Garden Grove Fire Chief Tom Schultz has notified City Manager Scott Stiles of his decision to retire, effective Friday, September 14, 2018. At the request of the city manager, Schultz will continue to serve as an annuitant fire chief until the end of year, while a decision is made whether to retain the current City fire department or transfer to the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA).
“It’s been my deepest privilege to serve and protect Orange County for 34 years. This is an amazing community that has shown me their care and support since Day 1. It’s bittersweet leaving a job and the people I truly love, but I feel this is a good decision and the right time to retire. I believe that together, we’ve made things better and made many great accomplishments, such as improving firefighter safety, service delivery to our citizens, and adoption of best industry practices. My family has been instrumental in helping me make this important decision and is supportive of my remaining with Garden Grove during this very crucial period when important decisions must be made,” says Chief Schultz.
Along with the fire services decision is Measure O, a proposed one-cent (1 percent) sales tax which, if passed by Garden Grove voters during the November 6 elections, would provide a reliable source of locally-controlled revenue for Garden Grove’s public safety and quality-of-life services.
“I have the highest of commendations for the quality leadership Chief Schultz has provided for the Garden Grove Fire Department. Chief Schultz was pivotal in getting the department through a critical period early on, and he was instrumental in refocusing the department on the important and critical mission of providing fire service to the community. As some of our recent surveying suggests, our Garden Grove firefighters continue to receive high marks for their outstanding service. I’m grateful to Chief Schultz for his leadership during this time,” says Garden Grove City Manager Scott Stiles.
According to Garden Grove Human Resources Director Laura Stover, Schultz will continue to perform his fire chief duties as a retired annuitant, at the same hourly rate he currently receives, and will not receive pension or non-hourly rate benefits. Under CalPERS requirements, he cannot serve for more than 960 hours in the fiscal year (July through June).
Schultz joined the City of Garden Grove on April 29, 2015, following a 30-year career with the Fullerton Fire Department, leading their management consolidation with the Brea Fire Department when he served as deputy chief. He continues to mentor future firefighters and fire service leaders as an instructor at the Santa Ana College fire technology program, and has held leadership positions in organizations such as the Orange County Fire Chiefs’ Association, and many county and state committees.