Box 1, Folder 14, Document 9

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Box 1, Folder 14, Document 9

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Metropolitan Cities That Do Not Operate a Fire Department Shop,

The following question was asked of each municipality that is
covered by this survey. "As the Chief of your department, would
you give your candid opinion as to which method is more efficient?"

Cincinnati, Ohio
Chief B. A. Lugannani

Comment: There are good arguments pro and con on both methods of
maintaining equipment. However, all factors being equal, I think
there can be little question that when the repair shop is part

of the Fire Department, the quality and quantity of the work

are far superior to that obtained from an agency responsible

for the maintenance of a wide variety of automotive equipment.

A comparison of Fire Department maintenance shops in Cincinnati
and Columbus, Ohio readily demonstrates this. The Columbus shops
are well maintained, with mechanics trained in the servicing of
fire equipment ‘only, who devote their entire time to meeting the
needs of the Fire Service and who are subject to Fire Department
discipline. In Cincinnati the area designated as the Fire Division
shop is shared with street sweepers, a tire shop and a wash rack.
The general appearance is more that of a truck junkyard than of
an efficient, well maintained repair shop. Although mechanics
are supposed to be assigned to Fire apparatus, there is frequent
transferring of personnel so that some men whose major mechanical
experience is that gained in the lawn mower and small car shop
are assigned as Fire equipment mechanics under supervisors with
little more experience. Over the years, the Fire Division has
lost practically all effective control over this agency. The
situation in general is far from satisfactory.

There is an area, however, which a Fire Chief cannot ignore

in evaluating a centralized maintenance shop. This is the

area of economy to the municipal operation. Unquestionably

the maintenance of separate repair agencies--personnel,
equipment, buildings, etc.--for each City department cannot
help but be more costly than when they are centralized, taking
advantage of the economies that are achieved through the consoli-
dation of personnel, equipment and buildings. Although the
centralized agency will probably never serve an individual
department or division as effectively as one of its own, I
believe it can be operated with a degree of efficiency that
would be acceptable, if a City Administration establishes con-
trols that restrict the maintenance facility to a service
organization and insure the operating agencies of supervisory
control over their own work and full eqntrol over selection and
approval of their equipment

For a Fire Department that for years has maintained a high
level of efficiency and discipline, and recently attained a
Class One A.I.A. rating, our present maintenance facility

is an eyesore and a disgrace. City Administration is becoming
aware of this, and it is anticipated that some corrective
action will be forthcoming.
It may be of some value to relate some of our background in

this area. Until shortly after the end of World War II, the
Fire Division did have its own repair shop, with most personnel
being part of the uniformed ranks. At that time, in an economy
move, the City centralized the maintenance shops under one
Municipal Garage operation. However, the Fire Division retained
a supervisory position in the Municipal Garage with supervisory
authority over the mechanics working on Fire apparatus and with
some voice in the transfer of men in and out of the Fire Depart-
ment repair section. This man, under the Fire Chief, had full
control over practically all matters concerning Fire equipment.
His position carried the title of Supervisor of Fire Apparatus
and Equipment and had rank equal to a Battalion Chief.

In January, 1966, over strenuous objection of the Fire Division,
this position was abolished, and all operational control over
the repair facilities: by the Fire Division was taken away.

Since then, we have been able to show the need for filling the
vacated position, but it has been reestablished at the rank of
Lieutenant. The new position, however, has no supervisory
authority and little control over the shop work related to

Fire Department equipment and as to other duties and respon-
sibilities assigned to the former position at the Municipal
Garage. There has been strong opposition from the man in charge
of municipal facilities to the presqce of any Fire Division
personnel in his operation.

San Francisco, California.
Chief William Murray.

Comment: If we had our own maintenance shop it would be more

Jacksonville, Florida.
Chief J. J. Hubbard.

We operated our own maintenance shop until November 1968.
It is now under the City Motor Pool. It is my opinion that
if we had our own shop under Fire Department Supervision

it would be more efficient.

Fairfax County, Virginia.
Chief W. H. Burton, Jr.

Comment: Centralized repair shop for all the municipality may
work efficiently for the Fire Service, but I do not delieve this
would be possible without close control by the Fire Service.
Such control will necessitate a well qualified Superintendant

of Fire Equipment and other personnel, all under the control

of the Fire Chief,
Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Chief K. W. Hall.

Comment: Our Maintenance of Fire Apparatus is conducted by the
Equipment Division of the Department of Public Works. We are
satisfied with the service and feel that it is more efficient <
and economical than it was when under the Fire Department. Yo
This is partly due to having to use the shop to employ various
disabled fire fighters whereas this is not possible now.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Chief Harry J. Keller.

Comment: No, we do not operate our Maintenance Shop. It is
my opinion it would be better under the Fire Department Super-
vision. : .

Newark, New Jersey.
Chief J. M. Redden.

Comment: I find that centralized maintenance, as opposed to
a Fire Department operated shop, to be a severe detrement to
Fire Department operations. —

Cleveland, Ohio.

Comment: A separate and.complete maintenance would be more
efficient. :

New Haven, Connecticut.
Chief Frank Sweeny.

Comment: No Department takes care of its equipment like the
Fire Service. You will not be satisfied with a City operated
repair complex.

Jersey City, New Jersey.
Chief R. A. Gibney.

Comment: A central garage maintained by the Department of
Public Works maintains our equipment. This arrangement has
been in existence short period of time. Unable to say which
method is more efficient.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Comment: A shop operated by the Fire Department for Fire Depart-
ment equipment is the only way a large Department can keep equip-
ment rolling.
Salt Lake City, Utah.

Comment: Public Safety Garage comprises: Fire Department,
Police Department, and Board of Health, all under the direction
of the Fire Department Master Mechanic. We think our system

of public safety works very well. We always have our fire
apparatus under our supervision.

Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Chief E. S. Hawkins.

Comment: We had our own shop for some 50 years, but for many
reasons--cost, help, etc., we joined a Central City Maintenance
Shop. A Fire Department Shop is more efficient when adequate
quarters and personnel can be provided. Most cities are growing
so rapidly that a Central Garage is a mist. We have a firm
understanding that our emergency equipment comes first.

Richmond, Virginia.
Chief Sherry.

Comment: I think a separate Maintenance Shop is more efficient
and more economical.


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