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Alameda Names Michael D'Orazi as New Interim Fire Chief

D'Orazi, a retired Alameda firefighter who was active in the Alameda firefighters' union leadership, will replace the current acting chief, Mike Fisher.

Alameda has a new interim fire chief.

Mike D'Orazi, a former Alameda fire captain who retired in 2007, stepped into the new role Monday. 

“We’re very happy," said Domenick Weaver, president of the Alameda's Firefighters Association. "D'Orazi has a good knowledge of the fire service, he has an institutional knowledge, and also has the support and buy-in of our membership.”

A fire chief with the backing of the rank and file will be important as city officials wrestle with rising employee pension and health care costs.

D'Orzai replaces Mike Fisher, who has been interim chief since David Kapler left the department's top spot in November. Kapler, who clashed with the union, was photographed filling his private car with city gas and put on administrative leave.

"Chief Fisher stepped in at a difficult time for the fire department and jumped in with both feet and did a great job," said Alameda's acting city manager, Lisa Goldman.

Goldman, who will return to her role as deputy city manager when John Russo becomes city manager on June 13, said the decision to hire D'Orazi was made with the new city manager.

"Russo has a lot of plans that he’s discussed with D'Orazi," Goldman said "They have to do in part with filling the firefighters' hours when they’re not on fire calls and EMT calls."

Goldman said Russo is also looking for a partner in resolving the budget issues related to pensions and health care costs.

According to a statement from the Alameda's Firefighters Association, D’Orazi was first hired as a firefighter with the Alameda Fire Department in 1979 and was promoted to lieutenant in 1988,and then to captain in April, 1999. He served as a training director and an acting divison chief.

Goldman says hiring a retiree saves the city money. "He is a PERS retiree," which means, she says, that he already has the costs of his benefits covered by the city, so it costs the city less to hire him.

Lauren Do June 14, 2011 at 01:50 PM
Clearly that statement was incorrect. State law forbids any requirement forcing municipal workers to live within city limits: http://goo.gl/iDzZJ
margaret dos santos June 16, 2011 at 12:16 AM
Maybe living in the City you are hired to serve and protect should just be common courtesy!! ( you are right, its not the law), except that such employees may be required to reside within a reasonable and specific distance of their place of employment or other designated location. (CALIFORNIA) GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 50083: So what is a resonable distance.....?? My opinion doesn't change.....Live in Alameda...if you are top management.
DC June 16, 2011 at 04:10 PM
How could anyone hired as an interim department head in Alameda be expected to sell their home, uproot their family, and purchase a home in Alameda when there have been six Fire Chiefs (permanent and interim) hired in the past 10 years ?
joel June 16, 2011 at 04:22 PM
because Alameda is an interim City by the bay.
margaret dos santos June 20, 2011 at 12:11 AM
Oh because they make a huge 6 figure salary....they can rent here, no need to buy....they are involved in our community, they let it be known there desire for who we vote into office, they shout out there for support for our taxes to be raised....so yeah I think they should live here, I just think its the right thing to do, can we force them.....nope I suppose the law doesn't support that.....but we could enforce a reasonable distance..... Imagine a City or State where the elected officials didn't have to live in the City or State they run for office in. I am not sure if the difference is so different! But I would be willing to listen to why they shouldn't have to live here.......

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