San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 10/09/13, 1:09 PM PDT | Updated: 8 hrs ago

SAN BERRNARDINO >> It might have saved $12 million a year and it might have left residents less safe, but potential proposals by outside agencies to run the city’s fire services won’t be seen — for now.

The City Council voted 4-3 this week to shoot down a proposal by Councilman Fred Shorett to ask other agencies including Cal Fire and the San Bernardino County Fire Department to submit proposals for how they might be able to protect the city for less than the city’s Fire Department does.

Shorett stressed on Monday that he only wanted to see what money might be saved and said he wouldn’t vote to approve any contract with a lower level of service than residents now get.

“I as a representative of the people of San Bernardino owe it to the taxpayers to deliver smarter, cheaper services,” Shorett said.

The three who supported asking for proposals now were Shorett, Councilwoman Virginia Marquez and Councilman Rikke Van Johson. Mayor Pat Morris also spoke in support, and City Attorney James F. Penman said that in his opinion and that of the city’s bankruptcy attorney it wasn’t the right time for such discussions.

“It would be premature to start this process outside of the mediation process,” Penman said. He added that he agreed the city needed to look at all options and he would be willing to examine — “and I stress ‘examine’” — outsourcing proposals later.

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