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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fresno Fire Department Chief Rob Brown Resigns Following Arrest, City Begins National Search For New Chief. #CaFire


Fresno Fire Chief Rob Brown is shown with his arm around his wife Beth during his arraignment hearing in a Fresno County courtroom for his domestic violence case Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Fresno, Calif.
GARY KAZANJIAN — THE FRESNO BEE

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/08/06/3427105/fresno-fire-chief-rob-brown-resigns.html#storylink=cpy
Fresno Fire Chief Rob Brown, facing domestic violence charges, resigns

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/08/06/3427105/fresno-fire-chief-rob-brown-resigns.html#storylink=cpy

Rob Brown on Tuesday resigned as Fresno’s fire chief, just over a year into the job and nearly two months after he was arrested in a domestic violence incident that has him facing criminal charges.

Brown’s fate had been hanging over the heads of top city officials since he was arrested by Fresno County sheriff’s deputies on June 12. He had been on paid administrative leave since June 13.

Brown leaves city employment after barely a year on the job with a tepid farewell from City Manager Bruce Rudd.

“I have accepted Rob Brown’s resignation as City of Fresno’s Fire Chief,” Rudd said in a written statement. “I want to thank him for his service to the City and the contributions that he made to the Fire Department. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Rudd said the city will begin a national search for a new chief. Deputy Fire Chief Kerri Donis will continue as interim fire chief.

Brown’s annual salary was $155,592 — nearly $3,000 a week. He had been on paid administrative leave since June 13 — almost eight weeks

City officials said Brown did not get a severance package connected to his resignation. Beth Brown, his wife, remains Fresno’s emergency manager.

Marshall Hodgkins, Brown’s lawyer, said his client would make no public comment. Hodgkins said the June incident affected Brown’s health, though Hodgkins gave no details.

“In the interest of the fire department and a desire to move on, he made the decision to resign,” Hodgkins said

Hodgkins said he and Brown discussed the issue before Brown decided to resign. Hodgkins said it’s too early to discuss Brown’s career plans.

Brown is charged with five felonies as well as a misdemeanor count of obstructing law enforcement. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $50,000 bail.

Brown leaves city employment after barely a year on the job with a tepid farewell from City Manager Bruce Rudd.

“I have accepted Rob Brown’s resignation as city of Fresno’s fire chief,” Rudd said in a written statement. “I want to thank him for his service to the city and the contributions that he made to the Fire Department. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Rudd said a national search for a new chief will begin. Deputy Fire Chief Kerri Donis will continue as interim fire chief.


Fresno Fire Chief Rob Brown, facing domestic violence charges, resigns
Original Full article: http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/08/06/3427105/fresno-fire-chief-rob-brown-resigns.html
Brown took over as chief in May 2012, arriving in Fresno just as his department began to face severe money issues. Mayor Ashley Swearengin said the city faced another budget gap, even after four years of Great Recession-caused cuts. She wanted to outsource the city’s home trash service for millions in annual private-hauler fees. She said public safety, including the fire department, faced slashed budgets without outsourcing.

Three City Council members, many union members and some community activists opposed the mayor. It took a year, but voters finally resolved the debate last June with Measure G, and outsourcing died.

Through it all Brown watched from the sidelines as his department became a political hot potato. He opened up publicly to The Bee on the eve of the Measure G election.

Brown said the department’s problems were many and serious: Low staffing levels, skimpy training budgets, equipment-maintenance challenges, among many others.

“Our situation is very tenuous,” Brown said.

He encouraged voters to support Measure G.

The election was close, but Fresnans learned on June 12 that outsourcing’s millions were gone. Swearengin went to the City Council that afternoon to concede the inevitable and suggest several budget scenarios. Serious cuts to the fire department were on the table.

Brown was in the audience but did not speak. The tension in the council chamber was palpable. Brown was as somber as expected, considering the stakes to his department.

Trouble came to the Brown’s northwest Fresno home that night. There are disputes about details, and how they should be interpreted. But by all accounts, Brown was right in the middle of it.

According to sheriff’s deputies, Brown had been drinking. He struck his wife and knocked her to the ground. He allegedly tried to choke and threatened to kill another family member, deputies said.

Beth Brown went public a few days later. Flanked by her four sons, she said things went haywire because of “too much testosterone” in the family’s home, not because of alcohol. She said the arrest was an overreaction.

The District Attorney’s Office in late June filed the six-count complaint against Brown. The charges include corporal injury to a spouse and assault with a deadly weapon.

The fire chief is an “at will” employee who is hired or fired at the city manager’s discretion. Scott, who hired Brown last year, left City Hall last month to be city manager in Burbank. Rudd took over the next day. The Rob Brown issue is Rudd’s first major personnel challenge.

In the weeks after the June 12 council meeting, city officials learned that revenues for the coming fiscal year are a bit better than expected. Code enforcement will see some cuts to keep the books balanced.

The fire department, though, is expected to emerge unscathed.

Source: By George Hostetter — The Fresno Bee - Link




Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/08/06/3427105/fresno-fire-chief-rob-brown-resigns.html#storylink=cpy
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