The University of California, Davis, has informed the city of Davis that it will end the agreement for shared management of the campus and city fire departments. UC Davis Fire Chief Nathan Trauernicht has led both since Jan. 1, 2014.
Kelly Ratliff, UC Davis’ interim lead for Finance, Operations and Administration, gave formal notice of the decision to end the agreement in a Feb. 1 letter to City Manager Dirk Brazil.
University officials hope that the city will continue to collaborate on a number of service delivery improvements that were implemented under the shared management agreement. There are many examples that have made our shared communities safer, such as a “dropped boundary” approach to emergency response using all resources in the community, regardless of jurisdictional boundaries, to get firefighters to emergencies as quickly as possible, Ratliff said.
“We are grateful to Chief Trauernicht and the staff of both departments for their hard work, and we are committed to maintaining a high level of service in our shared community,” Ratliff said.
Despite the successes, significant challenges have remained in managing two different fire departments with different cultures under single leadership. Ultimately, university officials concluded that the future success of each department would be better served under separate management.
In addition, a recent audit finding by CalPERS on retirement contributions for shared employees further complicated the arrangement.
Ratliff said the campus is looking forward to collaborating with the city to replace the shared management arrangement with a cooperative service delivery agreement to lay the framework for a smooth transition to independent management as soon as practically possible, while keeping the best of what has been accomplished to date.