Schabarum Seeks Probe of 2 Fire Officials Who Aired Allegations

Times Staff Writer

Supervisor Pete Schabarum criticized two fire commissioners Tuesday for airing allegations of mismanagement in the Los Angeles County Fire Department and called for an investigation of their actions.

Schabarum accused Fire Commission Chairman Fred Kline and Commissioner John T. Stevens of discrediting the county's fire service by making "unsubstantiated" allegations public without "any consideration being given to their truthfulness."

"Something has gone awry," he said. "I want some answers, and I think the board deserves an explanation of how and why this imbroglio occurred."

The two commissioners expressed "grave concern" about the direction of the Fire Department in a letter to Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael D. Antonovich. They also called for a fiscal audit and replacement of the current management.

Responding in a report to supervisors, County Fire Chief John W. Englund characterized the Kline-Stevens charges as "half-truths, rumor, innuendo and cheap shots." He suggested that the two commissioners want to control the Fire Department through the Fire Commission, which now has a strictly advisory role.

In offering a motion calling for the county administrative officer to investigate, Schabarum said that Kline and Stevens had never discussed their charges with others on the seven-member Fire Commission.

"By questioning management's judgment on sensitive issues and by airing their personal views on a wide range of subjects as though they were the collective views of the commission, these individuals have done a disservice to the Fire Department and the county," Schabarum said.

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