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Consolidated Fire Board Eliminates 21 Positions

The Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District board voted on Thursday, June 6 to eliminate 21 positions from its department, equivalent to the staff levels it maintained while covering the Oakdale area.

The action came following decisions by the Oakdale City Council and the Oakdale Fire Protection District Board that withdrew from its contract with SCFPD, voted at the end of May.

The current five-year contract between the Oakdale groups and the SCFPD is scheduled to expire on June 30.

Representative of Firefighters Local 3399 on Thursday sought to have the board name their members who would be receiving pink slips after the action, but President Susan Zanker declined to provide them, saying they would be receiving certified letters from the district. She said the firefighters should learn about the changes personally, and not through the media or from the union.

In his staff report to the board, Fire Chief Mike Whorton recommended elimination of nine Captain positions, nine Engineers and three Firefighters. During the discussion, Whorton said he could not guarantee whether Modesto Fire would hire the Oakdale staff, so their fate is unknown.

The layoff action came at a special board meeting, on Thursday, June 6, during a closed session and following a half-hour public discussion.

The combined Oakdale boards recently approved a new fire services contract with the City of Modesto Fire Department.

The Modesto City Council was to vote on the contract at its Tuesday, June 11 session. The new contract would take effect with the start of the new fiscal year, July 1. The agreement – if approved by Modesto at the council meeting – would be for three years, from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2022.

According to Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer, the new contract will be a little more expensive than the old one, but includes more services as well.

“Previously we had seven firefighters on duty 24 hours, now we will have eight,” Whitemyer said of one of the major changes.

The firefighters will service Oakdale Rural and city proper areas, in addition to Knights Ferry and Valley Home fire stations.