July 4, 2022

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Witt says he made ‘unpopular decision’ but laid foundation for future success as KCFD prepares for new chief | News – California News Times

David Witt’s two yrs as Chief of the Kern County Hearth Division proved to be A pair of of the tro.......

David Witt’s two yrs as Chief of the Kern County Hearth Division proved to be A pair of of the troublesome fire departments have ever confronted.

Hindered by extreme price range deficits, Witt presides over the worst wildfire season in state historic previous, a pandemic that requires the isolation of As a lot as 20 firefighters at a given time, and the Ridgecrest earthquake. did. However when he prepares Useful over the division to The subsequent chief, Aaron Duncan, Witt sees his work virtually carried out.

“What we have been making an try to do, we obtaind,” he informed reporters Thursday. “We really feel we’ve seemed again On The hearth department with The assist of completely differents. It is in all probability not seen but. My staff might not Be In a place to see everyfactor but, Neverthemuch less it’s Come.”

The fire department was in an unsafe monetary place when Witt was in cost, Suffering from a fixed structural deficit that had depleted assets from completely different county sectors for yrs. Witt was pressured To Clarify what he described as an “unpopular choice” and allowed firefighters to fill places To economize by further time. That is cheaper than hiring further staff.

However now, the county says the deficit has disappeared As a Outcome of of $ 4 million in money from widespread sources, Greater than anticipated income, and federal pandemic assist.

When Witt took office, his department wasn’t saving money. Presently, Witt says KCFD has saved $ 30 million. The department is now Succesful of regain 70 places that have been vacant final yr To Scale again prices.

“Now it’s time for A mannequin new groAs a lot as take it to A mannequin new diploma,” Witt said. “We now have Arrange a basis. It’s time for them To return and be a part of This fantastic fire station, the fantastic county of Khan.”

The oversight committee labored swiftly To commerce Witt. Decrease than two weeks after Witt publicly introduced his retirement, the board nominated Duncan As a Outcome of the subsequent chief. The board interviewed six candidates and finally landed on Definitely one of many 4 deputy chiefs.

“We thought-about All of the choices and have been launched with an array, but we felt That time was important and we had A very strong inner candidate,” said Chairman of the Board Philip Peters. I am going to. “I really feel it Is sensible from a board perspective to see whOn they expert and the qualities they Delivered to the desk. I gained’t converse Regarding The The rest of the board, but I’m Inside the department. Going with one of us appeared like a widespread consensus that it made sense given the constraints we had. “

Duncan will take command on July Nineteenth, giving Wit Greater than two weeks to forged a shadow whereas he learns the ropes of his new place. Giving new chiefs time to transition seammuch lessly was seen As a Outcome of the important factor to shortly appointing Wit’s successor. Collectively with Wit, three members of HQ have furtherly introduced their retirement.

Neverthemuch less, not All the “unpopular selections” have but been made, creating challenges for The subsequent chief.

The county Continues to be negotiating new contracts with 9 cities Which have contracts with KCFD for firefighting. This contract now permits cities to pay much less for providers than they value to carry out them.

Supervisors have accredited plans To enhance The quantity The metropolis has to pay to proceed using The hearth department. It Is Sort of important attain A mannequin new settlement To cease the department from creating ancompletely different deficit.

“We’re safe, but we’re not forward of The sport,” CEO Ryan Allsop wrote in an e-mail.

He added that many completely different county priorities, Similar to hiring extra lawmakers and addressing The want for fire department gear, Have not but been addressed.

“Sustaining our monetary place subsequent yr and With The power To fulfill A lot of the county’s key wants Eventually relies upon completely on the proceedd and fixed progress of our key county’s sources of income,” he said. Continued. “We should obtain Inside The subsequent few yrs To enhance The power of the oil and gasoline sector, managed spending, safe pension-associated prices, and income to fund all important public safety and extreme quality of life providers. Consists of the success of important work that Need to be carried out. “

Witt says he made ‘unpopular choice’ but laid basis for future success as KCFD prepares For mannequin spanking new chief | Information Supply hyperlink Witt says he made ‘unpopular choice’ but laid basis for future success as KCFD prepares For mannequin spanking new chief | Information