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The Los Angeles City Fire Department employs over 3,300 people in order to provide quality public service to the residents of Los Angeles. With the recent economic turndown that began in late 2007 and the budget crises within the City of Los Angeles, an Early Retirement Incentive Program (“ERIP”) was introduced and approved by the City Council and Mayor on October 30, 2009. The purpose of this program was to reduce annual ongoing City payroll costs by providing incentives for eligible Los Angeles City Employment Retirement System (“LACERS”) members to retire with benefit enhancements and or separation pay incentives. These increased incentives resulted in a phenomenon of increased retirements and rapidly changed work environments within the Fire Department. The problem that the Fire Department incurred was the fact that they did not have a formal succession plan for the upcoming retirements of individuals that held key positions. This lack of a succession plan prevented them from ensuring organizational excellence and the continuity of leadership within the city. Failing to develop internal people for these key leadership roles eventually affected the quality of service given to the residents of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles City Fire Department has now recognized the importance of succession planning and has agreed to implement a system with applicable components that identify critical operational functions, key organizational roles, and capable employees to ensure there are qualified individuals prepared to “. The proposed succession plan will address the needs of the organization by providing a formal program that develops and enhances the future potential of personnel. This plan includes implementation of cross-training programs, recruitment and retention strategies, coaching and mentoring, action learning projects, shadowing, and formal development.
Similar to the way many things start, Los Angeles was a sleepy little pueblo in the 1880s, with agriculture as its primary industry. The use of firemen to protect buildings and citizens was just beginning. The Los Angeles Fire Department went from an all-volunteer to a career, paid department on February 1, 1886. In those days, the city would go for days, or even weeks, without a fire. (lafdmuseum.org) Today Los Angeles is the second largest city in the country and LAFD reflects the expanding and diverse community. LAFD's employs close to 4,000 uniformed fire personnel protect life, property and the environment. The services provided include fire prevention, firefighting, emergency medical care, technical rescue, hazardous materials mitigation, disaster response, public education and community service. An equally committed non-sworn cadre of 353 professional support personnel provide technical and administrative expertise in their corresponding pursuit of the department's mission. A total of 1,104 uniformed firefighters (including 242 serving as Firefighter/Paramedics), are always on duty at fire department facilities citywide, including 106 neighborhood fire stations strategically located across the Department's 471 square-mile jurisdiction. (Lafd.org) The LAFD is headed by a Chief Engineer and General Manager (Fire Chief) and operates through five major bureaus: Bureau of Emergency Services, Bureau of Fire Prevention and Public Safety, Bureau of Support Services, Bureau of Training and Risk Management and Bureau of Administrative Services (audit by City Controller, Chick). The LAFD, is run like a paramilitary organization in which the majority of their communication is handled through “chain of command” from the Fire Chief or Bureau Chiefs down through division and battalion levels, and then ultimately through a Captain to firefighters at a neighborhood fire station. (Audit by City Controller, Chick) Environment in which the Organization Operates
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