With war against Iraq looming, three of the 16 military reservists
who work for the city have already been called up for active duty and
more could follow.
Two call-ups were of rank-and-file employees in the Public Works
Department, Burbank Management Services Director John Nicoll said.
The men are Army reservists.
In another case, a division head in the Fire Department was
ordered to report, a move that will affect the department’s
For the second time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,
Disaster Preparedness Coordinator Rich Baenen was called to active
duty in the U.S. Coast Guard.
His duty could last up to a year. Fire officials said they will
feel a pinch during Baenen’s absence. His responsibilities include
planning and evaluating citywide disaster drills, assessing the
city’s vulnerability to disasters and training and recruiting
volunteers to the city’s civilian disaster response programs.
“He’s a major part of our department,” Fire Chief Mike Davis said.
“I don’t like losing him, but we’ll have to find a way to recover.”
A recent city hiring freeze chilled plans to hire an assistant
coordinator to assist Baenen.
During Baenen’s first call-up, which lasted 10 months, Fire Capt.
Ron Barone was taken off the line to fill in. When Baenen came back
-- following a request by City Manager Bud Ovrom’s to Baenen’s
commanders -- Barone was authorized to continue to help Baenen.
Officials hoped an assistant coordinator would take over by the end
of this month. Because of a previous agreement, Barone would go back
to working at a station.
Davis said a replacement for Baenen has not been determined.
Baenen hopes to keep tabs with the unit, but said a new
coordinator’s hands will be full now that bioterrorism planning has
become a new factor, volunteer programs have grown and only one
person is respon- sible for coordinating it all.