Friday, March 3, 2017

Study of Fire Division Sought

A legal notice in today's newspaper asks for proposals to conduct an "operational audit" of the Fire Division. Here is an excerpt:

The City of Plainfield is seeking a qualified consultant to conduct a comprehensive study of the Plainfield Fire Division. The intent of this engagement is to perform an independent study for the purpose of identifying changes to the practices and organizational structure of the Fire Division in order to reduce costs and/or improve service without affecting public safety. We are seeking to identify areas for improvement and looking for recommendations to the Administration based on benchmarks and best practices as well as suggestions for an implementation strategy.

The full text can be seen by going to and putting "Fire Division" in the search box.

See more about the Fire Division on the city web site.

I do not recall any previous study of the Fire Division, though the Police Division is undergoing a multi-year study for accreditation by the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police.

Plainfield lost its own police chief title in 2008, when it was abolished in favor of the title of police director. The director is also the head of the Department of Public Affairs & Safety, which includes the Police and Fire divisions, in effect reporting to himself.

Fire Chief Frank Tidwell took office in 2011. 

In 2016, 60 percent of the $79.4 million city budget went to Police and Fire divisions, so optimum functioning of their operations is certainly a concern.



  1. I trust that as part of the deal the developer will be mandated to use the PMUA for all services which the PMUA is capable of rendering. That is, the developer will not have an option to engage a private hauler.

    1. Not following what this has to do with the fire division study. However, if the PMUA is not able to provide the services at an affordable price (whatever the circumstances) then we should not require anyone to use the services. PMUA should be a viable and affordable service or it should fail like any business that is not competitive.

  2. The fire division has been top heavy for years. It utilizes both the ranks of lieutenants and captains which are both defined by D.O.P. as first line supervisors. Eliminating one of those ranks is a no brainer.

  3. Not true they are first and second level supervisors and are tested different. Many departments have this rank structure. The cost savings is minimal and removing Captains can put a three year Lieutenant testing for Battalion Chief. This is a career that experience counts and could be the difference between success and failure. Life or Death. No Fire Division Personnel are on board with the removal of Captains. Dangerous.

  4. Why isn't the fire division fighting for the title then? The study is to remove fire chief title and mirror PD with director. This is the time to fight for rank