One chief proposed for 5-city joint fire command: Post-Dispatch


Clayton, Rock Hill and Richmond Heights have approved a resolution to work with Brentwood and Maplewood (not yet approved the resolution) to study a joint fire command for the five cities.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: A study by Emergency Services Consulting International concluded “a consolidated administrative and support branch to oversee operation of the five fire departments would lead to improved efficiency and elimination of redundant effort,” improved firefighter safety and possibly cost-savings.

The Post-Dispatch went into more detail about the proposal recently:

  • One chief would direct operations for the five participating cities. There would be three deputy chiefs, three battalion commanders and two inspectors. All would be drawn from current staff.
  • The annual cost of a combined management structure is estimated at $1.625 million.
  • It would be paid for through a formula that takes into account the size of coverage areas, average number of annual responses and other criteria.
  • One Richmond Heights fire fighter wondered in a meeting, “who will I work for?”
  • Individuality will not be sacrificed in the name of consolidation.
  • Pat Kelly, the executive director of the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis, (former Brentwood mayor) calls it “a natural progression for municipalities looking at cooperative efforts.”
  • The cities already share East Central Dispatch, and there are discussions to collaborate on equipment purchases.

Read the full report in the Post-Dispatch.


  1. Quite amazed at the vitriol expressed here by some of my neighbors in Brentwood. I’ll admit I’ve not paid attention to your struggles with local government so you could have some legitimate gripes. You do realize when you call for fire service they currently share dispatching and if you call for service it’s possible that one of the other municipalities will respond. I had a suspected fire in my flue and asked for someone to check it out for me. While I only asked for 1 crew from Richmond Heights; Clayton, RH, & Brentwood all responded.

    Since we already share operational coverage of each others municipalities, I believe it makes sense to explore shared administration. Effective administration can lower costs for all of us.

  2. Where do you think Doug Miner gets the news he prints. He attends city hall meetings, speaks with Police Officers, attends sporting events, attends School Board meetings. A lot of these meetings are held during the evening whereas he could be home watching a professional sporting. Doug is into the community and puts in a lot of hours because he likes reporting in writing to the community.

    Keep up the good work Doug I like your articles.

  3. Gene McNary tried this many years ago when he was County Executive. I believe that ended his term in his political career as he was not reelected. Brentwood is Brentwood, please leave us be!

  4. We are going to share the cost of new equipment? So in other words, Brentwood, Clayton and Richmond Heights have to pay for ambulances for Maplewood and Rock Hill? No thank you.

  5. Sound like a very good idea , but the final details are what counts , if done right should be good for all five cities.

  6. This “newspaper” is hardly journalism. Let’s copy the Post Dispatch for half the articles, then make another article about articles that were last weeks top articles, and let’s make 90% of them negative about Brentwood. Ok Doug, we get it…you don’t like Brentwood. You set the stage for negative posts about our mayor, elected officials, city employees, and our own residents. I rarely see anything positive about Brentwood on here. I’m sure it has to do with the small group of loud mouths (No need in recognizing them, they are your co-contributors) that scream how unfair life is, and follow this newspaper like its the bible. Brentwood is the best city in this area. We have set the standard for all other cities to follow. The housing market is incredible, the schools are top rated, our taxes are low, it’s a best rated city to start a business, crime is low- despite the recent spike which IS being addressed by our city government…I could go on and on but it won’t matter. You’ll only see the negative because that’s all you look for.

    • Jack – I see your city as a lot of people who care a lot about their city, school, street, and their own patch of green — whether they support Thornton, Wilson, Kelly, Saunders, Leahey or Niemeyer… I don’t have a dog in any fight here. I just try to publish things that I think you all will be interested in. I see readers’ comments as much a part of the ‘news’ as anything, and I’m grateful that so many of you all take part in the conversation. Thanks for your thoughts, Jack, giving me this opportunity to put in my own two cents.

    • OK Jack you’re either new to Brentwood or this publication.

      Sure we’ve had a good stretch of home sales recently as has most of the county, we’ve always had good schools, low taxes, eh? But as far as city government goes for over a decade there has been one scandal after another in Brentwood.

      The original Patch started following these issues and then when that folded the current publication picked up the coverage. Many disenfranchised Brentwood residents have found a safe place to discuss their positions here. Anyone who knows anything about the dirty trick squad in Brentwood would never feel safe discussing their feelings in an open forum at a city meeting or even at STMM. The voices of those commenting here would otherwise be silenced if not for our ability to do so on the DL. As far as Brentwood setting a standard for other citys to follow…….thats just a joke and I challenge you to find one city official anywhere in the region who would back up your statement. We’re not exactly the gold standard for open and honest government.

      • So you won’t go to a BOA meeting to voice your concerns, but you’ll do it on an online forum where you think it’s going to actually accomplish something? Worried about your feelings? Maybe the board can create a safe place that’s off limits to criticism. But then would you and all of your friends be able to attend?

        • Yea know it all Jack, the Jamboretz- Kelly dirty tricks squad target your “friends” lately/ever?

        • I quit going years ago BOA meetings as they don’t listen to anyone. They are just like Washington. We are stupid, uneducated and they know what is best for us. You know, the people who pay their salary. What they forget when they get in office, they work for us, but they do not realize that part. Sometimes when I used to go to the meetings, I see only a group of people who need hearing aids.

  7. Why will this cost 1.625 million per year? No way do we pay a local fire chief anywhere near that. I’m struggling to see how there is any cost savings involved in this at all. I’d have to see some very significant cost savigs to be okay with this. This seems like a bad idea. Even if it were slightly cheaper, I’d rather pay a little more to actually knowing we’d have more accountability and care from someone local. Something smells very rotten here. A concerned Maplewood resident.

    • Oh, that’s a great idea – name the firehouse after Chief Niemeyer, who for years let the Brentwood firefighters hose taxpayers in a fake overtime scam:

      While we’re at it, why don’t we name city hall after Chris Seemayer, another legendary Brentwood ripoff artist?

      • Apparently you were misinformed. The maintenance that was to be pulled by an outside company would have cost a lot of $$$$. This was not a normal maintenance. The crew that was on duty could not do it. The Chief asked the off duty crews to do it under the supervision of the outside company. They said they would but they wanted to be paid. Neimeyer took the issue to Seemayer who said okay. Remember he was the City Manager and he himself made the decision to pay the off duty crews to assist the outside company do the maintenance, not Neimeyer. My thought is for the amount of money involved Seemayer should have sought input from the Public Safety Board. In addition when this was all made public Niemeyer was interviewed by the Cub Reporter Hampel from the Red Rag Post Dispatch. What the Chief told Hampel is not what the Red Rag printed, just the reverse. Niemeyer and I had a discussion and I informed him some day Kelly would stab him in the back. Hello, he did when he asked the Chief to retire under this mess which would make Niemeyer look like he approved the overtime when he did not, Seemayer did. The Union insisted to Kelly Niemeyer must resign immediately. What did the Union have to do with Niemeyer, his position was not Union. Every firefighter was in support of Niemeyer in staying on and retiring the following April. They lost along with the Chief, Dave Berkley who could have been the next Chief. In addition, the stabbing of Niemeyer caused the city to loose highly qualified firefighters who retired early. There was so much professional talent in the department it was a shame to see them go. If you want this statement verified, called Chief Niemeyer.

        • Right, the whole story was a big fabrication. You must think we take stupid pills with our coffee in the morning.

          • You must be taking something in the morning. Hopefully, Chief Fitzgerald will not catch you and move you down to Arsenal Street.
            God Bless You My Son or Daughter. Take your pick!

  8. Hello out there ! Has anybody been reading my post on the five fire depts. as one ? First, this is a study only. After they vote to go forward, (you know they will ) it will be too late. Why don’t you find out just what they want ? Please, please read the Together is Better study (Nov, 2015) and you will see just what is planned for us; One BIG Fire Dept. ,One BIG Police Dept. and so on. It is all there ! Just read it. Their time table, etc, etc. When we become One BIG City / County, Fire / Police / Roads / Building Depts., life in your city will be over ! As with ALL BIG Goverments you will do as you are TOLD or pay the price ! Did I say pay the price ? I mean you will pay higher taxes, a lot higher . Remember, For Your Safety costs a lot of money. Just ask the residents of St Louis. But after we join together, we can share the cost of BIG GOVERMENT ! I feel better already. Got to go now, today is trash day. Need to go out looking for soda / beer cans to cash in so I can pay my taxes for a BIG GOVERMENT that puts your call on hold for hours or gives you three minutes at a City meeting to talk. By the way, did anybody find a Pokeman OK at the new Dog Park ? I fount a lot of other things but NO Pokieman OK.

  9. Why change something that works. If it were broke, yes, then fix it. Here we go with big government. I don’t want Paramedics who I don’t know coming to my house to treat me. Brentwood has the best and has always had the best. I say No, But He’ll No, leave us alone.

    Brentwood stay out of this espically with Kelly put in his two cents. When is Brentwood going to tear out the firehouse cornerstone with Kelly’s name on it? The firefighters took up a collection to name the firehouse after Chief Neimeyer. Oh, I forgot why should they have been considered to name the firehouse, that is only where they live.

    • Sounds very bureaucratic–big govt to me. I’m not indifferent to betterment, but bigger, more bureaucratically leaning FR’s does not sound better—just expensive.

    • Agreed. I believe the way our cities have been separate (not just in fire protection) is how each of them have contributed their great characteristics traits.

      I do not see any reason for this to happen other than for saving money we dont need to save. Someone will gain from this who sits at a desk instead of keeping that money in the pockets who serve and live in our communities. Sounds like just another person trying to follow suit of what someone else has already though of in big cities in lieu of developing something great for our areas.

      I would like to see the financial details of this move. What are the benefits and where are those benefits going to go.

      Once the population as a whole stops increasing is when we should even start considering to consolidate jobs. At this time we should focus on growing the number of jobs to keep up with the growing population.

      • Sure the building codes and NFPA do a fantastic job these days but 99.9% of the time they are only enforced in industrial and commercial buildings. I have only see one sprinkler system installed within a single family residence and it was a voluntary system. What you may not know is that there is no fire sprinkler product available that is listed to actually extinguish a fire, they are only listed to contain the spread.

        Dont forget that the fire departments do not only fight fires. I am sure you can find that information somewhere out there.

      • Give this garbage a rest, it’s over. Why are you posting the link to this ridiculously biased Post-Disgrace article? It has nothing to do with this story. Find something else to complain about… Nobody cares anymore. Find a hobby.

        • You can tell which commentators here are firefighters desperate to hold on to their high-paying, little-work jobs that primarily involve running trucks out several times a day on BS calls just to boost their stats. (Hey, that’s what a retired firefighter told me!)
          RogerAndOut and SpeakNow – put down the free barbecue that taxpayers pay for, turn off the cable TV in your plush firefighter rec room and polish some fire engine fenders or something. You’re not fooling anyone on this site. (Except maybe Maureen Wheat).

  10. Bad idea, one central chief won’t have the working knowledge of each department nor the abilities of each department employees.

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