Medford City Council Study Session
July 24, 2014
The meeting was called to order at noon in the Medford Room, City Hall, 411 W. 8th Street, Medford with the following members present.
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers John Michaels, Dick Gordon, Eli Matthews, Daniel Bunn, Bob Strosser, Tim Jackle and Chris Corcoran.
1. ESCI Fire Services Study: Mr. Swanson addressed the Council and provided an overview of the agenda for today’s meeting. He noted he would be reviewing the staff memo from Interim Fire Chief Bill Hoke. He noted that staff will also go over the staff recommendations; the Jackson County Fire District #2 (JCFD #2) comments; the IAFF union comments; and the response to those comments. He reviewed the schedule of upcoming meetings and noted staff will be seeking some policy direction from Council today.
He reviewed the top points and recommendations from the July 22, 2014 memo from staff:
1. Staff agrees with Jackson County Fire District #3’s (JCFD #3) direction of exploring opportunities for additional cooperative services between the City of Medford and JCFD#3 but not engage in functional unification, contract services, or annexation.
2. Staff believes that both agencies can move forward looking at cooperative service opportunities while maintaining independent organizations and their own leadership.
3. Staff also recommends that Council expand the direction given to Medford Fire-Rescue allowing them to explore cooperative services with other neighboring Fire Departments and Districts, including but not limited to Jackson County Fire District #5 and the City of Jacksonville, as to best serve our citizens and customers.
4. Staff also recommends that the City move forward with filling the vacant Fire Chief's position that is currently being filled by an Interim Fire Chief.
Councilmember Strosser noted he will be out of town on August 7th and would not be able to participate if this issue was raised at the August 8th Council meeting.
Deputy Chief Brian Fish addressed the Council and reviewed areas where cooperative agreements could be developed: including Operations, Training, Fire and Life Safety, and Logistics. He spoke to the feedback received from the stakeholders (Medford firefighters, citizens, JCFD #2 and IAFF representatives).
Deputy Chief Justin Bates addressed the Council and provided an overview of the comments from IAFF and response to those issues. He summarized that the main point of the IAFF response is that the current cooperative agreements with JCFD #3 are flawed and reduce the safety of firefighters. He referred to the July 17th memo to Interim Fire Chief Bill Hoke and reviewed the various points contained in the memo.
Deputy Chief Bates spoke to the handout listing the apparatus inventory and replacement schedule. This report also details the apparatus ownership.
Councilmember Corcoran spoke to his concerns regarding the communication issues between the line personnel in the Fire Dept. and Fire Dept. administration. City Manager Swanson acknowledged this point and noted that this will be addressed as we move forward. He noted that this will also be addressed with the Fire Districts who were involved in the process.
Councilmembers discussed their concerns regarding communication between stakeholders. Councilmember Corcoran noted he would not like any new Intergovernmental Agreements completed until a new Fire Chief is hired and participating in the discussions. Councilmember Strosser expressed he would like to have both JCFD #2 and JCFD #3 together to meet with Council.
Councilmember Gordon noted he will be asking the City Council to change the City Manager’s authority level back to the previous status. This would then require Council approval of all Intergovernmental Agreements.
Mayor Wheeler noted that he would like to see staff given direction to continue to explore opportunities for cooperative services.
Councilmember Jackle questioned items on the list of potential areas for cooperative agreements. Mr. Swanson addressed the questions and noted that staff is looking at areas where combining resources and efforts will be a win-win for both entities.
Councilmember Bunn noted that the staff has brought forward a recommendation and Council needs to provide the policy direction.
Councilmembers discussed the timing of moving forward and hiring of a new Fire Chief. Mr. Swanson noted that staff is prepared to move forward with hiring of new Fire Chief.
Councilmember Bunn noted that JCFD #2 had previously discussed the apparatus ownership issue and he feels that the City needs to look at this issue in the next budget cycle.
Meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m.