The City is considering an ordinance for first reading on Monday, October 19th to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Kirkwood for the development of an Intergovernmental Agreement to provide Fire Chief services. What does the ordinance include?
The City of Glendale (Glendale) is considering approval of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Kirkwood (Kirkwood) to develop an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that would allow Kirkwood to provide Glendale Fire Department (GFD) with a Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, and an Administrative Associate.. Glendale has been without a permanent Fire Chief since Chief Curtis VanGaasbeek took a position with a fire district in October 2019.
The Memorandum of Understanding is not a final service agreement; rather, it is intended to be a framework around which an agreement will be developed with significant input from both the Glendale and Kirkwood Fire Departments. The current ordinance only authorizes the Mayor to sign the MOU. A separate ordinance will be required to approve the IGA.
The MOU contemplates service beginning January 1, 2021. This date was selected to coincide with the start of ambulance and dispatching service.
Does this mean Glendale is outsourcing its Fire Department to Kirkwood?
No. The MOU specifically considers Glendale as having its own department and retaining its own rolling stock, buildings, fixtures, equipment, and station facilities. GFD remains responsible for all fire prevention and suppression within its jurisdiction.
The Board of Aldermen has not considered and is not considering the outsourcing of the Glendale Fire Department. This MOU is only intended to bring our two fire departments closer operationally and take advantage of the cost savings and efficiencies that this opportunity affords.
If the MOU and subsequent IGA is approved, will anyone in the GFD lose their jobs or positions?
No. Glendale has been without a permanent Fire Chief since Chief VanGaasbeek left in October 2019. Since then the Captains have helped manage GFD operations as needed. They and all other GFD personnel will remain in their current positions.
Why is the City of Glendale considering contracting with another agency to provide Fire Chief services?
The City of Glendale runs on a tight budget. That tight budget requires that the City find cost savings and efficiencies wherever it can. Since the retirement of the last full-time Chief in 2016, the City has tried a PT Chief model, as well as a hybrid Chief/Captain model. The Board of Aldermen has determined that both of those models are imperfect for Glendale’s needs and is seeking a new model. The Board of Aldermen and staff are excited to see where the shared service model can take the community and organization. GFD and KFD already enjoy a close relationship, one that will be even closer with the pending dispatch and ambulance service transition. Sharing a Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, and Administrative Associate further strengthens our bonds and ties in well with the dispatch and ambulance services.
Does Glendale contract with any other entities for any other municipal services?
Yes. Glendale recently contracted with Kirkwood for dispatching and ambulance services. The City also contracts with Saint Louis County for all of its building inspections. In 2019 the City began contracting for Vector Control services from St. Louis County and ended its own in-house mosquito fogging program. In the case of Court Administration, Glendale provides court management for Oakland and Warson Woods. Additionally, Glendale provides Warson Woods with Fire/EMS services. The City is always searching for partnerships which make financial and operational sense.
I want to offer my thoughts to the Mayor and Board on this topic. How can I do so?
Public participation in this process can take one of three forms: