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County Executive Laura Neuman Announces 90-Day Plan

Publish Date: 06/28/2013

Annapolis, Maryland (June 28, 2013) — Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman today announced that Acting Fire Chief Michael Cox submitted a 90-day strategic plan to increase the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the Fire Department.

“I commend Chief Cox for submitting a plan that enhances fire department services at no extra charge to taxpayers,” stated County Executive Neuman.  “The plan focuses on a more cost-effective use of resources, response time improvements, and a more efficient management structure.  Most importantly, these changes will better serve the citizens of the County.”

At the request of the County Executive and in an effort to be more cost-conservative, the Department canceled the planned purchase of an airboat that would double as a high capacity smoke removal fan and discontinued plans to stripe three new ambulances and one command vehicle with pink vinyl year round in support of breast cancer awareness.  Instead, the department opted to initiate more cost effective solutions that would make better use of tax payer dollars by purchasing a high capacity trailer mounted fan at a fraction of the cost of a boat.  Likewise, the Department will continue to support breast cancer awareness during the month of October by wearing pink shirts and outfitting emergency apparatus with breast cancer awareness ribbons.

The plan also provides for the reassignment of personnel to better serve the needs of the residents, provide a 24 hour Safety/Quality Assurance Officer, and restore a fourth geographical response area.

The reassignment of personnel improves response times by allowing faster processing of 911 calls and corrects the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) deficiencies at the Galesville and Herald Harbor fire stations by allocating additional career personnel to these stations.  The reassignment also corrects the unfavorable insurance rating the Department received during the last Insurance Services Review completed in 2007.  The reassignment of additional personnel to these fire stations will result in improved insurance rates for the respective communities and cost savings for the residents in these areas.    The ISO deficiency at Maryland City fire station will be resolved with the hiring of additional personnel.

As a result of the recent binding arbitration decision regarding the firefighters work shift schedule it will be necessary to hire additional personnel in order to cover vacancies within the department and staffing a fourth shift.  Covering the fourth shift was previously accomplished with overtime.  Working excessive amounts of overtime and back-to-back 24 hour shifts presents a safety concern for firefighters, paramedics and the public.  Ultimately, the number one goal is to protect the safety and welfare of our citizens and fire personnel.

Finally, the plan addresses management changes and enhancements within the Fire Department. Some managers have been reassigned from a 24 hour day to an 8 hour day which helps to improve the overall efficiency, communication, and work processes.  It also supports a collaborative working relationship among the Department’s stakeholders and volunteer organizations, and creates a more effective and efficient organization.


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