Fire department may restructure |

Fire department may restructure

by Andy Bourelle

The South Lake Tahoe Fire Department is considering temporarily restructuring to help meet its administrative and communication needs.

“We’re just trying to restructure a little to help our line functions and administrative functions for the rest of this fiscal year,” said Brad Bennett, director of safety services for South Lake Tahoe. “Then we’re going to evaluate whether the temporary restructuring is more efficient and make a (long-term) decision come October.”

South Lake Tahoe currently has three division chiefs with a variety of administrative tasks. Each division chief works a different shift, and when outside agencies, other city departments, or members of the public call for information they may end up talking to a division chief who isn’t the most informed on the subject.

The temporary restructuring – which is made possible by a vacant management analyst position – will include the creation of a battalion chief position. The battalion chief could replace one of the three division chiefs, freeing that person up to become an administrative division chief.

That person, instead of working the “day-on, day-off-type schedule,” would work Monday through Friday, 40 hours a week. The administrative division chief is expected to create more leadership and effectiveness on a day-to-day basis.

It should also serve to reduce redundancy, and serve to reduce frustration for the public and outside agencies when trying to deal with the fire department, according to Bennett.

The temporary restructuring would not affect the budget for the remainder of the year, and any proposal for a permanent restructuring would be made during the next budget process.

The South Lake Tahoe City Council is scheduled to look at the potential of restructuring the department at a meeting tonight, 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

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