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Why Is The Firefighers Union Trying To Give Away Our Fire Department


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#1 Alexa

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 07:24 AM

angry.gif Several months back I posted a blog about the City of Folsom closing fire stations, this information was provided to me by a neighbor. People like Mike from Folsom adamently stated Folsom was not trying to merge with Sacramento Metro Fire Department. Then today, there is an article in the Sacto Bee that states that the fire department labor organization does indeed what to merge with Sacramento Metro. It would appear that Sacramento Firefighters local 522 is pushing for this merger. According to my neighbor 522 is unhappy because they can't run the Folsom Fire Department like they do Sacramento Metro Fire Department.
Isn't is time for the Folsom City Council to stand up to these bullies (local 522) and tell them "NO".

I don't want to loose my fire station and I don't want it to be run by some union group down in Sacramento. Folsom is a unique city and I would like it to stay thay way!

For the Folsom Fire Department personnel who are not happy here maybe you should try applying somewhere else!!!!

angry.gif

#2 Robert Giacometti

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 09:18 AM

QUOTE(Alexa @ Jun 18 2006, 08:24 AM) View Post

angry.gif Several months back I posted a blog about the City of Folsom closing fire stations, this information was provided to me by a neighbor. People like Mike from Folsom adamently stated Folsom was not trying to merge with Sacramento Metro Fire Department. Then today, there is an article in the Sacto Bee that states that the fire department labor organization does indeed what to merge with Sacramento Metro. It would appear that Sacramento Firefighters local 522 is pushing for this merger. According to my neighbor 522 is unhappy because they can't run the Folsom Fire Department like they do Sacramento Metro Fire Department.
Isn't is time for the Folsom City Council to stand up to these bullies (local 522) and tell them "NO".

I don't want to loose my fire station and I don't want it to be run by some union group down in Sacramento. Folsom is a unique city and I would like it to stay thay way!

For the Folsom Fire Department personnel who are not happy here maybe you should try applying somewhere else!!!!

angry.gif


Alexa,

I would agree with you in that I would prefer to have our own city fire department run by our local people.

I don't know the issues regarding the motives here. There are generally different perspectives for both sides on all issues. However....one of the biggest contributing factors in all of this has been the inexperienced ineffective administration of the City.

Recently the entire Library staff has presented a petition to the council because of "lack of proactive leadership". We have had unprecedented turnover at the Department Manager level for key areas. Many other staff are extremely unhappy at City Hall. Why? These are obvious symptoms of ineffective leadership. Successful organizations don't have these widespread internal criticisms!

The fireman were the first and maybe the loudest to express their concerns about the lack of competent leadership...so it was easy for the administration and some members of the council to label them malcontents or union activists. Unfortunately we have had a few council members who have been misleading the citizens and knowingly keeping the incompetent staus quo in place to protect their own agenda.

In time usually the truth does surface.

#3 camay2327

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 10:11 AM

Today's Sac Bee

http://www.sacbee.co...-15080296c.html

Union at odds with fire chief
Complaints about Folsom department management come as pressure mounts to merge with Metro Fire.
By Molly Dugan -- Bee Staff Writer

Published 12:01 am PDT Sunday, June 18, 2006
Story appeared in Metro section, Page B1

The union representing the Folsom Fire Department is attempting to have the fire chief terminated, citing alleged incompetence, inappropriate behavior and mismanagement.

Folsom city officials, however, said they believe the union's complaints are motivated by a desire to force the city to merge with the huge Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

Union President Brian Rice said Friday that the Folsom Fire Department's troubles transcend normal labor-management issues.

"This has nothing to do with wages or contracts," Rice said. "This is solely about the lack of leadership."

Fire Chief Eric Dutton, who is planning to retire in November after heading the department for nine years, accused the union of taking issues out of context to smear him in an attempted power grab.

"My ability to run this organization should speak for itself," Dutton said, noting he's held leadership positions in the Fire Department for most of his career. His view is that "the root of the whole thing" is, in fact, the desire of the larger Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District to merge with Folsom.

Folsom firefighters are represented by Local 522, and in May, voted in favor of a new contract.

However, firefighters have approached the union for several years about management concerns, Rice said, and the union has always sent them back to negotiate.

"Now, we're not going to work this out," Rice said. At the heart of some of the union's complaints are "joke" e-mails, one sent by the fire chief and the other by the deputy fire chief, which crossed the line of civility, Rice added.

The e-mails became public in February and March. Dutton sent one to fire administrators that pokes fun at the mullet hairstyle -- close-cropped at the top and sides but long in the back. It then goes on to insult midgets, lesbians, Latinos and other groups over their hairstyle choices.

Dutton admits that the e-mail was inappropriate and that he should not have sent it. A letter from Folsom's personnel manager states that the e-mail was reviewed and that "corrective action has been taken to ensure no recurrence."

Dutton said he has not viewed the other e-mail, which described an imaginary conversation between fictional characters Saddam Hussein, Baghdad Bob, General KFC and Chemical Ali.

The characters, Rice said, mimic Folsom Fire Department personnel and mock the Iraq war effort.

"That kind of crap has no business in our profession," Rice said. "It's just flat wrong."

Dutton said the complaints may be coming from a small contingent of disgruntled employees who are not representative of the majority of firefighters.

Dutton said he has been approached by the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District about a possible merger, but that he has not taken a stance.

He said his responsibility is to the city.

Michele McCormick, a consultant with the city, admits that the union's e-mail complaints "do not represent the finest hour. But all of them are out of context."

"(The union) would like to consolidate our department under Sacramento Metro Fire," McCormick said. "In Folsom, the way this has manifested itself is an attempt to oust the fire chief."

Patrick Ellis, spokesman for the larger fire district, said his agency is not involved in any "power grab by the union."

"We feel it would be advantageous to the community to have one regional fire service," Ellis said.

"However, that is a decision that lies with the elected officials and citizens of Folsom. We have received no direction from our body to seek such a merger."

The union claims that the Folsom department is "starving for leadership" and that services are not keeping pace with the city's rapid growth, Rice said.

The union alleges that turnover is high and morale is low. In a list of complaints, the union claimed that city leaders wasted money on ineffective studies, emergency response times are too high, and unwise decisions have been made regarding equipment purchases.

The alleged lack of leadership is manifested in the Folsom Fire Department's water rescue program, the union said.

The union claims that the city in 2003 missed an opportunity to purchase a rescue boat, which Rice called "a travesty" that hindered effective water rescues.

Dutton responded that, "With limited funds, everything cannot be purchased that we'd like to have."

This year, however, the city did receive a $70,000 grant to buy a rescue boat that will be in use by September.

Rice cited the delay in acquiring the boat as an example of a lack of leadership in the Folsom Fire Department. The agency has not moved with the times, he said.

"They're doing nothing to increase the service as the community grows," Rice said.

At the current full-staffing level, the Folsom Fire Department has 76 workers, with 66 emergency responders, six administrators, two emergency medical service personnel and two fire-prevention specialists. Staffing has increased by one or two positions every year since 2002-2003, city officials said.

In the prior year, 2001-2002, the Fire Department brought in 12 new emergency responders and one new administrator, officials said.

By comparison, the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District is one of the largest fire departments in California. It serves approximately 600,000 people in parts of Sacramento County, Placer County and the city of Citrus Heights.

About the writer:

* The Bee's Molly Dugan can be reached at (916)608-7453 or mdugan@sacbee.com
A VETERAN Whether active duty, retired, national guard or reserve - is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America" for an amount "up to and including their life". That is HONOR, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it. -Author unknown-

#4 Redone

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 02:35 PM

QUOTE
Why Is The Firefighers Union Trying To Give Away Our Fire Department

You really mean "take" away vs. "give" away. They can't really give away something they don't have.
The tactic here is clear, if you don't get what you want then try and discredit people until you do. Oh yeah, don't forget the work slowdown also that they are promoting.

#5 shallowlarynx

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 04:34 PM

Wow!!!! One little article in the Sac Bee and everybody goes ballistic. K.....the view from the inside is as follows.......Most of the FF's of the City of Folsom DO NOT want to merge with Sac Metro. What the FFs of Folsom do want is a proactive administration that is keeping up with the times in the public safety sector. Folsom is woefully inadequate in their emergency response capabilities, and the city council has just obtained an outside evaluation that is spelling that out for them.

The study, termed "Citygate", spells out the inadequate positioning of apparatus, the need for stations in outlaying areas, and the lack of foresight when it comes to planning expansions of the city boundaries. Folsom has needed 1, even 2 more stations in the Empire Ranch area for many years. Why all of the sudden is it becoming a hot topic? Do any of you know that it takes on the average 10 minutes for a fire engine or ambulance to respond to the outlaying areas? That is a long time for someone to be trapped inside a burning building, or a family member to be without oxygen because they choked on a piece of candy. The FFs have known this for a long time.....but we couldn't publicly voice it. And let's not talk about the other "confidential" studies the city has done over the last 5-6 years. Those have conveniently been swept under the carpet.

The problem the FFs in Folsom have with their chief goes back many, many years. As we all know, Chief Dutton started out as a volunteer and has worked himself up to the position of Fire Chief. The problem with that is, everyone that ever had the smallest disagreement with him....he hasn't forgotten. And he uses that power to suppress, ridicule, and intimidate those personnel.

What the body of the Folsom Fire Department is trying to say is "We need help, and no one is providing it for us". We can't publicly walk door to door and state our leadership is ineffective.....that's against the city Rules and Regulations. We can voice our opinion through our Union, which is what we are attempting to do now.

The article in the Bee quote the Chief as saying something to the effect "my record speaks for itself".....His record??? He purchases equipment that cannot perform the jobs it needs to be performing. An example is the Ladder Truck at St 35. The purchasing committee, made up of line personnel, recommended a dual rear axle truck that would be able to carry all the equipment needed to perform day to day truck operations. He himself decided he would like a single rear axle truck. The result? A truck now that carries only 3/4 tank of water, 1/2 the amount of supply hose, and limited items needed to extricate people from a vehicle accident. The weight of the equipment is too heavy for a single axle vehicle. The committee knew this, so why did he think he could just line veto the request and do what he wanted??

The Fire Station behind Home Depot, St 37, was supposed to house the previously mentioned Fire Truck. Guess what??? He himself, a Fire Station "Expert", speced the doorways too small, and so the Truck doesn't fit in there. But he did get $50,000.00 budgeted this year to "fix" the problem. Tax payers money. Nice. And that is just a taste of what is exactly wrong with the department today.

Now don't get me wrong, Sac Metro has it's problems, just like any organization. And the FFs of Folsom like the small town Fire Department feeling, and really love the people they are servicing. But we are frustrated in the fact that we could be providing a much higher level of service, but keep hitting a brick wall when it comes to providing said services. The funny part about this.....ALL of the administration except for the Fire Chief feel this way and express it on a daily basis.....so why is it only the union, Local 522, being branded the bad guys and wanting the change???? If we have out choice.......new adminstration, and stay the City Fire Department.




#6 MikeinFolsom

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 04:37 PM

Seems to me the Firemen and Firewomen of Folsom don't want to merge with the Sacramento Metro Fire Department, according to shallowlarynx. But Alexa already knew that. She's an expert on these things because of her "neighbor".

#7 truth.com

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 09:24 PM

QUOTE(MikeinFolsom @ Jun 18 2006, 05:37 PM) View Post

Seems to me the Firemen and Firewomen of Folsom don't want to merge with the Sacramento Metro Fire Department, according to shallowlarynx. But Alexa already knew that. She's an expert on these things because of her "neighbor".

Ditto!!

#8 Dave Burrell

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 10:03 AM

QUOTE(truth.com @ Jun 18 2006, 10:24 PM) View Post

Ditto!!


You anonymous newbies crack me up with your indignations and contempt twords others without every having posted much (if anything) ever before.



Sounds like once again Alexa has found some information that really lights a fire under a hot issue here in town.

I don't claim to know anything about whats going on other then from what I read here and of all the posts the ones by shallowlyrnx (who appears to be a FF) are the most believable ones because they include facts and not just rumors (or so it seems).

Based on the history - it does sound like the local chief is not all too bright and isn't doing the right things - other then to try and make himself look better at the expense of the FF and the safety of the citizens, but yet for some reason he's still in the job - I think it all goes back to the point Robert's been making about the inept city council, the only solution is to make sure you all get out and vote when it comes time to elect new city officials so we can get some better, smarter folks in there who don't need outside evaluations to figure out whats going on in our own city.

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#9 Robert Giacometti

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:22 PM

QUOTE(davburr @ Jun 19 2006, 11:03 AM) View Post

You anonymous newbies crack me up with your indignations and contempt twords others without every having posted much (if anything) ever before.
Sounds like once again Alexa has found some information that really lights a fire under a hot issue here in town.

I don't claim to know anything about whats going on other then from what I read here and of all the posts the ones by shallowlyrnx (who appears to be a FF) are the most believable ones because they include facts and not just rumors (or so it seems).

Based on the history - it does sound like the local chief is not all too bright and isn't doing the right things - other then to try and make himself look better at the expense of the FF and the safety of the citizens, but yet for some reason he's still in the job - I think it all goes back to the point Robert's been making about the inept city council, the only solution is to make sure you all get out and vote when it comes time to elect new city officials so we can get some better, smarter folks in there who don't need outside evaluations to figure out whats going on in our own city.


Dave,

I'm sorry if my postings are implying that all of our city council members are inept. They aren't. However the dynamics of the current council is very confusing. The city council makes policy decisions and the city manager administers those policies. Its the City council who hires the City Manager. So as long as anyone could get 3 votes they could become the city manager without any experience. If someone was brought on to become the city manager who had no previous experience, but agreed in advance to carry out the wishes and whims of the council they could become city manager.

We all know that in time political winds change and with the new council members brings new expectations. As long as an inexperienced and unqualified City manager can continue to placate a majority on the council they will be secure in their position. Organizations are seldom successful for very long when the person at the top is not qualified and is making decisions based upon keeping their job instead of what is best for the organization. If this happens generally you can see symptoms of this by high key staff turnover and unhappiness by many other staff.

Another characteristic you might find is having other managers maybe not being as competent as they should be, but keeping their positions out of loyalty to the inexperienced and unqualified top person. This can result in tremendous low morale in the overall department.

This could lead to those in that department seeking assistance via other avenues...as they have no hope of it happening through normal channels.

I do believe there is a majority on the council who are trying to do what is right. I just don't agree with the path the have chosen and it does affect their credibilty with other issues.


#10 NY Yankees

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:37 PM

To help put part of this issue to rest....

I am the Local522 Union Representative for the Folsom Firefighters, I am also a 23 year veteran of the Folsom Fire Department and proud of it.
Earlier this year there were in fact discussions between the Fire Chiefs from Folsom and Sac. Metro. on the issue of merger. It was a high level meeting and nothing occured from it. As of this post there are no talks or meetings taking place on the issue of merger.....period. The City used that merger issue in the Sac Bee article to deter from the real issues. To that point I cannot speak any further for the fear of keeping my job.
Lastly, I e-mailed Alexa and gave her my name and phone number to help alleviate some of her fears on the issue of merger and keeping fire stations open. As of this post I have not received a phone call.
Although you may not agree with the politics of the Local 522 or unions in general I can assure you that the motivation of the men and women of Folsom Fire Department is to provide the best care and service possible to the citizens of Folsom.

#11 Dave Burrell

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:59 PM

QUOTE(NY Yankees @ Jun 19 2006, 01:37 PM) View Post

Although you may not agree with the politics of the Local 522 or unions in general I can assure you that the motivation of the men and women of Folsom Fire Department is to provide the best care and service possible to the citizens of Folsom.


...and thats what really matters the most!

Thanks Yankee for the informative post

Must admit tho that I am still sketchy about the chief and upper mgmnt if there are fears of losing your job over some secret info - that can only lead me to believe there are unscrupulous things going on that are being hidden - likely by the top brass.

thanks again for the info but be careful and do not risk your job over this. Upper management can easily crush a career on any given whim and it sounds like you're working for some rats - best of luck and thanks for chosing a career that helps and saves many people.

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#12 turnpikemike

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 01:44 PM

FOLSOM FIRE MOTTO:
150 YEARS OF TRADITION IMPEDED BY LEADERSHIP

#13 Dave Burrell

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 01:51 PM

QUOTE(turnpikemike @ Jun 19 2006, 02:44 PM) View Post

FOLSOM FIRE MOTTO:
150 YEARS OF TRADITION IMPEDED BY LEADERSHIP



Welcome Mike - yet another newbie on this thread - interesting that this subject brings so many people out of hiding

Wow 150 years of messed up leadership - thats one seriously long tenure! tongue.gif

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#14 econ101

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 02:52 PM

QUOTE(NY Yankees @ Jun 19 2006, 01:37 PM) View Post


The City used that merger issue in the Sac Bee article to deter from the real issues. To that point I cannot speak any further for the fear of keeping my job.



flag.gif It seems strange to me to hear the union president state that he fears for his job,while the article from the Sacramento Bee says that the union is trying to get the chief terminated? Isn't that a double standard? If the City Council supports the chief that tells me that something is up with the unions allegations.

Maybe it's time for one of the council members to get on this issue and clarify the facts for the community.

flag.gif

#15 Kerri Howell

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 03:42 PM

Hi All,

Prior to the Bee contacting the City on this issue, and the subsequent piece in the Metro section, I spoke with the Union Rep. He made a mysterious comment about not having authorization to talk to me, which seemed strange since I have known this person for 8 years. I told him I would give him a call on Saturday, June 3, which I did, and I have not yet heard back from him. I have no public comment on this issue at the moment. Econ101 - if you are who I think you are, give me a call, as you have my numbers, or if you are not who I think you are, it is listed in the phone book.

Kerri Howell
Council Member & Red Sox Fan (sorry, could not resist that one!)




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