Mayor Garcetti Asks LA Fire Chief To Step Down - New York News

Mayor Garcetti Asks LA Fire Chief To Step Down

Posted: Updated:
Los Angeles, CA -

(FOX 11 / CNS) Fire Chief Brian Cummings, whose tenure was marred by questions about the department's response times, will step down at the end of the month, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today.

"By mutual agreement, we've come to an understanding on a leadership change with Chief Cummings,'' Garcetti said. "He'll be stepping aside as chief.''

Cummings will officially retire in February, but James Featherstone, a former fire captain, will take his place as acting fire chief beginning Nov. 1. Featherstone, the head of the city's Emergency Management Department, will return to that post when a permanent replacement for Cummings is found.

"I thank Chief Cummings for his service to Los Angeles,'' Garcetti said. "My agenda for the Fire Department is focused on reducing response times, improving technology, to make sure we're prepared for every emergency.'' Cummings has been with the LAFD since February 1980. He was appointed chief in September 2011 by former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Cummings said he will retire in February "following a period of transition.'' He earns $286,000 a year and will continue to be paid that amount through February.

Cummings said serving Los Angeles residents has been "an extremely rewarding experience.'' He also praised fire department employees and volunteers who "have risen to the multiple challenges of increased workload, decreased funding, staff reductions, fewer apparatus and aging equipment.''

"I remain committed to the ongoing success of this great department,'' he said. "I will retire confident that Los Angeles' strong support of public safety and the Los Angeles Fire Department will afford the continued provision of service befitting the City of Angels.''

Garcetti is in the midst of evaluating all department general managers as part of a re-hiring process announced soon after he assumed office July 1. The announcement came as the fire department continued working to repair its reputation after it was discovered the agency had been inflating response time figures. Cummings created a task force to tackle the issue.

As a councilman, Garcetti criticized Cummings for not having a plan to improve response times, but Cummings has maintained that the fire department needs additional funds to reach its goal.

In recent months, Cummings has worked to refocus the department's resources around medical emergency responses, which he said make up 85 percent of the agency's calls.

City officials chastised Cummings earlier this year for a plan to reassign firefighters to ambulance crews, saying he failed to sufficiently back up the plan with data. "There's no data, there's no beef,'' then-Fire Commissioner Alan Skobin said of a report Cummings presented in June. "I don't think there was any justification in terms of implementing this plan before there was a report,'' he said.

Skobin is now an unpaid adviser to the mayor on fire department technology. Frank Lima, president of the city firefighters' union -- United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, said he welcomed the announcement. "The Fire Department is at a crossroads and is in desperate need of strong leadership,'' he said. "Funding has been decimated and hundreds of
firefighters and paramedics have left due to attrition and retirement without a single firefighter being hired over the past five years.

"As a result, response times in Los Angeles have risen, the credibility of the department has been called into question, staff morale is low and both public and firefighter safety has been put at greater risk,'' he said.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Summit at City Hall on police-community relations

    Summit at City Hall on police-community relations

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:20 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:20:15 GMT
    Ways to improve the relationship between the NYPD and communities in New York City was at the center of a forum held Thursday at City Hall. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Rev. Al Sharpton, city officials and community leaders attended the round-table. Accusations of police brutality and the death of a man under arrest for selling un-taxed cigarettes on Staten Island prompted the discussion.
    Ways to improve the relationship between the NYPD and communities in New York City was at the center of a forum held Thursday at City Hall. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Rev. Al Sharpton, city officials and community leaders attended the round-table. Accusations of police brutality and the death of a man under arrest for selling un-taxed cigarettes on Staten Island prompted the discussion.
  • Workers trapped in trench collapse

    Workers trapped in trench collapse

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:19 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:19:38 GMT
    Two construction workers were rescued from a collapsed trench outside a home in Rye, N.Y. on Thursday.  Firefighters from across Westchester County responded to the scene at 15 Bradford Ave. at about noon.
    Two construction workers were rescued from a collapsed trench outside a home in Rye, N.Y. on Thursday.  Firefighters from across Westchester County responded to the scene at 15 Bradford Ave. at about noon.
  • Woman plunges to death over cliff in Catskills

    Woman plunges to death over cliff in Catskills

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:57 PM EDT2014-07-31 16:57:07 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    Authorities say a 23-year-old woman trying to take a picture by the edge of a cliff in the Catskill Mountains died after falling more than 150 feet.
    Authorities say a 23-year-old woman trying to take a picture by the edge of a cliff in the Catskill Mountains died after falling more than 150 feet.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices