LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Mayor Eric Garcetti Thursday called for the resignation of LAFD Chief Brian Cummings and appointed a new interim head of the department.
James Feathersone has been appointed as Acting Chief of the department effective Nov. 1, and Cummings is set to retire in February following a period of transition, according to the Mayor’s office.
Featherstone is a former LAFD captain and is currently head of the city’s Emergency Management Department, where he will return after a permanent chief is found, officials said.
“I thank Chief Cummings for his service to Los Angeles. My agenda for the Fire Department is focused on reducing response times, improving technology, to make sure we’re prepared for every emergency,” Mayor Garcetti said in a statement.
Garcetti publicly insists Cummings’ resignation was a mutually agreed upon decision.
“He’s a good man. I’ve decided to take a different direction, and that’s something we agreed upon mutually, then the last couple of days he’s been informed about it,” Garcetti told KNX1070’s Claudia Peschuitta.
Cummings, a 32-year LAFD veteran, was appointed chief in September 2011, succeeding Millage Peaks, who retired from public service after more than 30 years with the department.
Cummings issued the following statement Thursday morning:
“Serving those who, live, work and play in Los Angeles is an extremely rewarding experience. It is a profound honor to work with and lead you incredible men and women of the LAFD. Every day, responding to over 1,100 calls for service, you make a positive difference in the lives of so many Angelinos. LAFD employees and volunteers have risen to the multiple challenges of increased workload, decreased funding, staff reductions, fewer apparatus and aging equipment. All the while, you continue to provide world class public safety, save lives and protect property. I could not be more proud of what you accomplish each day.”
“I remain committed to the on-going success of this great Department. I will retire confident that Los Angeles’ strong support of Public Safety and the Los Angeles Fire Department will afford the continued provision of service befitting the City of Angels. Be well and be safe.”
Under Cummings’ direction, the LAFD was criticized for its slow response times and budget problems.
On March 21, 2012, former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered Cummings to stop withholding basic information about department responses to medical emergencies.
In a letter to the fire chief, Villaraigosa directed Cummings to “immediately resume releasing information that provides LAFD incident specifics without violating federal law.”
Earlier this year, Cummings came under fire when he posted a picture on Twitter from a department fundraiser of three men wearing fake mustaches and sombreros.
“I sincerely apologize for any insensitivity or disrespect to anyone offended by posing for the photo from the Hope for Firefighters event,” he then wrote.
Calls to Cummings were not immediately returned to CBS2/KCAL9.
The LAFD has more than 3,600 personnel and staffs 106 fire stations across 471 square miles in the city of Los Angeles.