Garden Grove fire chief to retire

by in News

GARDEN GROVE — The Garden Grove fire chief notified the city manager of his decision to retire, effective Sept. 14, but at the city manager’s request, he will continue to serve until the end of the year while a decision is made on whether to retain the city fire department or transfer to the Orange County Fire Authority, officials announced.

“It’s been my deepest privilege to serve and protect Orange County for 34 years,” Fire Chief Tom Schultz said in a statement Friday. “This is an amazing community that has shown me their care and support since Day 1.”

Voters in Garden Grove will decide Measure O, a proposed one-cent sales tax which, if passed Nov. 6, would provide a reliable source of locally-controlled revenue for Garden Grove’s public safety and quality-of-life services, according to a statement from the city.

“I have the highest of commendations for the quality leadership Chief Schultz has provided for the Garden Grove Fire Department,” City Manager Scott Stiles said. “Chief Schultz was pivotal in getting the department through a critical period early on, and he was instrumental in refocusing the department on the important and critical mission of providing fire service to the community.”

Schultz will continue to perform his fire chief duties at the same hourly rate he currently receives, but will not receive pension or non-hourly rate benefits and will only be allowed to serve up to 960 hours in the fiscal year, per CalPERS requirements, according to Garden Grove Human Resources Director Laura Stover.

Schultz was named Garden Grove Fire Chief on April 29, 2015, following a 30-year career with the Fullerton Fire Department, leading its management consolidation with the Brea Fire Department when he served as deputy chief.

“It’s bittersweet leaving a job and the people I truly love, but I feel this is a good decision and the right time to retire,” Schultz said. “My family has been instrumental in helping me make this important decision and is supportive of my remaining with Garden Grove during this very crucial period when important decisions must be made.”