San Jose Names Curtis Jacobson Interim Fire Chief

A 23-year veteran of the San Jose Fire Department has been promoted to temporarily lead the agency until the city manager appoints a permanent chief.

Curtis Jacobson, a deputy chief, will step into his new role Feb. 1, the city announced Tuesday. Interim Chief Ruben Torres retires this week—taking with him about $145,000 in annual pension payouts—so he can start his new job as chief of the Livermore-Pleasanton Joint Fire Department.

Jacobson will hold the agency's top job while the city conducts a national search for candidates to fill the role for the long run, interim City Manager Norberto Dueñas said in a memo to the City Council.

The final candidate will be chosen by whoever the council appoints as city manager, Dueñas added.

The city hired Jacobson as a firefighter in 1992. He climbed the ranks, being promoted to captain in 1999 and battalion chief in 2007.

From 2011 to 2013, he worked as a higher-class deputy chief and, last year, as a division chief. His base salary in 2013, the most recent year reported in a public database, was $141,835.

"Curtis has served in many capacities in fire operations, fire prevention, training, administration, and as fire marshal,"Dueñas said. "He has a broad and deep knowledge of the firefighting profession, our department and its staff, as well as our community as a result of his active personal community engagement."


    • Ya…most have abandoned the sinking ship caused by elected officials and “angry” (more like vindictive) voters. Anyone surprised by this?

  1. “Interim Chief Ruben Torres retires this week—taking with him about $145,000 in annual pension payouts—so he can start his new job as chief of the Livermore-Pleasanton Joint Fire Department.”

    Notice how they threw that in? Always trying to stir the pot to get people fired up to TRY and make more news. Too bad, SJI. Chief Torres earned his pension, he has all rights to it and he can work anywhere else he chooses and earn another one. There is no law against it, so why not try putting aside your jealous, petty cares and try lose some of your bias and be a REAL journalist instead of playing at it.

  2. Why does this article keep quoting salaries? Does anyone else consider this crude & classless? Why didn’t the author cite HIS gross salary? Try reporting the news revelant to the headlines & the public might consider your website more than a tabloid.

    • Exactly. It’s just their way of trying to stir the pot. It looks tasteless and is very classless. Consider the source–classless reporting from a classless rag.

  3. To the “Silicon Valley Newsroom”

    This article as well as the one you wrote about Chief Torres retiring from the San Jose Fire Department both note salaries and in Chief Torres case his potential new salary with the Livermore/Pleasanton Fire Department. The reason Chief Torres is leaving is he still has plenty to offer to the fire service in that capacity. However due to the City of San Jose’s nepotism policy he can not become the permanent Fire Chief because is son works on the department as a firefighter. The writers of these two articles failed to mention this. Maybe it should have been mentioned to see what thought provoking conversation might have arisen about the city’s nepotism policy. Or maybe the article could have mentioned how well the City and in this case the fire department have done in hiring and supporting exceptional people to move upward through the ranks. Due to this support now other agencies are more than willing to hire these exceptional people for their dedication and experience as it will enhance their organization as well. It would be nice to see some positive dialogue that was fostered by the writers of San Jose Inside. It would be nice to see writers gather all of the information and factually report it so the readers can draw their own conclusions. Instead the surfaced is scratched and then put to print. I have to ask myself if I’m reading journalism or is it sensationalism.

  4. Sorry, Rick and So So, the taxpayers have an absolute right to know how much they are paying in pensions to the people who worked for them; and the taxpayers should be made aware of the giveaways provided to public employees during the Gonzales-Chavez years…giveaways they will all be paying for the next couple of decades at least. That’s the press’s job—to inform us all of malfeasance in office. “Class”, as you call it, doesn’t enter into it in the least. Are the employees and former employees wrong for accepting those payments and finding other work while they are still young enough and competent enough to perform them? Of course not. The fault is not with those who take the pensions they are entitled to while working other jobs. The fault lies with those who provided those oversized pensions; favoring their organized labor allies over the taxpayers they were elected to serve.

    • Here we go again… giveaways? What pensions? Salary? Health?dental?vison? Sickleave? COLA’S?
      …all negotiated, all ratified and all well below market/industry rate for a police department and a fire department that was always understaffed.

      So take some or all of those “giveaways” back, tell thw folks carrying the load that they are greedy (keeping in mind -again-that they are working for less than they could work elsewhere) then watch emoloyees at every level from entry to management to department head bail and scratch your head in utter disbelief and dismay?

      I scratch my head in dismay and wonder how an intelligent, credentialed person could be puzzled by this state of affairs.

      You know what else I’m puzzled by? I’m puzzled as to why the braintrust running this disaster has contracted with Gallup (ya the survey company) to conduct exit interviews with employees jumping ship. Really? Apparently the geniuses at City Hall are puzzled too. Incredible isn’t it?

      • Weed, the funny part about that is that they just started interviewing people now? Little late don’t you think? I hear the toilet flushing yet again.

    • John, I do understand that the public has a right to know. I guess that’s why it is posted publicly, online elsewhere for the public to search, if they really wanted to know. You and I both know that the reason for this rag’s repetition is to try and get a rise. How they go about it stands out like a sore thumb. I have no issue with the public knowing. What I have an issue with is the petty classlessness of this rag trying to stir the pot. I’m not sure why you can’t see that. You are an intelligent person and I know you can see through someone’s BS.

      • So So: I know U R correct that it is possible to research city pay online, but not everyone knows how to get through the labyrinthine city website in order to find what a particular person’s salary range or pension is. The press boys know how to do that quickly, and save the citizenry a lot of time. That’s one of the purposes of a free press—to inform the citizenry, even if you don’t like the information they convey to us or the way they do it. Your sensitivity on the subject leads me to wonder…Also, U know my name, but U keep yours hidden.

        • John, not to belabor this subject because I don’t want to go on and on about it, but yes, the “press boys” know how to do it quickly but this article was about SJ naming the interim chief. It wasn’t about Chief Torres’ pension payout. It wasn’t the least bit necessary to add pension payout info to this article about the new interim chief. Why couldn’t they have simply stated that the interim chief is replacing Chief Torres who has taken another position in Livermore-Pleasanton and then continue speaking on the subject of the interim chief? It seems that SJI made it a point to insert that little tidbit because they like stirring the pot. My whole point is, it was petty. It was unnecessary. Are they going to write an article about the man jumping over the moon and “Oh, by the way, Chief Torres has left the City of San Jose and his pension payout is….” That’s what it sounds like to me. If they want to make that point, then put it where it belongs. It is out of place here and in my opinion, it shows very well that they did it intentionally to continue to create discord between the public and the city employees. As far as my sensitivity, it is just that. I am sensitive to the fact that it appears they don’t want to give this city the chance to heal. How can it heal when you’ve got a rag like this one constantly trying to stir up the public so the public will continue to hate on the employees? That is what my concern is. Definitely not how much his pension payout is. I don’t care how much his pension payout is or how much any person’s pension payout is, anywhere.

          So what is it about my sensitivity that leads you to wonder? Wonder what? I’m dying to know. And, yes, I know your name because you chose to make it public. I choose not to make my name public and that is my right. I think people are crazy to put their personal info on blogs–any blog, anywhere, but that is *their* right. People’s identities should be of no one’s concern, anywhere. Right now, my “name” is “So So Interesting”. That is all you need to know. I am corresponding to you through a public blog.

          • So So wrote: ” I don’t want to go on and on about it…” And then he proceeds to go on and on about it. It’s like folks who say “long story short” when they have already spoken 5 times longer than the story should have taken to tell; and after they say it, they speak another four times longer.

            To you and to most bloggers who post anonymously—you’re not Tom Payne. You won’t be hung or shot for airing your views if you post under your own name. If you believe in what you post, own it. People with similar views might wish to hook up with you personally, not behind a screen because you have the so-called “right” to post anonymously.

            SJI/Metro did not “create” discord between the public and city employees. They merely report it. City employees and city management created that discord, and both sides have continued that discord to this day. What would you prefer the press do—not report it; or report only the side with which you agree? Both the city and the unions need to just stop the seemingly ceaseless bickering and get on with their real jobs—serving the taxpayers. Voters are sick of it.

          • John, the people who “get” the point I was trying to make, understood what I wrote. I see that you…evidently did not. Have a good day, sir.

        • So the Journo’s are smarter and more efficient than the citizenry.

          ..and we wonder why our country is going down the toilet.

          Some let CNN or MSNB or, NPR or ABC-NBC-CBS or al Jazeera or Mercury/Metro tell them what to think aND these have instant “credibility” because when they run wtth a story they serve as “cross-checkers” ….

          Then others let Fox and Co or Limbaugh tell them what to think.

          Nobody does their own research or critical analysis of the info or data.

          Things are so much more clear now.

    • …it doesn’t matter how you want to prestentry this information. No matter how you do it it still amounts to “class envy.”

      You and anyone else here who can or could have passed the background checks AND the COURAGE to be cop or fire fighter has/had the opportunity to earn the same.

      The detractors DIDN’T and now can only gripe about it. Sucks to be you I guess.

      • > Sucks to be you I guess.

        It really does!

        I have huge tax bills for federal, state, local, and property taxes.

        And the people who are hired with my tax dollars are uppity, insolent, and ungrateful.

        It REALLY sucks!

        • Don’t worry, I pay my fair share too and since I live and work and spend and vote in SJ I understand an sympathize with my predicament and those of other employees as well as those who have suffers because of reductions in service do to reductions in staffing.

          It has previously been established that you don’t live in SJ which means you don’t vote here (legally) and don’t pay property taxes on your (primary) residence to SJ. Maybe you shop in SJ and maybe you have business or income property here and pay some of my EARNINGS. If you don’t one must wonder why you spend so much time on something you have such little stake in.

          • > It has previously been established that you don’t live in SJ which means you don’t vote here (legally) and don’t pay property taxes on your (primary) residence to SJ.


            I didn’t know.

            This changes everything.

            It’s amazing how much interesting new stuff you can learn on the internet.

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