David Marques will serve as the City of Manteca’s interim fire chief.
The Manteca Fire Department battalion chief is currently the acting fire chief following the resignation of Kyle Shipherd. City Manager Miranda Lutzow has picked Marques to serve as the interim fire chief starting Feb. 1.
A temporary replacement from the department’s ranks will handle the battalion chief slot Marques occupies while he is serving as interim fire chief.
Marques will continue his role of overseeing the city’s emergency services center that has been activated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency in mid-March.
Assistant City Manager Lisa Blackmon indicated the search for a permanent fire chief replacement will likely not start until the city hires a new police chief. Blackmon said that is so attention can be focused on getting the right person for each position.
The city currently has a survey on the municipal website seeking community input for their expectations for the city’s next police chief. The deadline to complete the survey is Jan. 31.
The city is also conscious about keeping a lid on ongoing salary costs.
That is why they are exploring options such as contracting out fire marshal duties to the South San Joaquin County Fire Authority created with the merger of the City of Tracy and the Tracy Rural Fire departments a number of years ago.
The fire marshal position has been vacant since mid-November when administrative fire chief Lantz Rey — whose duties including serving as fire marshal — accepted a position to head the Consumnes Fire District in southern Sacramento County to run that agency’s fire prevention division as assistant fire chief/fire marshal.
The two options that the city and the Tracy-based fire authority are exploring include management and a support services versions. The management option would commit up to 20 hours of the authority’s staff time. The support services option would be provided on an as needed hourly basis to provide support for their staff engaged in fire prevention activities
Based on what was discussed at the authority’s December meeting, their staff indicated due to “the dynamic nature of community risk reduction, the management scope of services was preferred to maintain a high functioning fire prevention program.”
Blackmon said the purpose of contracting services out for now is two-fold.
*It gives the city the opportunity to look at current staffing needs and not simply “rush out” to fill a position.
*It could also critiqued to see if going forward contracting that function out to a neighboring department is effective and serves Manteca’s needs. If it is, the city could then reduce its pension liability going forward.
Blackmon said the workload is large enough to justify an administrative chief.
She stressed the city wants to make sure that the management structure they ultimately will have in place is effective and efficient.
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