L.A. fire chief who was criticized for budget-cutting plan says he will step down
Just 22 months after he took the helm of the Los Angeles Fire Department, Chief Millage Peaks announced Monday that he is stepping down.
Peaks, who began his career as a firefighter for the city 35 years ago, oversaw the department through a period of unprecedented budget cuts and staff reductions.
His departure comes about a month after the City Council approved his controversial redeployment plan, which calls for firetrucks or ambulances at about one-fourth of the 106 fire stations to be put out of service.
In a statement, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised Peaks’ “unwavering commitment to his fellow firefighters and the residents of this city,” as well as his creativity during “the most difficult financial time the department had ever faced.”
The redeployment plan, which Peaks crafted after the mayor asked him to trim more than $50 million from the department’s budget, was opposed by the firefighters union and generated outcry from some community members who said it prioritized the bottom line over public safety.
“We think that the cuts were draconian and there will be civilian fatalities as a result,” said LAFD Capt. Scott Gould.
-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Los Angeles Fire Dept. Chief Millage Peaks. Credit: Los Angeles Times