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New city report urges sweeping changes in L.A. Fire Dept.

Audit prescribes improvements to management style

City News Service | 3/6/2014, midnight

UFLAC President Frank Lima said the consultants did not ask the union for input during the preparation of the report and “on first blush” he is “amazed at the lack of professionalism” displayed by the consultant.

“It is no different than a consulting firm hired to do a study about the game of baseball, and never talking to any baseball players,” with the report registering “zero to little credibility in UFLAC’s book.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office responded to the report by saying the mayor has hired a “reform-focused” interim chief—Jim Featherstone—and Fire Commission, and appointed an assessor to improve accountability within the department.

The Fire Commission tomorrow is expected to order an internal investigation into the LAFD’s recruiting process, which has come under fire in recent weeks after the Los Angeles Times reported that 20 percent of the people in the department’s most recent recruit class were related to current firefighters. The Times also reported that thousands of applicants were rejected because they failed to submit required paperwork within a 60-second window.

Featherstone said he welcomed the report’s recommendations and said he was committed to changing the “structure and operations” of the department.

“I have already begun implementing a number of changes, including initiating a hiring process for a chief technology officer, the hiring of a civilian public information director, the reorganization of key command staff, the upcoming implementation of FIRESTAT, the ongoing implementation of the Automatic Vehicle Locator program and examining the feasibility of dividing the department operations into four geographic areas,” he said.