UCD chief to run city, university fire departments

The Davis City Council on a 3-1 vote approved a plan Tuesday to have UC Davis’ fire chief lead the Davis Fire Department.

Mayor Joe Krovoza, along with councilmen Brett Lee and Dan Wolk, voted for the agreement. Councilman Lucas Frerichs dissented. Councilwoman Rochelle Swanson was absent.

Nathan Trauernicht, the university’s fire chief, will oversee both departments for at least a year.

The city is billing its shared management agreement with the University of California, Davis, as a cost-saving measure that builds on existing arrangements between the city and campus fire departments. Davis City Manager Steve Pinkerton proposed the idea.

The city will also add two deputy chiefs to run day-to-day operations and fire training.

Davis city staff will start work on a Joint Powers Agreement to share management services with UC Davis. City officials on Wednesday said they hoped the pact would be in place by January.

The two departments already have removed jurisdictional boundaries so either department’s fire crews can respond to calls depending on which is closest to the scene. Davis and UC Davis’ fire training is overseen by a UC Davis division chief, and Davis provides duty coverage for both city and campus fire departments.

Under the plan, the city is expected to save as much as $250,000 if it decides to move its division chiefs from its benefits plan and onto UC Davis’ payroll.