San Bernardino Seal

Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/08/2013 02:21:16 PM PDT

View: Resignation Letter
Special Section: San Bernardino

With a scathing resignation letter, Interim Fire Chief Paul Drasil has quit a job he says was made impossible by cuts to management and by resistance from both the City Council and the firefighters union.

Drasil, 53, said he’s taking earned time off until his official retirement April 15, less than a year into the job.

He was hired as a firefighter in 1986, then took over the department just before the City Council cut several administrative positions in July 2012 to save an estimated $50,000 a year. A week later – on the same day the council first said it intended to file for bankruptcy protection – he wrote a memo warning that the changes would harm the department.

They did, he said in the letter to Mayor Pat Morris that ended nearly 35 years of firefighting.

“I am now held accountable to manage the department, yet the resources I need to do the job have been eliminated by the City Council against my advice and that of the City Manager,” Drasil wrote. “Given the complexity of managing an urban fire department of our size, it is impossible for any fire chief to do so safely and effectively given these cuts to management.”

Opposition from a majority of the City Council members and from leaders of the San Bernardino City Professional Firefighters further hamstrung him, Drasil said.

“From the on-set of my selection as the interim fire chief, the City Council majority has shown a disregard for me and my staff,” he wrote. “It has been made clear to me that I do not have their support or respect.”

Mayor Pat Morris said he appreciated Drasil’s parting advice.

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