Instead of a person, Cambria’s new, temporary fire chief could be a department: CalFire/County Fire.
Tammy Rudock, general manager of the Cambria Community Services District, and Cal Fire Acting Chief Robert Lewin were to have met late Wednesday afternoon to begin developing an interim agreement between the two agencies. Under such an agreement, Cal Fire would temporarily provide chief-officer coverage and management of the CCSD fire department.
In fact, Cal Fire is geared up to do so now in emergency situations, according to a news bulletin from the two agencies.
On Tuesday, Rudock fired Fire Chief Mark Miller, a 30-year firefighting veteran. Because it’s a personnel issue, Rudock cited confidentiality rules in not releasing any details. However, it’s widely believed that the primary issue was a conflict in their management styles.
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The Tribune requested details from Rudock on the firing and Cal Fire negotiations Wednesday, but no reply was received by press deadline.
Cal Fire’s Lewin said his department would be filling in “to provide some breathing room so the community can figure out what they’re going to do next” about fire protection for Cambria.
A year ago, services-district directors heard a presentation from Cal Fire officials about services that the agency could provide the districts. But that presentation has little bearing on the situation today, Lewin said.
Now, “we want to make sure, first and foremost, that the community is protected” during the management gap at Cambria Fire, Lewin said, “and that everyone understands our role here is to do just that, help the community maintain its protection.”
He said those services include acting as command officer in emergencies and “taking care of management and emergency response.” — Kathe Tanner