada City.

Integration of the shared service between Grass Valley and Nevada City Fire Departments provides a unique opportunity to apply the theory of shared service in a real word application between agencies with similar fire concerns and governance.

The City of Grass Valley, City of Nevada City and Nevada County Consolidated Fire District have been providing exceptional fire services under a Joint Operational Area (JOA) that leverages the three agencies resources to maximize the service level to our communities. The Shared Administrative Service will have no impact on the exceptional service provided by the JOA agencies to our communities.

Framework Outline

The City of Grass Valley and City of Nevada City have a long history of cooperation to provide public safety services. In October 2003 Nevada City Fire Department, Nevada County Consolidated Fire District and Grass Valley Fire Department established a Joint Operational Area (JOA) encompassing the three jurisdictions. This unique agreement leveraged resources to maximize response time, efficiencies, and resiliency for fire protection within the JOA. Grass Valley Fire Stations 1 and 2 and Nevada City Station 54 are strategically placed to provide effective, rapid response to the Cities, as well as, areas of the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District adjacent to the Cities. The JOA agencies’ success in providing fire, EMS and rescue services is due to the implementation of a boundary drop agreement that sends the closest resources to an emergency regardless of jurisdiction. The JOA will remain an integral part of fire service delivery to the City of Grass Valley, City of Nevada City and Nevada County Consolidated Fire District, as well as, to allied agencies in Western Nevada County

The Shared Administrative Service Model allows for a streamlined administrative staff to oversee operations of the City of Nevada City Fire Department and the City of Grass Valley Fire Department. The model strives to eliminate duplication, build efficiencies, fiscal prudence, future vision, and sustainability of the fire agencies. In 2014, these ideals were explored for a shared service among the JOA agencies, unfortunately the concept was ahead of its time in 2014.

Background

The City of Nevada City operates one (1) Fire Station (FS) with a minimum staff of two (2) persons per day. The City is 2.19 square miles with an estimated full-time population of 3200. Events, tourism and other activities elevate seasonal population. In 2017 the City of Nevada City responded to 617 incidents. Staff consists of 3 Captains and 3 firefighters. The Fire Chief is a part time position, the Fire Chief functions as one of three suppression Captains assigned to a shift.

The City of Grass Valley operates from two (2) Fire Stations (FS) with a minimum staff of 4 persons per day. The City is 5.25 square miles with an estimated full-time population of 13,000. Events, tourism and other activities elevate seasonal population. In 2017 the City of Grass Valley responded to 3,521 incidents. Staffing consist of 5 Captains, 3 Engineers, 5 Firefighters, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Deputy Fire Marshal and 1 Fire Chief.

Both Cities share similar public safety challenges such as Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) on the perimeter of the City, Historic ‘old town’ areas with turn of the century construction, major transportation corridors, and increased calls for service.

Both agencies are signatories to several automatic aid agreements with jurisdictions outside of the JOA. These agreements provide available resources to our partner agencies with whom we may or may not have contiguous boundaries. In those cases, direct support from Nevada City or Grass Valley is provided for our partner JOA agency, Nevada County Consolidated, due to the geographical location of the Fire Stations within Grass Valley or Nevada City.

In addition, the Grass Valley Police Department and Nevada City Police Department have set a precedence by entering into an agreement to share the services of a Detective and Patrol Officers during certain work hours. This arrangement has proved to be mutually beneficial to both municipalities.

Opportunities

Provide exceptional public safety services to both communities.

Inclusive management with all staff through cooperation and leadership in development of our vision for the future.

Operational Efficiencies

  1. Single administration
  2. Standardized training, qualifications
  3. Standardized equipment
  4. Streamlined operational and administrative policies (Lexipol)
  5. Reduce duplication of special projects
  6. Benefit from unique, specialized staff skills
  7. Staffing for daily missions/strike teams/specialty skills

Fiscal Efficiencies

  1. Joint purchasing
  2. Future cost containment vs. immediate savings
  3. Evaluate shared emergency vehicle resources
  4. Identity other fiscal efficiencies currently unknown

Technology

  1. Explore technology to enhance operations and response
  2. Safety & accountability
  3. Documentation
  4. Data collection

Data-Driven Decisions

  1. Explore options for Fire/EMS data management systems
  2. Implement ePCR system to capture documentation of EMS events and trends
  3. Easily accessible data analytics to shape future

Miscellaneous

  1. Increase prevention & life safety programs
  2. FS assignment opportunities
  3. New firefighter training

Strategy and Implementation

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The one (±1) year pilot program framework will allow flexibility for exploration of operational and administrative opportunities to enhance effectiveness, build internal resilience, identify additional efficiencies, and evaluate the practical application of shared services. The dynamic first year will allow the Chiefs to define scope of work for each position, evaluate administrative work processes, develop relationships with City staff and elected officials. Additionally, the pilot year will ascertain impacts to staff, operations, and City to determine the practicality of shared service. The Chiefs will provide updates to the City Councils on the progress of the pilot program quarterly or as requested by each City.

Framework

  1. Pilot programs one (1) year in length
  2. Chief Goodspeed assigned as Division Chief
  3. Grass Valley staff loan one (1) officer to staff FS 54 during pilot
  4. Grass Valley Fire Chief will have oversight of Nevada City Fire Department thru contract
  5. Agencies retain identity
  6. Personnel remain employees of each respective City

Management

The Fire Chief, currently Mark Buttron of Grass Valley Fire Department, will provide general administration and oversight of the Grass Valley and Nevada City Fire Departments, including but not limited to: budget administration, personnel management and supervision, and similar related activities, all in accordance with the requirements and expectations of statutory law, the Grass Valley City Charter, the Grass Valley and Nevada City Municipal Codes, applicable Grass Valley Fire Department and Nevada City Fire Department regulations, applicable Grass Valley Fire Department and Nevada City Fire Department labor agreements, and the customary duties of a fire chief.

Under the supervision and direction of the Fire Chief, the Division Chief, Sam Goodspeed of Nevada City Fire Department, will be assigned responsibility for general operations and oversight of the Grass Valley and Nevada City Fire Departments. Goodspeed’s responsibilities will include, but not be limited to personnel management and supervision, and similar related activities; all in accordance with the requirements and expectations of statutory law, the Grass Valley City Charter, the Grass Valley and Nevada City Municipal Codes, applicable Grass Valley Fire Department and Nevada City Fire Department regulations, applicable Grass Valley Fire Department and Nevada City Fire Department labor agreements, and the customary duties of a deputy fire chief.

Governance

The City Manager of Grass Valley will provide overall supervision of the Fire Chief. The Fire Chief will also report to the City Manager of Nevada City. Nevada City’s City Manager will supervise the Fire Chief on Nevada City Fire Department matters, and will provide direction to the Fire Chief regarding any desired special projects or services to be performed for Nevada City Fire Department. In the event of a conflict between direction given by Grass Valley City Manager and Nevada City’s City Manager, the Grass Valley City Manager and Nevada City’s City Manager will meet and use their best efforts to resolve the conflict.

2 replies on “Grass Valley and Nevada City Fire Departments propose Shared Administrative Service model”

  1. How will this benefit GV citizens? Seems to me we will lose an operational Capt’s position to gain an additioal admin position. Don’t the value to GV citizens. Looks like a NV City bail out to me.

    1. Take your concerns to the city council meeting. However, there is no loss of a captain’s position. All shifts have a Captain assigned.

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