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Fire Contract - Council Moves Forward, Re-Opens Hershey Sale
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The cost-saving move to contract with Stanislaus Consolidated Fire District for fire department services moved to its final step with a presentation by Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Chief Randall Bradley at the Monday June 16 Oakdale City Council Meeting.

At a proposed cost of $1.8 million per year, with anticipated 4 percent increases in each of the next two years, Bradley told the dais that was absent of Councilmen Mike Brennan and Farrell Jackson that the city would be able to continue with its current staffing while having the specialized advantages of a larger department.

“The contract process is one of the most successful in California for fire protection,” Bradley told the group.

Bradley highlighted advantages of the process including, flexibility in assigning personnel, elimination of duplicated services, and the ability for managing the specialized regulations and characteristics of fire personnel rules.

Under the plan all 12 of Oakdale’s current fire staff and administrative person would be absorbed by Stanislaus Consolidated.

With the absorption of personnel, city management would be alleviated of all administrative responsibilities in personnel management, risk management, training costs, collective bargaining, and organizational development.

The city would still retain its unfunded liability costs when it comes to the transferring personnel’s accumulated leave times.

“We need efficiency and not so much management,” said Councilman Tom Dunlop, pointing out that the city has been without a consistent chief.

Stanislaus Consolidated is also in the process of merging Oakdale Rural Fire Protection District into its agency.

“We believe I will work well for your agency and our agency,” Bradley said of contracting with Oakdale. “It would be in our best interest to do this as well as yours.”

City Manager Bryan Whitemyer said the contract brought the best level of service at the lowest possible cost.

The last agenda item on reopening the sale of the Hershey Visitors Center Building brought local realtors to attend and comment at Monday’s meeting (see related story)

Both Whitemyer and Mayor Pat Paul apologized for being “hasty” in wanting to get the building sold and voting to go with Prudential Commercial Real Estate of Modesto and not an Oakdale firm at its May 20 meeting.

Whitemyer called for a request for proposals but suggested “minimum standards” for those applying to include experience in commercial sales and a minimum number of sales over the last 12 months.

Paul countered; suggesting that “opening it up to all” was a better process and later having a selection committee decide on the qualifications of individual applicants.

Several local realtors spoke also stating that some of Whitemyer’s qualification proposals may rule out qualified Oakdale firms. Whitemyer had asked that a minimum of 12 commercial sales be required which many stated was unreasonable for smaller companies.

The city decided to not have a minimum standard and call for proposals by July 2 to be screened by a selection committee of Whitemyer and Councilmen Don Petersen and Farrell Jackson. They hope to have a company chosen by July 21.

“We may have stepped out and did something we could have done better,” Petersen said extending an apology to local agents. “Hopefully, we can now correct things.”