Chief Chris Sellers Retires After 35 Years
By Lynne Bronstein
The City Council bade farewell again on May 27 to a city servant who had given his best to Culver City-Fire Chief Chris Sellers, who is retiring after four years of service.
Chief Sellers filled the position vacated by Jeffrey Eastman who retired in December 2009 after 32 years of service.
"It gives me the greatest of pride to present this commendation to you," said council member Mehaul O' Leary, as the council gathered in the well below the dais, "because Andy [Weissman] and [Jeff Cooper] and I were on the team that made the decision to hire you. We knew you were the guy for the job. You specifically knocked the ball out of the ballgame with this assignment."
O' Leary then read the commendation, which described how Chief Sellers began his career in 1979 as a fire cadet with Los Angeles County, his arrival and hiring by the city as a paramedic in 1984, promotion to captain in 1996, battalion chief in 2002, and his appointment as acting Fire Chief in 2009.
The commendation said that, as Fire Chief, Sellers "provided tremendous leadership," demonstrated "a sense of responsibility, humility, and courage," and had "received numerous letters and accolades from the community."
During the time he was acting fire chief, Sellers' accomplishments included playing a key role in the City's Fire Department Accreditation in 2009; developing and implementing the Area "A" Operations Bulletins to enhance resource availability; developing and implementing the City's Emergency Preparedness Committee and Emergency Operations Center relocation; and securing funding for the expansion of the Interagency Communications Interoperability System (ICIS).
Sellers also participated in the introduction of the "Smart 911" system that allows residents to give authorities information about themselves and their homes that will be displayed to 911 operators during an emergency. Culver City was the first city in California to implement this system.
Sellers seemed to be surprised by the warm reception with which he was greeted. "I am humbled," he said, adding that he had prepared a written speech but had left it in his pocket.
Instead, he spoke candidly. "I don't know what I can truly express that the city and the department has meant to me.
"I came to this city 30 years ago-I thought that this city was a special city."
He thanked all the council members who had appointed him (including former members Chris Armenta and Scott Malsin).
"I've had the privilege of working with people who are so talented and dedicated that it made my job easy."
The audience gave Sellers a standing ovation.
Also relating to fire safety, the Council held a public hearing to introduce an ordinance to repeal and replace Chapter 9.02 of Title 9 of the Culver City Municipal Code (CCMC) and adopting by reference the 2013 California Fire Code (CFC) with local amendments, as well as ) adopting a proposed resolution making express findings for modification to the Fire Code based on local climatic, geological, and topographical conditions.
The IFC is a model code developed by the International Code Council which combined three of the major model code groups into one council with the intent to create one universal code for the entire United States.