Pleasanton, Livermore to launch search for new fire chief

Chief Cody announces his retirement same day that City Atty. Roush starts his

Firms that specialize in hiring top fire department managers, including fire chiefs, are being considered for a national search for a new executive for the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department to succeed Fire Chief Bill Cody, who announced his resignation last Friday.

At the same time, the search for a successor to Pleasanton City Attorney Michael Roush appears to be over, with an announcement due at any time following a scheduled closed-door meeting of the City Council to approve a final recommendation. Roush retired on the same day Cody resigned after 32 years in the municipal attorney profession, including the last 21 years here.

City Manager Nelson Fialho said the council was expected to meet late yesterday to review final details of the new city attorney's offer. The city attorney reports to the City Council with all other municipal employees reporting to Fialho, who also reports to the council.

Roush was named city attorney for Pleasanton in 1988, succeeding Peter MacDonald, who held the office for six years and left to open his own private practice. Prior to taking the Pleasanton post, Roush was in the city attorney's office in Vallejo for 11 years, which he joined after receiving his law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law. He received his undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley.

Married for 35 years, Roush also plans to spend more time with his wife Vicky in their Pleasanton home and to visit more often with their three children, all graduates of Amador Valley High School.

"It's been a great run as Pleasanton's city attorney," Roush said. "I've had the opportunity to work with various councils and they've all been very good to me. It's my family, so to speak. Leaving here is going to be a big change. But as of last month, I have served 32 years with city governments. It's time for someone else to take over day-to-day affairs and it will give me an opportunity to do some of the things that I have wanted to do."

It's expected that Roush will continue to represent Pleasanton in several pending lawsuits that he has handled in recent months, and he will keep his office in City Hall until his replacement comes to work.

Cody's retirement also caps a 32-year career in fire services that began in Southern California with the Los Angeles City Fire Department, where he started as a firefighter and moved up the ranks during his 25-year tenure with that agency. He then joined the Newark Fire Department, where he served as assistant fire chief before joining the LPFD in 2005 as chief.

He has been highly regarded for his operational expertise and spearheaded the development of the XAL Regional Academy. Working together with the leadership of fire agencies in the City of Fremont and the County of Alameda, the academy was established to train new recruits. Today it serves as a model of regional collaboration and capitalizes on assembling the instructors and resources from all three agencies.

In addition, Cody has served on the board of directors for the East Bay Regional Communications System Authority (EBRCSA), which is charged with developing a state-of-the-art communications system to serve the public safety agencies of the East Bay for many years to come.

Roush, whose base pay was $187,370 in 2008, will receive a pension from the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) based on a three-point system that provides 3 percent of the final year's base pay for each year of service to a maximum of 90 percent, which Roush will be entitled to receive. He also received a cost of living increase this year which will be added to his 2009 base pay, but accrued vacation and any other financial benefits are not part of the base pay formula that CalPERS uses.

Also, Pleasanton will be responsible for a pension payout formula for the 21 years Roush worked for the city with the other 11 years the responsibility of the city of Vallejo, where Roush first worked.

Both the search for a new fire chief and Cody's pension formula are more complicated. Because the fire department is operated under a joint agreement by Livermore and Pleasanton, Livermore City Manager Linda Barton and Fialho will be the assigned city executives to develop a replacement plan and hire a search firm. Fialho said the process could take until March or April before candidates are selected for interviews and a final decision is made.

When he retired from the Los Angeles force, Cody became eligible for that department's pension plan which is funded and managed by the county of Los Angeles and is not part of the CalPERS system.

Here, Cody earned a base pay of $171,634 in 2008. He will be eligible for a CalPERS pension based on the three-point formula, with the cities of Newark and Pleasanton each responsible for about four and a half years of pension liability, which will total about 25 percent of his 2009 base pay.

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Like this comment
Posted by Promote From Within
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 9, 2009 at 4:59 pm

I am sure that there are many highly qualified, experienced officers in the Livermore Pleasanton Fire Department willing and able to move up. And these people already know the cities, and the people. Why not start here?

Like this comment
Posted by Original Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 9, 2009 at 10:09 pm

A "Search Firm" in this economy, to find a fire chief that will be no better than someone already in the ranks. I'm proud to waste my tax dollars on this important effort. This is all Prop.13's fault.

Like this comment
Posted by JZ
a resident of Danbury Park
on Oct 10, 2009 at 9:28 am

I agree - now is not the time for a national search when quality candidates are right here. In fact, it's time to stop playing these games and have the council appoint the best person from current staff.

Like this comment
Posted by Alfalfa
a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Oct 12, 2009 at 9:11 am

There is no one with the experience needed to lead. We need someone better than the last guy.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 12, 2009 at 7:17 pm

the last guy did a good's time to and find a new chief...

Like this comment
Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 12, 2009 at 7:19 pm

A drunkin monkey could do the job and maybe even the Pleasanton mayor. Why would they hire a search firm and pay all of that money when they do not have any and also the hire should come from within.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 12, 2009 at 7:40 pm

I have no idea...I'm just sitting on the sidelines waiting for something to happen or not to happen..."you lie".

are you a hang around the fort type with a big mouth?


felix the rat

Like this comment
Posted by Chapped
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2009 at 1:33 pm

The change of LPFD Chief & Deputy Chief was long overdue! Indeed, there are qualified candidates within the department to assume the position. They should be included in the competition. We have already seen what a "nationwide search" produces....learn from your mistakes!!!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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