Rick Sitta, who earned a commendation for bravery in the 2003 Cedar Fire and left Coronado in 2007 as division fire chief, has been promoted to leader of Heartland Fire & Rescue—the agency that covers La Mesa, Lemon Grove and El Cajon.
“The Joint Powers Agreement which formed Heartland Fire and Rescue has been a major success,” said Douglas Williford, the El Cajon city manager who helped select Sitta along with his La Mesa and Lemon Grove counterparts, “and Rick has played a significant role in that success.
“We were fortunate to have such a highly qualified individual already within the organization and we look forward to working with Chief Sitta as he assumes his new duties.”
According to a news release, Deputy Fire Chief Sitta was elevated to chief Tuesday, succeeding Mike Scott, who retired last month.
Sitta, 52, had been a fire division chief in El Cajon and Coronado since 2003. He left Coronado in 2007 and was saluted for having won a medal of valor.
Sitta, whose annual salary is $134,950, will oversee operations of the cooperative management services for the fire and rescue departments in El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove.
The three cities merged their fire services in 2010, after the approval of a joint powers agreement that created a single management team to oversee the day-to-day operations for the trio of East County fire departments.
Lemon Grove Councilwoman and La Mesa chamber CEO Mary England said: “I am confident that we shall continue our collaboration and excellence in fire protection for all of our residents under his leadership. I look forward to meeting Mr. Sitta soon.”
And Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom, who has met Sitta only once, said she hoped he would continue the collaboration “and continue to seek possible ways to expand.”
And Sessom said she was confident in the selection process, since “we have three great city managers as well as outside city folks helping, so I’ve full confidence that Mr. Sitta is the best for the job.”
Sitta will oversee operations of the cooperative management services for the three fire and rescue departments in El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove. The three cities merged their fire services on Jan. 1, 2010, after the city councils for those cities approved a Joint Powers Agreement that created a single management team to oversee the day-to-day operations for the three fire departments.