Garden Grove

OCFA may replace city fire department

GARDEN GROVE fire truck (GGFD photo).

By Jim Tortolano

Garden Grove’s fire department is 92 years old, and it may not make it to 100. At Tuesday’s meeting of the City Council, the first public steps were taken toward possible replacement of the Garden Grove Fire Department with services from the Orange County Fire Authority.

No decision was made, but the OCFA – which serves most of Orange County and whose member cities surround most of Garden Grove – made a lengthy presentation to the council on how such a transition might occur, as well as cost savings projected for the city.

According to OCFA Battalion Chief Brad Phoenix, in 2018-19, the city could save $2.5 million, and $8.4 million over the first four years. Through the fiscal year of 2034-5, the projected savings could hit $23 million.

Under the proposal, all sworn employees of the GGFD would be offered a job with the Fire Authority, while non-sworn personnel – clerical, etc. – could be hired based on need and job vacancies.

Garden Grove’s fire stations would have the same staffing levels as before, except for an upgrade in paramedic personnel.

The OCFA is run by a board that includes one representative per city involved. Currently, the authority serves 23 cities in the county, including the neighboring communities of Cypress, Stanton, Westminster and Santa Ana.

Garden Grove’s fire department has its roots in the creation by voters in 1926 as the Garden Grove Fire Protection District, which became the GGFD after the city was incorporated in 1956.

“This is a big decision to make,” said Councilman John O’Neill (District 2), citing the process of weighing potential cost savings against a city department “the people are so attached to.”

Green set to turn blue

Also on Tuesday night, the council took action on the issue of the color of bus benches and shelters. After a lengthy discussion, the council voted 7-0 to have both the shelters and benches painted the same shade of blue.

Color “swatches” will be brought back to the council to select a hue to be applied so that all the bus seating in the city would have the same shade of paint.

The issue became public when new bus benches installed around the city recently were a bright shade of lime green, which brought some criticism from the public. In addition to the shade of green, the fact that they “clashed” visually with the blue bus shelters, which are provided by a different company, was raised.

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