Villaraigosa names Brian Cummings interim fire chief
Brian Cummings will oversee the department until the mayor names a permanent replacement for outgoing Chief Millage Peaks. Villaraigosa said in a statement Thursday that Cummings, who served as assistant chief to Peaks, is well suited to carry on the changes implemented by his former boss.
"Cummings is intimately familiar with the details and inner workings of the organization, allowing him to pick up where Chief Peaks left off and ensuring the smoothest transition possible," Villaraigosa said.
Peaks announced his retirement last month, after 22 months as chief. He oversaw the department during a period of steep budget cuts and staff reductions. After Villaraigosa ordered the department to trim $54 million from its 2011-12 budget, Peaks crafted a redeployment plan that called for fire trucks or ambulances at about one-fourth of the city's 106 fire stations to be put out of service.
On Thursday the head of the firefighters union said Cummings "worked so hard to sell the public and elected officials on the plan to close fire companies and ambulances."
Pat McOsker, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, said he hopes Cummings "will focus on safety and training."
"He probably will because, after all, he would tend to feel responsible for any delayed-response deaths that occur now," McOsker said. "We wish him well and we are here to work with him on the public safety goals that we share."
Cummings is a 31-year veteran of the department. He comes from a family of firefighters. His father was a firefighter with the LAFD, and his brother is a captain in the department.
-- Kate Linthicum at City Hall
Photo: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times