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Lynnwood Fire Department and Snohomish County Fire District 1 to combine administrative staff

Lynnwood Fire Chief Cockrum will lead the blended management team, serving as chief for city department as well as Fire District 1.
Lynnwood Fire Chief Cockrum will lead the blended management team, serving as chief for city department as well as Fire District 1. Photo courtesy of Lynnwood Fire Department.

From a joint City of Lynnwood and Snohomish County Fire District 1 press release.

The Lynnwood Fire Department and Snohomish County Fire District 1 will combine administrative staffs this year, beginning on Monday, July 11, 2016.

An agreement to blend the management teams of the two fire agencies into a single administration to oversee fire service operations in south Snohomish County was unanimously approved by the Lynnwood City Council on Monday evening, June 27th, and by the Fire District 1 Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, June 21st.

“This blended management agreement will strengthen the partnership between the city and Fire District 1,” stated Lynnwood’s Fire Chief Scott Cockrum.

“Ultimately it will maximize efficiencies between the two organizations, which in turn will benefit the residents of South Snohomish County by providing them with enhanced services.”

Fire District 1 has 241 employees and provides staffing at 12 fire stations to serve nearly 200,000 residents in the unincorporated communities of South Snohomish County and the cities of Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace.

The Lynnwood Fire Department operates two fire stations with 56 employees to serve over 36,000 residents.

The departments will share administrative duties and responsibilities, but fire and emergency medical response and station staffing will remain unchanged by the agreement.

“Citizens in all jurisdictions will continue to receive the service and quick response to fire and emergency medical calls provided by the same firefighters and paramedics,” Fire District 1 Board Chair Jim McGaughey said. “And in the long term, they will gain the benefits of enhanced service and efficiency that come with regionalization.”

Lynnwood Fire Chief Cockrum will lead the blended management team, serving as chief for city department as well as Fire District 1. The Fire District 1 has been without a permanent fire chief since Ed Widdis retired in March.

“Each department had administrative needs and positions that had been unfilled or unfunded. We realized by sharing staff, both agencies could avoid costs and increase efficiency,” said Fire District 1 Interim Chief Brad Reading.

“We’ll be jointly managing operations, emergency medical services, training, public education and working collaboratively on fire marshal issues.”

Neither the city nor the fire district will receive monetary compensation. The agreement notes the city and fire district recognize the mutual benefits of blended management “constitute full and adequate compensation” for services.

Both fire agencies will maintain separate budgets, payrolls and purchasing. Hiring, promoting, daily staffing levels, labor negotiations and discipline issues will also remain separate.

The blended management agreement will be in effect for two years, with one year extensions. The two-year timeframe will give the City of Lynnwood and Fire District 1 an opportunity to continue exploring the idea of establishing a regional fire service delivery model to serve the residents of South Snohomish County.

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