Chelsea Fire Department Review Firm Ready to Start

March 8, 2012
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The long-awaited top-to-bottom review of the Chelsea Fire Department is nearly ready to being, according to City Manager Jay Ash.

This week, the City inked a contract with an independent reviewer to conduct the work and to set a timeline for its completion.

“We have agreed upon and signed a contract with Matrix, which is a company out of California, to do the review,” said Ash on Tuesday.

Based out of Palo Alto, CA, Matrix Consulting Group helps governments and businesses all over the country streamline their services and make their departments more efficient. In many cases, their studies are used to guide major restructuring efforts that end up helping government operate more efficiently and improve its weaknesses.

The same sort of thing will happen for the Fire Department, whose union and members have agreed with and also supported the call for the review. The review came out of a small budget conflict concerning overtime in the department.

New Fire Chief Bob Betters said in a previous interview that he will support and work with the reviewers when the process starts.

Ash said that Matrix will begin initial visits on March 12, with those first visits being only to introduce themselves to staff and fire crews.

The actual review will probably not draw much controversy, but many believe that implementing some of its findings could result in a bit of pushback from firefighters if there are recommendations for cutbacks in certain areas.

That, of course, will remain to be seen after the review is completed.

As of now, Ash said he is looking forward to getting the matter started.

“We’re excited about beginning the process of taking a look at fire operations and to having them guide us as we go forward about our strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “It will help us bolster our strengths and mitigate our weaknesses.”

Ash also said he is familiar with Matrix, having participated in peer reviews of their work after reviews of departments in Somerville and Haverhill.


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