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    Default Sick Leave Closes Five Atlanta Stations on Super Bowl Sunday

    Sick Leave Closes Five Atlanta Stations on Super Bowl Sunday

    Isn't this great? Talk about screwing yourselves. We can't close fire stations because the public will be at risk. However, it is OK to act irresponsible on Super Bowl Sunday. No some chucklehead will realize if we didn't need these guys Super Bowl Sunday then we really don't need them all year long. And heck, if the fire fighters don't care.

    This is a real poor example of professionalism and responsibility. Another Black eye for the fire service.

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    Did you even read the story. or did you just post to sensationalize?
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    You might just want to look at this from a bit different angle. As the economy and tax base shrinks, FDs are increasingly going to have less money. Thats going to increase the stress, job related injuries and plain old " to hell with it" attitude. Guys are going to be putting in their papers after 25 and there isn't going to be any bright shiny faces coming out of recruit class to replace them because of cutbacks resulting in hiring freeze. 5 years down the road, a lot of depts are going to be in pretty rough shape both equipment and manpower wise because of this situation. It'll take a lot longer to build these depts up than it was to tear them down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    Sick Leave Closes Five Atlanta Stations on Super Bowl Sunday

    Isn't this great? Talk about screwing yourselves. We can't close fire stations because the public will be at risk. However, it is OK to act irresponsible on Super Bowl Sunday. No some chucklehead will realize if we didn't need these guys Super Bowl Sunday then we really don't need them all year long. And heck, if the fire fighters don't care.

    This is a real poor example of professionalism and responsibility. Another Black eye for the fire service.

    Maybe if you ACTUALLY new what is going on with the AFD right now you would have a different view on things. Till then don't jump to an opinion by simply reading one article and thinking you know all about it.

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    Sensationalized or not, Superbowl Sunday isn't a good day to double your normal number of people off sick if the media's watching.

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    Cochran said he doesn't believe firefighters called in to make a political statement. He said Super Bowl Sunday and the payday weekend contributed to the higher-than-normal absenteeism rate.

    That statement is a truly sad commentary on how this dept views their own members. Absenteeism due to actual illness, injuries, family emergencies is perfectly understandable and reasonable. Making an excuse that a lot of people abuse sick call because its a payday weekend or the Super Bowl is on is a bloody disgrace. Either management, membership, or probably both need to get their head out of their collective butts and start being professional, rather than pogues slopping at the municipal trough with no regard for the oath they took when they joined.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    Sensationalized or not, Superbowl Sunday isn't a good day to double your normal number of people off sick if the media's watching.
    Each man is his own individual and unless you or this Chief is a Doctor any question of these men's health concerns is misplaced.

    Fires don't follow holidays and don't know when the game is on, I missed at least half of the game running around on BS. Neither does illness.

    The men didn't close those firehouses....the city of Atlanta did.

    FTM-PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    This is a real poor example of professionalism and responsibility. Another Black eye for the fire service.
    There is no black eye for the fire service in this story. There is no evidence that this was a union action, which is illegal, by the way.
    Sick leave is a negotiated right, guaranteed by contract, and it is up to the individual member to decide on whether they choose to take the time.

    The lack of professionalism displayed here is by the city of Atlanta. The "black eye" is that the city of Atlanta refused to staff the sick leave positions for that day, and because of that forced the men and women of the AFD to be in danger with fewer resources.

    Do you want someone judging you and your illness? This is a physically demanding job, and a person must be fit for duty. Flu, severe colds, food poisoning, diarrhea are all cases in which I fully understand a lay up, and no justification is required.
    Never mind the fact that I would prefer someone err on the side of calling in sick, than to come in and make everyone on shift sick; that happens more often than you will ever know, or understand.

    How can you continue to spew such absolute nonsense? Since you've never fought a fire, I guess I can understand how you don't understand.
    Last edited by jasper45; 02-02-2009 at 10:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    Each man is his own individual and unless you or this Chief is a Doctor any question of these men's health concerns is misplaced.

    Fires don't follow holidays and don't know when the game is on, I missed at least half of the game running around on BS. Neither does illness.

    The men didn't close those firehouses....the city of Atlanta did.

    FTM-PTB
    You're getting a bit defensive for not having a reason. All I stated was that Superbowl Sunday isn't a good day to double your normal number of people on sick leave.

    You and I both know how the media's going to spin it and how the public's going to view it, whether they're truly sick or not. It's the City's way of putting the monkey on the firefighter's back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    The men didn't close those firehouses....the city of Atlanta did.
    I hate it when facts ruin a good story.
    Quote Originally Posted by jasper45 View Post
    Sick leave is a negotiated right, guaranteed by contract, and it is up to the individual member to decide on whether they choose to take the time.

    The "black eye" is that the city of Atlanta refused to staff the sick leave positions for that day, and because of that forced the men and women of the AFD to be in danger with fewer resources.
    Ditto.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    You're getting a bit defensive for not having a reason. All I stated was that Superbowl Sunday isn't a good day to double your normal number of people on sick leave.

    You and I both know how the media's going to spin it and how the public's going to view it, whether they're truly sick or not. It's the City's way of putting the monkey on the firefighter's back.
    The way I see it is that there isn't nearly enough information to make a call on what is happening. IE, is the number sick drasticly different that any other spike in numbers. If this is clearly a statistical anomaly, then its well within the rights of all parties to question it. (it may be legit). If its merely a 'high' point that isn't all that unusual - other than its super bowl sunday - then its a big non-issue. I'd personally wager politics had more to do with this than any significant change in absenteeism.

    As for the issue of employees taking sick leave instead of vacation time - that is a much more widespread problem and is in no way unique to the fire service.

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    are you kidding me? the superbowl at the station was awesome! see the steelers own, eat food, get a structure fire! all in one!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    You're getting a bit defensive for not having a reason. All I stated was that Superbowl Sunday isn't a good day to double your normal number of people on sick leave.

    You and I both know how the media's going to spin it and how the public's going to view it, whether they're truly sick or not. It's the City's way of putting the monkey on the firefighter's back.

    I took your comments differently...my appologies.

    FTM-PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    I took your comments differently...my appologies.

    FTM-PTB
    No problem, I thought that may have been the case and why I wanted to clarify.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    You might just want to look at this from a bit different angle. As the economy and tax base shrinks, FDs are increasingly going to have less money. Thats going to increase the stress, job related injuries and plain old " to hell with it" attitude. Guys are going to be putting in their papers after 25 and there isn't going to be any bright shiny faces coming out of recruit class to replace them because of cutbacks resulting in hiring freeze. 5 years down the road, a lot of depts are going to be in pretty rough shape both equipment and manpower wise because of this situation. It'll take a lot longer to build these depts up than it was to tear them down.
    Then again Hundreds Camp Out for Miami Firefighter Jobs

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    I am glad to see some folks get it. All I am saying is with the current economy and governments everywhere looking to cut budgets, now is not a good time to do soemthing like this. Perhaps every illness was legit and it was just coincidence it happened on Super Bowl Sunday. J.Q. Public doesn't care, all they know is a lot of folks called out sick, probably many of them so they could watch the Super Bowl. I have a job and a responsibility. I was there and I missed half of the game. Such is life. Then again, our society as a whole likes to abuse sick leave. I know people who never use a sick day and there are others who don't live one on the books. The guys that called out just because they didn't feel like working will have to deal with their own conscious. It is there own morals and ethics that allowed them to screw the public and their brothers in the department. I'm sure there were some legitimate illness, But we all know that even on a regular day not all call outs are for illnesses. A lot of folks call out just because they would rather do something else.

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    I just recently quit the Altanta Fire Department. I didn't want to and loved working in a big city but the way we were being treated was not not good to say the least. Pay cuts, no uniforms, runing under staffed. Each year we are supposed to get a cost of living raise, that has been frozen for the past 5 years. I talked to a friend of mine still working there and he said they are losing a average of ten people a month to retirement and resigning due to the lack of leadership and the way the city is managing itself right now. The mayor has consistantly tore apart the fire dept. in more then one way. Even after the city council had found money to reopen stations the mayor has veto the motion everytime. These stations being cut really hurts the surrounding houses. The station I was at averaged 15-20 calls a day, it now has two close by stations closed, I just talked to a buddy still there and there calls are more like 30 and up now. It is hurting responce times and increaseing risk of injury due to fatigue. I am not saying I justifying calling in sick all the time, but like others have said it is your earned time and in the contract for you to use them. It is said that some just automaticly think that the firefighters there in ATL don't care about the people or jobs. Next time please make sure you get the facts straight before you start bashing your brothers and sisters.

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    How bout this headline instead.

    Atlanta Closes 5 stations due to budget cuts.

    or even better

    City Fathers can't balance a checkbook, citizens screwed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    I am glad to see some folks get it. All I am saying is with the current economy and governments everywhere looking to cut budgets, now is not a good time to do soemthing like this. Perhaps every illness was legit and it was just coincidence it happened on Super Bowl Sunday. J.Q. Public doesn't care, all they know is a lot of folks called out sick, probably many of them so they could watch the Super Bowl. I have a job and a responsibility. I was there and I missed half of the game. Such is life. Then again, our society as a whole likes to abuse sick leave. I know people who never use a sick day and there are others who don't live one on the books. The guys that called out just because they didn't feel like working will have to deal with their own conscious. It is there own morals and ethics that allowed them to screw the public and their brothers in the department. I'm sure there were some legitimate illness, But we all know that even on a regular day not all call outs are for illnesses. A lot of folks call out just because they would rather do something else.
    Yes, some of us "get it", but you certainly aren't one of them.

    There's no evidence that's been presented on here to indicate these FFs specifically did anything wrong. It's not uncommon to have a sick leave policy that requires the employee to do nothing more than "report off" in order to take sick leave and not need to submit any sort of doctor's note or excuse unless multiple days are missed.

    If these FFs utilized their sick leave within the rules & regulations for such, then they did nothing wrong and didn't "screw" anybody. Are we supposed to call our co-workers first to make sure that "too many" don't call off for a shift?

    Yes, some brother and sister(?) firefighters may very well have gotten the short end of this deal, but the blame for such is with the City if vacancies were not filled and they were forced to work "understaffed".

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    scarecrow57 Do you want the truth? Can you handle the truth??



    February 1, 2009

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Contact: Jim Daws



    DANGEROUS FIRE RESCUE COMPANY CLOSURES


    Today, as a result of the reckless and irresponsible budget cuts to Atlanta
    Fire Rescue, seven fire companies have been closed due to lack of adequate
    staffing. The closures are as follows:



    1. Ladder Truck 25
    2. Ladder Truck 26
    3. Engine 12
    4. Engine 22
    5. Engine 26
    6. Engine 30
    7. Engine 36

    This is in addition to the ongoing closures of:


    1. Squad 4 (HazMat and Heavy Rescue)
    2. Ladder Truck 12
    3. Engine 7
    4. Engine 23

    The hazardous materials and technical rescue response plan has also be
    compromised due to inadequate staffing.

    These closures constitute an unacceptable risk to Atlanta's citizens and
    firefighters, and a complete failure on the part of Atlanta's government to
    fulfill its basic function of public safety.

    Atlanta Professional Fire Fighters Association president Jim Daws
    commented, "What you're seeing today is a total unraveling of the fire
    protection and disaster response scheme in the City of Atlanta. Fires and
    other emergencies are no respecters of budget shortfalls. They will come
    when they will, and if Fire Rescue is unprepared to respond, lives and
    property will be lost. These cuts to Fire Rescue are nothing less than
    governmental malpractice on the part of Atlanta's elected officials, and
    the citizens should not stand for it."

    Atlanta's citizens are asked to be especially careful and vigilant against
    fires today.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    scarecrow57 Do you want the truth? Can you handle the truth??
    To be fair, the Local's press release is not necessarily "the truth." It's just like anything else in this world, the city has its story and the Local has theirs. Somewhere in the middle of all that is "the truth."

    No one but the guys who called in knows whether they were abusing the sick time or if they were truly sick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    To be fair, the Local's press release is not necessarily "the truth." It's just like anything else in this world, the city has its story and the Local has theirs. Somewhere in the middle of all that is "the truth."

    No one but the guys who called in knows whether they were abusing the sick time or if they were truly sick.
    True, but it's not the firefighters who made the choice to not fill those vacant positions. It's also not like we're talking about a huge number of positions in the grand scheme of things according to the current article on firehouse.com.

    Unless I misread it, the article stated that normal "sick" vacancies is about 13 per day and yesterday it was almost double that. So at the high end, we're talking about 13 more people who called off. In a department with 30 stations (and assuming only 4 FFs per station), is 13 more people really a "huge" number and sign of some sort of maleficence?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    No one but the guys who called in knows whether they were abusing the sick time or if they were truly sick.

    You're IAFF, right? I'm not trying to be a jag, just a question because I thought you are.

    Unless things are completely different in Atlanta, as compared to my place, they should be able to take a sick day anytime they want to. Here, we have negotiated for a set number of earned days each year, just like vacation days.
    We have incentives for us to not use our sick days, such as a "sick leave incentive", which is a set amount of money paid out quarterly for not calling in sick, and our health insurance is directly affected by the number of days we retire with on the books.

    However, we earn a set number of days each year. Those days are there for us to use, and belong to us in lieu of additional pay.
    My question is, what is "sick leave" abuse? Is it "vacation abuse" if I use my vacation days?

    The city is supposed to budget for those days, be they vacation or sick leave or injury leave. The city of Atlanta obviously is not doing that.
    I don't want someone questioning me about how sick I am or am not. When I want to use a day, I will use it without guilt; we negotiated long and hard for that right, and gave up other money or benefits as well. I will not question those guys motives for calling in.

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    from what's going on in Atlanta, it sounds like the City was already trying to stretch their staffing thin and doesn't have the reserve for even 13 more people to be off sick.


    They have 1000 employees, sworn and civilian. Not sure how many are working on each platoon, but it seems like 13 slots shouldn't be some major catastrophe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasper45 View Post
    You're IAFF, right? I'm not trying to be a jag, just a question because I thought you are.

    Unless things are completely different in Atlanta, as compared to my place, they should be able to take a sick day anytime they want to. Here, we have negotiated for a set number of earned days each year, just like vacation days.
    We have incentives for us to not use our sick days, such as a "sick leave incentive", which is a set amount of money paid out quarterly for not calling in sick, and our health insurance is directly affected by the number of days we retire with on the books.

    However, we earn a set number of days each year. Those days are there for us to use, and belong to us in lieu of additional pay.
    My question is, what is "sick leave" abuse? Is it "vacation abuse" if I use my vacation days?

    The city is supposed to budget for those days, be they vacation or sick leave or injury leave. The city of Atlanta obviously is not doing that.
    I don't want someone questioning me about how sick I am or am not. When I want to use a day, I will use it without guilt; we negotiated long and hard for that right, and gave up other money or benefits as well. I will not question those guys motives for calling in.
    Yes, I'm IAFF. Part of the difference may be that I'm in a right-to-work state working on a department with no collective bargaining agreement, as well as how our sick time is set up.

    We're assigned a certain number of sick days per year, as well (12 24-hour sick days), as well as 5.5 shifts holiday and, depending on longevity, 5-10 vacation days. We get a few more hours per month than other city employees, as the city has it's employees classified into 40-hour, salaried, and 56-hour (FD).

    Anyway, sick days are sick days. You use them when you're sick, a family member's sick, or for a funeral not covered for funeral leave (if approved by the administration). You're allowed to be off two shifts before you need a doctor's note, and after 6 occurrances in a 12-month rolling period you can be disciplined. There's no ceiling on accumulated sick hours, and for each half of the year (1/1-6/30 and 7/1-12/31) you can earn one day back via a sick day buyback program, if you don't call in sick for that period (not including FMLA).

    As far as my use of the term "abuse", it derives from our policies and what I'm accustomed to. Of course, we've got the guys who use sick days as vacation days or whatever when they're not really sick. To us, this is abusing the system and a threat to our accumulation method. We take it a bit personal because we've had guys who have been of for long durations, using thousands of hours (one guy used all 6,XXX he had accumulated over 18 years) because they had cancer, or had a child/spouse get cancer. It's not something we want to lose because of "abuse" from a few of our personnel.

    We've had guys nailed going fishing, out shopping, doing yard work, etc. after calling in sick. What it's done is screwed guys who ended up calling in sick because their house got hit by a tornado, or because they couldn't get out of their driveway due to the tree that fell from the ice storm (I was one of those, actually), or any variety of "emergencies" that were in that gray area of the sick leave policy, solely because they were cracking down due to those who were abusing it.

    I understand that there's places where sick leave is actually "personal" time off that can be used for vacation or sick (my wifes' job is like that and I can't get used to it), it's just the term "sick" that sticks in my head and leads me to the term "abuse". I'm not trying to accuse anyone of abusing it, it's just the way our system works and what's stuck in my head when we're talking about "sick time".

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