By Mike Colgan

SAN JOSE (KCBS) — The San Jose Fire Department is in the hot seat over its failure to meet required response times and a breach of contract could be declared as soon as Tuesday.

The declaration could result in thousands of dollars in penalties. The county mandate requires EMS providers to respond within eight minutes 90 percent of the time, which the department hasn’t been able to do.

“We have asked the fire chief in the city of San Jose to appear tomorrow at the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meeting to explain not only the rapid decrease in response time and what kind of impact it may have caused within the city, which of course makes up 60 percent of the county, but also to discuss remedial plans for correcting that and getting it up to the 90 percent required,” Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese said.

Cortese said he’s not in favor of withholding an $800,000 payment to the fire department.

Willow Glen Neighborhood Association President Richard Zapelli said failure to meet the eight minute response time is unacceptable.

“Look at Los Angeles with an even bigger urban sprawl than San Jose. They have a response time of six minutes,” he said.

The fire department said they are unable to make response times because of a lack of staffing.

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