MARTINEZ -- The Pittsburg fire station is still slated for closure next month, but there will be no immediate layoffs or demotions the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday.

The board also set July 5 as the official closing date instead of July 1 for the station on West Leland Road so that coverage is provided over the Fourth of July holiday.

A new formula for making distributions from a voter-approved parcel tax measure along with attrition due to the expected retirement of several firefighters in the Contra Costa County Fire District over the next six months are factors in not having job losses, according to a staff report.

"We believe we do not need to do any demotions or layoffs," when the Pittsburg station closes, County Administrator David Twa told supervisors.

The unanimous action taken by supervisors also calls for the elimination of more than 100 vacant positions and for officials from the county and ConFire to work together to come up with some new operational procedures because of resources being more limited from station closures.

"I think there is a lot of value in that and hope there can be a dialogue," said Supervisor Federal Glover, whose district includes Pittsburg.

"We need to have operational changes to protect our firefighters," said Supervisor Karen Mitchoff.


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An earlier proposal had called for five positions -- a fire captain and four fire engineers -- to be demoted but that was taken off the table as a result of an additional $477,550 in funding for fiscal year 2013-14 from Measure H, a parcel tax approved by county voters in 1988 to support emergency medical services. A new funding formula makes it possible for ConFire to receive its allotment of Measure H funding on the basis of population instead of the old formula tied to per-engine.

The fire station closures stem from voters in November rejecting a parcel tax that would have raised about $17 million annually over seven years to offset a drop in revenues linked to lower property taxes and higher health care and pension costs.

In January, officials shut down stations in Lafayette, Martinez and Walnut Creek and began staffing the Clayton station on a part-time basis.

Ben Smith, a ConFire battalion chief, told supervisors that the closures have resulted in "a ramshackle of a fire department. I challenge you to make hard choices, to make the right choice, to find money to make this work. We cannot close another fire station."

On May 8, supervisors voted to close the Pittsburg fire station, which is one of three that serves the city. They also voted to close another yet-to-be-determined station on Jan. 1, 2014, which would leave 22 stations in the district, which serves much of Central County as well as Antioch, Pittsburg and San Pablo.

Twa said it's possible that when the yet-be-named-station closes in January, there could be no additional layoffs, provided the expected number of retirements occur over the next six months.

Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.