Santa Barbara County’s New Fire Chief Appointed

Source: County of Santa Barbara

Today, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved the appointment of Mark A. Hartwig as the next Fire Chief of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. This announcement comes after a months-long competitive selection process and several rounds of interviews.

Since 2011, Hartwig has served as Fire Chief of the San Bernardino County Fire District, leading a department of 1,065 employees, 70 fire stations and covering 10 incorporated cities and 60 unincorporated communities. He was recognized as the 2017 California Fire Chief of the Year by the California State Fire Chiefs’ Association, and was appointed by then-Governor Brown to the California Commission on Emergency Medical Services on which he continues to serve. His first official day as Santa Barbara County Fire Chief will be February 18, 2019, where he will oversee a department of 16 fire stations, two battalions, three divisions and about 245 full-time employees.

Prior to being named San Bernardino County Fire Chief, Hartwig served six years with the Rancho Cucamonga Fire Protection District, where he was promoted to the rank of Deputy Chief. Prior to that, he served with San Bernardino County Fire, starting as an extra-help firefighter in 1992 and working his way to the rank of captain, serving as the department’s Emergency Medical Services supervisor and training officer.

“Santa Barbara County has a long history of catastrophic fires, but an equally long history of outstanding Fire Chiefs who have guided our department and County through these tough times,” said Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, Chair of the Board. “Our board is confident that Chief Hartwig brings with him the experience, expertise and drive to take on this challenge. We are committed to provide him with the tools that he needs to do his job effectively.”

According to County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato, “We were fortunate to be presented with several highly qualified and exemplary candidates for this critical position. Chief Hartwig stood out given his experience, statewide leadership, expertise in emergency medical services, and understanding of disaster readiness. I have every confidence that he will bring strong, steady leadership and a continued commitment to our Fire Department’s time-honored tradition of excellence, professionalism and preparedness.”

During his career, Chief Hartwig developed an expertise in emergency medical services and most recently has been working closely with the California Fire Chiefs Association to help solidify county and local government’s role in the delivery of emergency medical services. He served as president of the California Fire Chiefs Association for 2017-18 and is an advisory board member for the Loma Linda University Emergency Medical Care Program and the Victor Valley Community College Paramedic Academy. In December 2012, Chief Hartwig was appointed to the California Commission on Emergency Medical Services.

“I am excited to join the Santa Barbara County team and the well-respected County Fire Department, and look forward to further engaging our communities and our partners in the ongoing review and development of disaster readiness and response,” stated Mark Hartwig.  “Engagement and partnerships are the keys to success.”

Miyasato added, “I would like to recognize former Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Mike Dyer, who has served as Interim Fire Chief since the retirement of Chief Eric Peterson last fall. We appreciate his willingness to fill an important role.”

Chief Hartwig has a master’s degree in Emergency Services Administration, bachelor’s Degrees in Zoology and Emergency Medical Care, and associate degrees in Paramedic Studies and Fire Administration; and numerous certifications in fire studies.

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  1. Suggestions of hiring more firefighters are not listened to because the unions want the OT for their own fatness and to increase their retirement. A true member of the Board of Supervisors and an objective new Chief would push for more firefighters. This is not what is happening. Instead this new guy who is already on retirement pay from another jurisdiction will pad his income, push for the economic interests of the other workers, kiss the butt of any politician that he can find and pass the system on to the next greedy jerk who comes behind.

  2. “Transparent California” is just one of the many names used by the tax-exempt “free-market think tank” Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI). NPRI refuses to provide its own funding sources, stating, “NPRI respects the privacy of our donors, which includes the amount of a donor’s gift”.
    NPRI’s primary funding source, as determined by The Conservative Transparency Project, is Donors Capital Fund, a dark-money source of funding for conservative groups. Its donors also include The Cato Institute, co-founded by the Koch brothers, and organizations affiliated with the climate change denial movement.
    NPRI spends 75% of its revenue on six-figure salaries and benefits. Its goal is to undermine support for employee unions nationwide, thereby decreasing salaries and increasing corporate profits.

  3. After major brush fires every year for a decade now and given that climate change insures that more will happen why in the world did the Board of Supervisors chose a new Chief whose expertise is medical response rather than wild fire suppression/prevention?

  4. Disgusting. Another rotating retirement scheme. This guy will milk the system dry and help others do the same. What is wrong with the elected officials who continue to game the system this way? Oh, maybe its the support of the firefighters in their political campaigns?

  5. Because it IS a revolving retirement scheme and it DOES have nothing to do with protecting the community and it SURVIVES off of pulling emotional heart strings. For a peak inside read the Aug 24, 2018 LA Times article by Jack Dolan and Ryan Menezes. They lay out the entire scheme.
    And for those of you who pretend it’s not prevelant in every layer of SB politics, just remember, the ones in power are the ones that have more of a reason to distract you and pull the wool over your eyes. In an eleqnent and well presented way of course.

  6. I see that currently, Mr. Hartwig is limping along with an all-in for the taxpayer salary (are you sitting down?) of only $400k in 2016; $362k in 2014; presumably he’s making more now.
    I know rules are to keep say only “nice” things; but I don’t think this is reasonable–or sustainable for the taxpayer.
    Check out transparent California–go to “Santa Barbara County”–search by entering “fire” and
    you’ll see that Santa Barbara County has perhaps 100 fire fighters who are making over $200k year with “overtime”.

  7. With none of those silly profits to keep the market inline, we get an unlimited ceiling for government worker compensation. It’s especially amplified by the sanctimonious lovefest we see for the FD and PDs. Not the EMT’s though, they’re getting slightly over min-wage and no overtime… This insanity is direct result of the public unions and their stranglehold on our elected officials and bureaucrats. Public union, a true oxymoron if there ever was one… As if these greedy shills are working for the interest of the public! As for this man: He’s working the system for all its worth… So as it’s said: Hate the game, not the player.

  8. I would like to see more people hired for many reasons. However, more hiring also means that more benefits need to be paid. Which, I’ve been told in the past, can ultimately cost more than overtime. Don’t know how true that is, and don’t think it should be as much of an issue with firefighters, as more people available to fight fires makes good sense. I do find it sad that the retirement is set the way it is. Retiring from one area, and then collecting more high end retirement from others.

  9. I agree with the above poster(s)- The local fire jurisdictions NEED to clean house and address the OT issue. It would be nice if more of the “pie” was shared with more young new hires rather than doling out big OT buck to a minimum staff level. I would much rather see more local young peeps who aspire to be firefighters than the same guys raking in $200K + for a job that’s base is $90k

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