On June 5th, 2017

CSLEA & FMESA Meet with State Parks Regarding Emergency Services at Hearst Castle State Parks Agrees to Add Two Firefighter -Security Officer Positions

Cindy Riley, Ron DeLuca & Daren Watkins

By Daren Watkins, FMESA President, CSLEA Director

SAN SIMEON – On June 1, 2017, Fire Marshal and Emergency Services Association (FMESA) President Daren Watkins, FMESA Director Ron DeLuca, FMESA Member Cindie Riley, and California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) Senior Legal Counsel Dave De La Riva met at Hearst Castle to discuss the ongoing staffing issues as Hearst Castle.  Staffing concerns at Hearst Castle were raised in 2016 when staffing of firefighter-security officers dropped from five positions to just three, plus a captain.

Firefighter/Security Officer Cindie Riley during Chimney firefight in August 2016

“We were pleased to learn, after many, many months of working on this issue, that State Parks is now adding those two firefighter-security officer positions back at Hearst Castle and has posted the positions,” said Watkins.  “The firefighter-security officer position is a vital piece of the public safety system at Hearst Castle.  The addition of two personnel to the already low staffing is a significant step by Parks to ensure the safety of all those that visit the Castle.  We hope that an exam is administered, and additional positions can be added in the future to ensure the safety of the monument as well as those who visit it.”

FMESA and CSLEA have been addressing the staffing concerns at Hearst Castle for the past nine months including discussion regarding the hiring process, the lack of an exam since 2009, and the ability to use a hiring list from other agencies as well.

“With the merging of the State Employed Fire Fighters Association (SEFFA) and FMESA in late 2016, the issue became a top priority for FMESA to address,” said Watkins.  “We wanted to make a clear statement that our members and their concerns come first, including our newest members formerly in SEFFA.”

Hearst Castle staffs a full-time fire department to help protect the people, the monument, and the land around the castle 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  In addition to fire protection, the FF/SO also serves as a law enforcement officer when requested, and when Park Rangers are also not available.

Department of Parks & Recreation



Final Filing Date: 6/13/2017

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