Fire Department and Community Political Essay

Total Length: 962 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 2

Page 1 of 3

There is a strong spirit of volunteerism in El Dorado: people often volunteer to improve the parks and to facilitate the transmission of local services, including those of the Fire Department (El Dorado Hills Fire Department, 2010, Official Website).

However, while public and local governmental support for funding the Fire Department is strong, recently there has been some legal controversy regarding appointments and policies within the district. For example, legal fees for the Garden Valley Fire Protection District (GVFPD) within the county of El Dorado were found to have "increased dramatically from fiscal year 2006 to fiscal year 2009" (El Dorado County Grand Jury, 2009-2010, p.1). "The legal fees were a result of personnel and disciplinary actions by the GVFPD" and there were payroll discrepancies reported during that period (El Dorado County Grand Jury, 2009-2010, p.3). The department was criticized for importing too many outside personnel to fight fires that did not understand the unique needs of the region. Despite these findings of corruption within fire departments, support for the mission of the Fire Department itself remained strong in the region. The sentiment was that the El Dorado Hills Fire Department had to uphold high standards, not that its budget should be cut as punishment for the corruption of local fire officials.

Today, the current Fire Chief has initiated many popular changes, including "redirecting operating funds to have a fully staffed fire engine available" at all times to enhance "the District's emergency response from Basic Life Support to Advanced Life Support.
This should improve the District's emergency response in the future; The District's finances were returned to the El Dorado County Auditor / Controller's Office for processing and oversight; longstanding personnel issues were addressed;" and "residency requirements for ICMT members were changed. All members are required to live within 100 miles of the District" (El Dorado County Grand Jury, 2009-2010, p.4). At issue, was not if the Fire Department should be downsized -- rather, it was how the available finances were being deployed in service of the public. Almost all residents agree for the vital necessity of a high-functioning department in a fire-prone district.

References

About El Dorado County. (2010). Fire Safe Council. Retrieved September 6, 2010 at http://www.edcfiresafe.org/

About El Dorado Hills. (2010). El Dorado Hills Community Service District.

Retrieved September 6, 2010 at http://www.edhcsd.org/our_local_government.html

Cooper, Michael. (2010, August 26). Struggling cities shut firehouses. The New York Times.

Retrieved September 6, 2010 at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/27/us/27cuts.html?_r=1

El Dorado County Grand Jury 2009-2010. Garden Valley Fire Protection District.

Case No. GJ 09-015. Retrieved September 6, 2010 at http://www.co.el-dorado.ca.us/grandjury/pdf_2009_2010/GJ09-015.pdf

El Dorado Hills Fire Department. (2010). Official Web Page. Retrieved September 6, 2010 at http://www.edhfire.com/

Minutes. (2010, June 15). El Dorado Hills Fire Department. Retrieved September 6, 2010 at http://www.edhfire.com/images/stories/BOARD_OF_DIRECTORS_MINUTES_July_15_2010_Amended.pdf.....

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