SAFETY : Disaster Deputies Replace Chief

Pasadena City Manager Phil Hawkey will replace embattled Fire Chief Kaya Pekerol as his second-in-command during disasters with a handpicked team of disaster deputies.

Hawkey said Pekerol will probably be chosen as one of several deputies who will answer only to the city manager in emergencies. Previously, Pekerol was chief disaster coordinator for Hawkey.

Hawkey said the move will give him more flexibility and better control in managing disasters. Pekerol said the personnel change is a personal attack on him for filing claims against Hawkey and the city.

In November, Pekerol was suspended with pay for unspecified performance issues and for going over Hawkey's head and appealing directly to the City Council for a raise. In January, Pekerol filed two claims against Hawkey and other top city officials, alleging they conspired against him and slandered him.

Before the November suspension, Pekerol had been the target of a no-confidence vote taken by nearly 100 firefighters. The Fire Department had also been cited by a state health and safety agency for, among other things, issuing faulty or inadequate equipment during the 1993 Altadena fire.

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