Time for a change

The credibility of the Los Angeles Fire Department leadership continues to weaken, to the point that it is valid to ask ourselves if it is time for a fresh start in the department when the new mayor, Eric Garcetti, takes office.

The latest controversy came from an internal audit submitted to the Fire Commission. It argues that the fire chief, union officials and members of the Professional Standards Division in charge of overseeing staff behavior have failed to properly investigate misconduct allegations.

The audit pointed out that the processing of those cases has been undermined by the lack of funding and the mismanagement of these cases with inadequate files and incomplete investigations. As a result, according to the report, when the complaints have not been ignored, they have remained in limbo until the time for disciplinary action expires.

The administration of Chief Brian Cummings has already faced serious problems. They range from data manipulation to make it seem like firefighter response time was faster than it really was, to questioning from municipal officials of its plans to restructure the 911 service and reassign personnel between paramedics and firefighters.

It is clear that support for Cummings, from the City Council as well as the mayor-elect and the Fire Commission, is not enough—and rightly so—for him to efficiently perform his job.

Garcetti has said that all municipal department chiefs will have to reapply for their jobs to be reconsidered based on their job performance. He can start with Cummings.