Council hoping to name fire chief

March 30, 2003 11:00 pm

By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

Tomorrow evening, the Angels Camp City Council will try again to hire a fire chief.

Five applicants are to be interviewed in closed session at 4 p.m., and council members are expected to announce their choice near the end of their regular meeting.

The council went through this exercise in January and tapped Mark Scott, chief of the El Cerrito Fire Department and the Kensington Fire Protection District. But Scott declined the job offer because of complications with the Public Employees Retirement System.

Mayor Debbie Ponte said if all goes well, the new chief could be on the job soon.

"We're hopeful to have (our new chief on board) by April," she said.

Longtime Fire Chief Roy Soracco retired in December.

The council will also approve changing the police department's retirement plan from what is called "two at 55, to two at 50."

Ponte said the change was negotiated with the Police Department last year to become effective in July. This change will affect the seven police officers and the city's fire marshal.

Ponte explained that the Police Department's retirement plan comes under California's Public Employees Retirement System. The two-at-50 part of PERS retirement formula allows an employee to retire at 50, rather than at 55 under the old plan, and the employee's years of service are multiplied by two. The product is the percent of annual income the retiree will receive.

For example, an employee has worked 15 years and is retiring at 50 would receive 30 percent of his or her annual income as retirement income.

The council will conduct a public hearing on the retirement change at its May 6 meeting.

Council members will also discuss accepting a grant from the Firefighters Assistance Program to buy equipment that refills self-contained breathing apparatus.

Assistant Fire Chief Terry Bullock said the new equipment — called a mobile containment fill station — refills the air tanks firefighters wear while fighting structure fires.