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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.

mike stevens May 24, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Let's Ask D'Orazi if he knew anything about the Ron Vanderhieden Issue's while he was asking Captain!Did he anything?
mike stevens May 24, 2011 at 04:00 PM
i dont think Acting captain D'Orazi knew anything and he did was set back and did not get involved as a so called captain what a clown he is
jake May 24, 2011 at 10:40 PM
Wonder how many hundreds of thousands of dollars this move is going to cost the busted City?
joel May 25, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Hand picked by the union , that's a leader ..........to our checking / saving account.
joel May 25, 2011 at 12:32 AM
I love how they retire then takle a full time job.
joel May 25, 2011 at 12:33 AM
? :-} ..................
billr May 25, 2011 at 04:04 PM
Can we go without capitains and let the oakland base and capitains handle the alameda firefighter, I mean this is small and that will cut a lot of money?...
joel May 25, 2011 at 09:54 PM
Bill , you mean Alameda Firefighter to be accountable ? that will be the day.
Michele Kuttner May 31, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Is he certified in land-based water rescue? If so, maybe he can teach the other guys. Seems to be a serious need for our firefighters to adopt that particular set of emergency training.
margaret dos santos June 02, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Does the new interim fire chief that is a retired Alameda firefighter get to collect his full retirement and draw a huge salary with this new postition....?
John June 02, 2011 at 03:45 PM
I'm sure he will deduct his full retirement off his new Salary. The Fire Deptartment likes to step up when they know the city and citizens are in trouble and We are going broke. This City has been great to our Fire Department and has sacrificed alot for them. I hope I'm right.
Guy Stevens June 02, 2011 at 07:41 PM
I think that as a city we should completely eliminate the PAID fire department. After Mondays fiasco it is apparent that the entire staff of the fire department is no longer interested in saving lives. It has become a bureaucratic quagmire of self interest and self aggrandizement. They have forgotten their primary mission, to save lives. It is time to take back that mission back to people who care more about one another. Lets take a big step forward toward real people helping each other and have a volunteer fire department on our small island. It is time that we eliminated the bureaucracy of both the fire and police departments here. The next time the fire department spends thousands of dollars in fliers and mailing to tell me who to vote for, I for one am voting for someone that wants to eliminate all of them. Time for all the bureaucrats to be replaced by people that want to save lives.
NeptuneBeach June 12, 2011 at 03:08 AM
Excerpt from today's Oakland Tribune...Pretty powerful stuff... Over the past 10 years, we have had almost that many fire chiefs. Of those, 1 or 2 of them were honest & reliable city employees who served the citizens well. The rest were either dishonest, incompetent or merely place-holders. When there is an absence of leadership, in our case, the Firefighters Union filled the void. They became stronger each time there was a gap in filling the fire chief's position. They flexed their muscles & engineered the demise of the last permanent chief. That was seen as a good move by the public. Few even noticed when they threw their support behind three candidates for the City Council. Their support may or may not be the reason the three got elected, but it becomes very suspicious when the retired Firefighters Union president is suddenly appointed interim fire chief. Why was he moved into that position before the new city manager starting his new job? Why do we appoint a person who never attained the rank of chief? Does he have the skills, knowledge & ability to be a fire chief? Isn't this similar to the "fox guarding the hen house?" Can we rely on this individual to look out for the citizen's interests after battling the city administrators for many years? So we are all to blame for allowing the elected officials to appoint incompetents and make political positions available as payoffs.
margaret dos santos June 12, 2011 at 05:39 PM
I think that our City Concil needs to relieve the interim cheif now. My understanding is he was Captain in charge of training when the water rescue was put back in the budget.....2009. I can only hope that Mayor Gilmore and the Concil does the right thing. Sounds like if they don't we may be asking the citizens for 8,000 signatures per member for a recall. I hate the thought of a Recall Election, that will cost our City more wasted dollars......Just do what we elected you to do.
DeAngelo June 13, 2011 at 05:42 AM
Bravo Guy Stevens. What a waste of money. I can't believe we're doubling down on a failed fire department. Can them and privatize the whole thing. The good firefighters (the ones who don't cower on the beach while a man slowly drowns) can compete for the new market rate positions offered by the private sector. This makes me sick. When did my City devolve into a cespool of insider corruption.
Lauren Do June 13, 2011 at 01:04 PM
The article which you are commenting under clearly states he retired in 2007.
margaret dos santos June 14, 2011 at 03:41 AM
@ Lauren....that may be correct, I was actually referring to a statement that was made at last week's council meeting....no one from the City corrected that so I used that as "my understanding". My feelings do not change on the interim chief being dismissed...does he even live in Alameda?? Where does his tax dollars go?? I agree with the post that said at least 80% of our city workers should live within the city limits.....Top management should live in Alameda and not be part of the 80%.
NeptuneBeach June 14, 2011 at 04:25 AM
I read somewhere that he lives in Contra Costa county...
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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