The following article was acquired from The Modesto Bee and was written by Kristin Lam.
Turlock moves forward with Modesto fire contract. What did consultant recommend?
Modesto could provide fire command services for Turlock as soon as next month after the Turlock City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve the contract.
Representatives from groups including the Turlock firefighters union and consultant Citygate Associates urged the council to pass the contract lasting through June 2026.
Citygate, which the city hired in October to conduct a six-month master plan study of Turlock Fire, said further research will not change its support for the contract. Turlock Fire needs leadership and stability, Citygate consultant Stewart Gary said, and Modesto can take care of the city’s firefighters.
“Turlock Fire had eroded to the point where things like this (contract) are a best-fit solution and will be part of the master plan,” Gary said. “There’s no material reason to wait, just like possibly buying replacement firetrucks before the master plan is fully finished.”
With all the vacancies in Turlock Fire, Gary said it makes sense to approve the contract before Citygate completes the master plan study.
The Turlock firefighters union endorsed the contract Tuesday after opposing it last month. Ernst met with union members multiple times and answered their questions, President Chad Hackett said.
“We look forward to working with Chief Ernst and moving the Turlock Fire Department forward and being a regional partner within Stanislaus County,” Hackett said.