Letter to Fire Partners from Consultant on Fire Unification 8 April 2017

April 8, 2017

City of Littleton
Littleton Fire Protection District Highlands Ranch Metro District

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Center for Public Safety Management, LLC, was retained by your respective agencies to conduct a review of the fire consolidation proposal involving your organizations (Littleton Fire Partners) and the South Metro Fire Protection District. On April 5th and 6th, Michael Iacona, our Senior Manager for Fire/EMS, and I were on site and conducted a series of interviews with area fire chiefs, city and district elected officials, and the city’s administrative staff. During these interviews, we were advised by the fire chiefs, who are developing the consolidation proposal, that the draft consolidation document would not be available for review for at least another 30-days (probably mid- May of 2017). We believe that the review of this document is essential to our ability to fully understand the parameters around which the consolidation agreement will be based and for us to provide you with any recommendations regarding its approval.

It is also our opinion that the elected officials of the three partner organizations, are not in control of the consolidation discussion and that the process is being managed without sufficient input or even full awareness of the elected officials who will ultimately bear responsibility for making decisions that will dramatically affect their constituents. Based upon our current knowledge of the status of this potential consolidation we offer the following recommendations;

Recommendation #1
Completion of our study be delayed until we receive the proposed unification agreement and can closely review this document.

In addition, we observed a nearly unanimous opinion amongst each of the respective elected boards and the city council, that the current review process was insufficient in providing the level of understanding needed for them to move forward in their review process.

Recommendation #2
A Consolidation Review Group be established under the coordination of the Littleton City Manager’s office.

This team should be responsible for the oversight of this process including the development of the proposal; insuring its legal sufficiency; verification of financial estimates and insuring that the relevant personnel guidelines are being adhered to. We believe that the team necessary to provide this level of oversight should include representation from each of the partner agencies, and members of the city’s financial, legal, and Human Resources staff. Furthermore, we believe that this group should be the conduit responsible for the dissemination of documents to all involved parties of all related information and to provide periodic updates to each of the elected bodies and be responsible for developing the applicable timelines for implementation. CPSM believes that our ability to interact with an oversight group charged with this effort will be a more effective method in obtaining the required information needed in developing our analysis.

Recommendation #3
The Consolidation Review Group should immediately obtain, from the fire chiefs developing the proposal, copies of all materials developed to date, including draft documents, and that these materials be disseminated to all officials of each of Littleton Fire Partner entities.

Finally given the uncertainties involved in the ultimate outcome of this yet to be developed consolidation proposal, it seems clear to us that any decisions regarding the current configuration of the partnership be postponed until the partners are positioned to determine the future direction of the partnership.

Recommendation #4
Any meaningful decisions regarding the Littleton Fire Department, such as equipment purchases, internal organization, employment, promotions, etc., be postponed until this matter is fully resolved. This specifically includes the transfer of Littleton Fire Department fire communications and dispatching.

CPSM is committed in its efforts to assist the Fire Partners in providing an unbiased and comprehensive assessment of the terms of the proposed agreement. We are available to assist in this effort so please feel free to contact me at Lmatarese@cpsm.us or (716) 969-1360 if you have any questions.


Leonard A. Matarese, ICMA-CM, IPMA-SCP Managing Partner

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