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Commissioners Reorganize Fire & Rescue Services Division

(2/1) In response to budgetary challenges, the Frederick Board of County Commissioners today announced the reorganization of the Division of Fire & Rescue Services (DFRS). In addition, the board authorized DFRS Director Tom Owens to reduce the division management structure by eliminating one bureau chief and six lieutenant positions, resulting in a reduction in salary and benefits of up to $670,000 beginning in fiscal year 2012.

Board President Blaine Young said, "This Board of County Commissioners is making every effort to be transparent and open with regard to the countyís budget challenges and how we are working to address the deficit. We have promised that business as usual is over, and this is the first of many steps that we will announce in the coming weeks to balance the budget. We will live within our means and not propose any tax increases for the citizens of Frederick County. Status quo is not an option."

The divisionís Bureaus of Operations, Support Services and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Training have been renamed and responsibilities reallocated as follows:

  • Operations is now the Emergency Services Bureau and includes the areas of fire suppression, EMS, special operations and research and planning services.
  • Support Services is now the Technical Services Bureau with oversight of fire prevention, resource management, fleet services and finance.
  • EMS & Training is now the Professional Services Bureau with responsibilities over training, safety, health and wellness and information technology.

The Fire Marshalís Bureau will no longer be a stand-alone bureau, and is now a department of the newly established Technical Services Bureau. As such, the Fire Marshal bureau chief position was eliminated.

Of the six lieutenant positions eliminated, two were vacant, one lieutenant is expected to retire, and three existing lieutenants were offered the option of receiving a lower rank to firefighter III.

In addition to these actions, the Board of County Commissioners will also consider the elimination of 34 vacant DFRS positions to balance the budget and address the fire tax budget deficit. This action will come before the board after tomorrow nightís public meeting on "Fire and Rescue Service Funding and Service Delivery." The meeting will begin a 7:00 p.m. in the first floor hearing room of Winchester Hall, located at 12 East Church Street, Frederick, Md.

The public and fire and rescue stakeholders are invited to attend and provide feedback to the county commissioners.

For additional information, contact DFRS Director Owens at 301-600-1536 or via e-mail at towens@FrederickCountyMD.gov.