Craig Jorgens


“Jorgens best to fix huge Moraga Orinda Fire debt” – East Bay Times Endorses Craig Jorgens

“The district needs directors who will work aggressively to reduce the shortfall. In Division 5, that person is Craig Jorgens, an engineer and MBA who is also president of the Orinda Downs Owners Association and served on Orinda’s Citizens Infrastructure Oversight Committee” – East Bay Times editorial, October 31, 2016

I want to represent North Orinda on the Moraga Orinda Fire Board.

I am a retired business executive with broad experience in operations, engineering and finance.  I will provide new and creative ideas to address MOFD’s ongoing financial and operational challenges.

In representing North Orinda, I would work to ensure optimal allocation and location of MOFD’s resources to provide us with the best possible emergency response times.  I am results oriented, budget minded, problem solver and believe strongly in open discussion and transparency for every aspect of MOFD.

My educational and work background will allow me to bring a fresh perspective and creative insights to aid in solving MOFD’s complex pension and logistical issues.

  • Retired President of a Public Satellite Communications Company
  • Former Orinda Infrastructure Committee (CIOC) member
    • Introduced new paving method to City that lowers initial cost by 15% and increases road lifespan by 50% over traditional methods.    As of 2016, all Orinda road reconstruction utilizes this new technology.
  • Executive Director of Corporate Development/Mergers & Acquisitions for AirTouch, the USA’s largest cellular operator (now 55% of Verizon)
  • Former management consultant
    • Quickly understand and address operational and financial needs
  • HOA President in North Orinda
    • Responsible for 100 acres of high fire hazard open space
  • BS in Engineering/Business Economics from Harvey Mudd College, the science and engineering college of the Claremont Colleges, Claremont CA
  • MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

I believe MOFD can:

  •  Improve its service level by improving efficiency and being more fiscally responsible.
  • Use data analysis to reduce response times especially for Sleepy Hollow and El Toyonal where they can currently be over 10 minutes.  Every minute increases the risk of death by 10% for heart attack and stroke victims
    • Predict medical emergencies locations, time of day and day of week like many surrounding communities.  During peak times, position resources appropriately to improve response times.
  •  Develop targeted fire prevention programs utilizing the latest fire propagation models to prevent firestorms.
    • Detailed satellite mapping, can identify potential “hot spots” with a goal to target and minimize combustible material. The currently used State Fire Risk Maps provide insufficient detail for this analysis.
  • Manage MOFD’s $50 million unfunded pension/medical benefit liability by:
    • Controlling future pension obligations.
    •  Improving returns on its investment portfolios.
    • Pay down pension liabilities more quickly using excess cash to fund locally managed benefit trusts.
  • Treat all employees with the respect they deserve

I would be honored to represent North Orinda on MOFD’s board, and I would appreciate your vote.

Please click the Endorse Craig or Sign tab to add your support.

Craig Jorgens

 Below is the October  Orinda News Questions and Answers about MOFD from Craig

1)    Why are you running for the MOFD District 5 board position and what expertise will you bring to the board?

As a retired business executive and 24-year Orinda resident, I have the time and desire to give back and serve our community. Our family was raised here and attended Orinda’s public schools. Drawing from my broad experience in Engineering, Finance and Operations, with degrees in Engineering/Economics and an MBA, I bring a fresh perspective and creative solutions to MOFD’s complex pension and logistical issues. I am experienced in the public sector, having worked with both US and foreign governments on enhancing emergency preparedness utilizing cellular and satellite communications systems.   As a member of the Orinda Infrastructure Committee, I demonstrated my ability to add value by introducing a new road construction method that lowers the initial construction costs while increasing the useful life of Orinda’s roads by 50% over previous methods.  All Orinda road construction in 2016 will use this new technology.

2    Half of Division 5 is designated Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. Currently, MOFD’s plan is to reduce vegetation fire load by encouraging annual weed removal by residents. How will you influence MOFD to mitigate the fire dangers to Division 5?

Many of us moved to Orinda, in part, for its forests and the hills. These beautiful areas and our adjacent regional park lands contribute significantly to high fire risks, especially in times of drought.  Proactive prevention is “worth a pound of cure”. To prevent another firestorm, we need to allocate more MOFD resources to targeted abatement in addition to the current weed programs.
Through detailed satellite mapping, we can identify “hot spots” with a goal to target and minimize combustible material. The currently used State Fire Risk Maps provide insufficient detail for this analysis.
Besides timely weed abatement notifications to residents, in the critical hot spots where fires could escalate quickly, MOFD should communicate and actively manage house-by-house plans to reduce fuel loads. Independent studies of Sleepy Hollow identified critical roads that could be closed by hot spots which underscore the priority.
Abatement involves minimizing certain highly flammable species, trimming up low branches and eliminating underbrush. There may be government grants available to perform the analysis and begin abatement, especially in the 50% of our District outside the city limits of Orinda and Moraga. For our open spaces various abatement approaches can be evaluated for cost effectiveness ranging from goats to rototilling.

3. Currently most emergency calls to the Sleepy Hollow/Orinda Downs area (around 600 homes in Division 5) have response times in excess of the MOFD benchmark of six minutes. How would you go about fixing this discrepancy?

Response times are directly related to the distance between the responders and the incident. Since over 90% of Code 3 incidents are medical emergencies and each minute of response time decreases the likelihood of survival by 10%, this issue is critical. Orinda View and Orinda Downs response times will improve by 1-2 minutes when Station 16 in Lafayette returns to service in 2018.  Until then, and for Sleepy Hollow and much of El Toyonal, the most fundamental way to decrease response times is to locate responders closer to the areas of need during predicted peak demand times as some other communities do. We can immediately help cut response times by proactively implementing programs targeted specifically at both these remote homes and homes we identify of higher risk residents, those under 6 and over 65, using data analysis.  One step MOFD can take is to research monitored emergency alarm systems and encourage/incentivize these residents to install them in their homes.  Monitored systems eliminate one call transfer after dialing 911 and could significantly shorten the detection time of fires when no one is home.

4. Approximately 35 of the districts fire hydrants were rated “grossly inadequate” in 1995. Of the 19 inadequate hydrants in Division 5, 15 are in areas designated Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones. How will you help MOFD to upgrade these hydrants?

According to MOFD, fire hydrant capacity is more important in fighting wild fires Than structure fires.  Low flow, low pressure hydrants, fire trucks and a 3000-gallon tanker truck are usually adequate for a structure fire. When there is a wildfire, MOFD calls on the CalFire, Confire and surrounding agencies from other counties to assist.  Within an hour 135-150 emergency responders and helicopters and airplanes are dispatched to the scene.
The sequential cluster of “grossly inadequate” hydrants near Charles Hill Road is the most critical issue since lone hydrants can be bypassed and pumped around but clusters cannot.   It costs more than $300,000/hydrant on average to replace the old water pipes and EBMUD pays only 10%. Orinda voters have twice voted against funding a full solution so we must target our resources to the most severe situations.  Again, a proactive, targeted fire prevention program can help address much of this issue before a long term solution is reached. EBMUD replaces aging pipes at their own expense in on a 100-year schedule.  When we do replace pipes we also need to plan ahead and coordinate with our road replacement projects.

5. Whether or not Orinda taxpayers pay more than their fair share of MOFD’s expenses has been a hot topic for many years as well as unfunded pension liabilities. How would you address these financial concerns?

I believe public entities always need to listen to the community’s issues and ideas and present any analysis of issues and decisions openly.  On fairness, I would concur with the three current board members who at a recent board meeting agreed that as long as the issue remains unresolved in the eyes of numerous taxpayers, it deserves to be addressed. I understand there was never a public document disclosed by the Orinda City Council any Committee or LAFCO that quantified the analysis of the situation including current and anticipated capital expenditures and operating expense allocations.

We currently have more than $50 million in unfunded liabilities at MOFD.  I am concerned that our pension fund manager’s (CCCERA) rate of return projections are optimistic given their portfolio makeup and historical returns. A small decline in their projected returns can dramatically increase our liability.    We need to fully understand the potential outcomes and plan accordingly.