Photos by Monica Zech
October 15, 2009 ) -- In La Mesa today, city leaders, fire department chiefs and staff from El Cajon, La Mesa, and Lemon Grove, gathered for the official signing of a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement (JPA). This agreement will create a shared management team to coordinate fire and emergency medical services, firefighter training, fire prevention, emergency planning, and community preparedness.
La Mesa Mayor Art Marid, El Cajon Councilmember Bob McClellan and Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom made it official by signing their names to three copies of the agreement as other Councilmembers from the three cities looked on. All three Cities had previously approved the agreement at recent Council meetings held in each city. This new agreement takes effect in January 2010. The fourteen current Chief Officers of the three cities will eventually be reduced to eleven. There will be one Fire Chief for the three cities.
The goals of the JPA are to create additional staffing capacity and contain costs, while maintaining a high level of fire and emergency medical services. It is projected that by sharing management functions, three cities will save a combined $560,000 annually.
La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid commented, “This is an historic time for our three cities in being visionaries and having confidence in our City staff to form this partnership. This JPA is a tribute to the City managers, the Fire Chiefs and all levels of the fire service. Yes, there are long term benefits, but this is the first step toward consolidating this level of services, and I’m confident we’ll be able to consolidate other department services that are common in each of our cities.”
The official signing ceremony took place at 11 :00 a.m., at La Mesa Fire Station 11, located at 8034 Allison Avenue.