In 2009, the two departments commissioned a study by the emergency services consulting firm ESCI of Portland. The consultants were asked to study whether greater service efficiency and/or taxpayer cost savings could be realized through further collaboration. The consultants’ report is available for download online (allow time for download). The study concluded not only that continued cooperation would be advisable, but that in fact circumstances were favorable for a merger of the departments, which would lead to significant (at least six-figure) taxpayer savings per year.
How We Save Money
These savings have been realized, in part, by consolidating several leadership positions where one or the other department had - or would soon have - a vacancy that could be left unfilled in a merger scenario. After Springfield Fire & Life Safety Chief Dennis Murphy retired on July 1, 2010, Eugene Fire & EMS Chief Randy Groves assumed command over the consolidated department at that time. Chief Groves participates as a member of both cities’ Executive Management Teams, and reports to both City Managers. Other positions that have been consolidated include the Fire Marshal, the Operations Chief, and the Training Chief.
The initial steps in functional consolidation took place during the spring of 2010. The Springfield Fire Marshal and some Fire Prevention personnel moved to Eugene’s Fire Prevention office at the Downtown Fire Station; Eugene’s Ambulance Billing staff joined Springfield’s Ambulance Billing staff at Springfield City Hall; Springfield Training staff, including the Training Chief, moved to Eugene Fire Training and Administration headquarters at 2nd & Chambers; and Operations personnel now work side-by-side in all Eugene and Springfield fire stations and on response apparatus.