Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who is on the board, said the recommendations are important, but at the end of the day it’s about holding Richter accountable. Spitzer said he would call for Richter’s resignation. “I am calling for the chief’s resignation, I’m asking him to voluntarily step down,” Spitzer said. “The organization is much more important than any one individual and this cannot be about him, this needs to be about the long-term sustainability of the Orange County Fire Authority.”
In part, said Chief Keith Richter to the Times, “I don’t think the agency is broken….The last five years have been a struggle with budget issues, having to do more with less resources”.
Spitzer is reacting to a $99.5k independent audit of the OCFA. It was ably reported on this week bt the union-funded Voice of OC: Audit: ‘Accountability Lacking at All Levels’ of Fire Authority. The Audit is available here.
Spitzer is also quoted by the Voice of OC:
“The chief needs to resign,” said Spitzer. “He is not capable of righting the ship. This is about the Fire Authority’s survival; it can’t survive in its current situation.” Noting the chief could be dismissed on 60 days notice, Spitzer added: “It is my hope the chief would submit his resignation short of the board having to take action. He has to take responsibility.”
We were amazed at the size of the OCFA Board as portrayed on this out-of-date page on their website (Spitzer is omitted). But unfortunately we’re not surprised at some of the salaries reported by Teri Sforza at the Register just last January:
At the OC Fire Authority, 28 people had total compensation in excess of $300K; and 565 had total comp in excess of $200K. The highest comp went to a deputy fire chief, at $392,599; next-highest went to Chief Keith Richter, with total comp of $373,029.
Per the Sforza research, in fact, the OCFA has the highest average annual compensation per worker out of 30 OC Special Districts surveyed:
It looks to us like this oversized Board of resume builders has grander problems than just the Chief. We’re paying far too much for this Agency’s 1,400 tax takers for the level of service we’re apparently receiving. The Audit REEKS of a lack of professionalism at the OCFA — and the type of culture we’ve come to expect of Orange County departments, agencies and overpaid, coddled unionized employees.