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  1. #1
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    Default Merry Christmas; money is more important than your lives.

    Once again, the politicians have shown that "saving" a few dollars is more important than protecting it's citizens.

    Merry Christmas, residents of Riverwest and Milwaukee, your lives now have an actual dollar amount.




    Riverwest fire company to close Sunday


    Budget cuts will close a century-old Riverwest firefighting company Sunday, a Milwaukee Fire Department spokeswoman says.

    Ladder Company No. 10, based at 3628 N. Holton St., will work its last shift Saturday, department spokeswoman Tiffany Wynn said. The Holton St. firehouse will remain open, as the home to Engine Company No. 18.

    A decommissioning ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at the firehouse, said Kevin Monaghan, vice president of the Milwaukee Professional Fire Fighters Association. Speakers will pay tribute to the members of Ladder 10 and "the 106 years of service they've given to Milwaukeeans" since 1903, he said.

    Spending reductions in the 2010 city budget required the department to shut down one company permanently and to take three others temporarily out of service each month, on a rotating basis. Like the permanent cut, the rotating "brownouts" will target firehouses where more than one unit is based, so no firehouses will be closed. Staffing reductions will come through attrition and overtime cuts, rather than layoffs.

    Although Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council set the numbers for the service reductions, they didn't specify where the cuts would come, stressed Aldermen Milele Coggs and Nik Kovac, who represent the neighborhoods served by Ladder 10. That decision was left to the Fire Department, based on an analysis of how best to maintain fire protection with fewer units, they said.

    Coggs and Kovac said they were concerned about the loss of Ladder 10 and the brownouts. They said they would monitor fire service to ensure safety is not reduced.

    Monaghan, whose union fought the cuts, said, "This is going to affect civilian safety, public safety."

    Although every firehouse will still have at least one unit on duty, ladder trucks and pumper engines are not interchangeable, Monaghan said. For example, ladder trucks carry the Jaws of Life to pull crash victims out of wrecked vehicles, while pumper engines don't, he said.

    The first two brownout rounds affect fire companies all over the city, according to a list Wynn released Tuesday.

    From Sunday through Jan. 31, shutdowns are set for Engine 23, 2130 W. Oklahoma Ave.; Engine 39, 8025 W. Bradley Road; and Ladder 9, 551 N. 30th St. From Feb. 1 through Feb. 27, shutdowns are planned for Engine 11, 2526 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.; Engine 24, 4927 W. Fiebrantz Ave.; and Ladder 15, 5335 N. Teutonia Ave.

    But a day earlier, Wynn provided a list showing two companies on the south side and one on the northwest side would be closed in January, followed by two northwest side companies and one south side company in February.

    Monaghan charged that the brownout list was being redrawn for political reasons, as hospitals and universities lobby city officials to avoid the closing of companies near their institutions. Wynn did not respond to a question about that claim.

    After Ladder 10 closes, the city will have 15 firehouses where both a ladder company and a pumper engine company are based. Of those firehouses, five are on the south side; three are on the northwest side; two each are on the north side, west side and downtown; and one is on the east side. Records show 21 other firehouses will have only one firefighting company each, but some also house paramedic units or special teams.

    In a separate development, the union has announced that former Fire Chief Doug Holton has resoundingly lost a no-confidence vote by the firefighters he once led.

    Voting electronically over two days, almost 98% of the union membership repudiated Holton's leadership, in a ballot with 100% turnout among front-line firefighters up to the rank of captain, the union said in a statement posted on its Web site.

    By the time the voting was completed, Holton had already stepped down to become associate dean of public safety at Madison Area Technical College. But the union said it went ahead with the ballot "to urge the Fire & Police Commission not to make a similar mistake in choosing the next chief."

    Summing up its complaints against Holton, the union said, "The morale of the Fire Department is at an all-time low. The chief did not respect the men and women of this department. His lack of leadership and mismanagement has burdened this community with the advent of brownouts (the periodic closing of fire companies) and a compromise of safety."

    Holton fired back with his own written statement, blasting retiring union President Bobbie Webber and other union leaders for failing to negotiate a contract that could have saved some firefighter jobs.

    "Now that I have moved on to another career, a 'no confidence vote' by some union members is cowardly and a perfect example of the Neanderthal thinking of the union leadership," he wrote. "This vote could never erase the 28 years of memories serving our citizens and improving the quality of life for many people. I have been blessed to have worked side-by-side with some of the most courageous people to have ever served as public servants."

    It was the second vote by Midwestern firefighters to renounce Holton's leadership. In 2007, the St. Paul, Minn., firefighters' union gave him an overwhelming "no confidence" vote for his four years as chief there, just weeks before he was picked as Milwaukee fire chief. Holton had risen through the ranks in Milwaukee before leaving to become St. Paul's fire chief.

    Webber will retire in January. Union members have elected David Seager, now a member of the union's board, to replace him.



  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    Very sad news.

    A good friend of mine, and former member of Altoona worked at Ladder 10 for several years. They are first in at Miller Park if I'm not mistaken.

    So does this mean staffing cuts too? Are they going to be absorbed into other companies?
    Jason Knecht
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    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
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    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

  3. #3
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    A good friend of mine, and former member of Altoona worked at Ladder 10 for several years. They are first in at Miller Park if I'm not mistaken.
    You are mistaken!

    Truck 10 is on the upper east side, Miller Park is almost smack dab in the middle.
    Engine 33 is first due, as is Truck 16; maybe your friend worked one of those companies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    So does this mean staffing cuts too? Are they going to be absorbed into other companies?

    Yes, there are staffing cuts; all firefighting companies will now have been cut to four.
    No one will be laid off, as the department has been running with almost 150 vacant positions.
    Personnel assigned to truck 10 have been reassigned to other companies.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    Ah yes, it was both Engine 33 and Ladder 16 he worked before. He was first in for the crane collapse during construction.

    Is there some sort of appeal process? I can't believe 150 open positions, man. Think of the daily overtime...that is very crappy. Unfortunately, something big is going to have to happen and maybe even lives lost before any action would be taken to reactivate companies. I hate to say it but it's true.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    Is there some sort of appeal process? I can't believe 150 open positions, man. Think of the daily overtime...that is very crappy.
    Appeal? No, management has the rights to staff the dept how they see fit. As for OT, many positions are lost with the downsizing of companies and the closing of some companies (Ladder 10). Basically since the minimum daily staffing drops, so does the OT opportunities.

    Unfortunately, something big is going to have to happen and maybe even lives lost before any action would be taken to reactivate companies. I hate to say it but it's true.
    Unfortunately, that is usually the case for people to wake up and realize the decisions made and the affect they have on people. Problem is though that we as firefighters still respond, we still intervene, so really for the most part people still won't understand. The only time many actually give a crap is when they are the ones calling and typically it isn't to those who made the decisions who find the error of them. Those fatalities, injuries etc, will be blown off, the union may address the issue, but the beancounters care only of numbers.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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    I'm just curious, but are there alternative solutions. I'm sure the city could raise taxes. How would that be received in the community?

    I love this statement
    Coggs and Kovac said they were concerned about the loss of Ladder 10 and the brownouts. They said they would monitor fire service to ensure safety is not reduced.
    Now of course safety will be reduced. You start at a point where there is 0 staff and 0 stations. Safety will increase as staff and stations are added; the upper limit is infinite. So like it or not, every department bases its staffing on a dollar value. The thing to realize is that the gains will be in the form of an exponential, that is, they are not linear. Having three stations with 100 staff will provide a certain level of safety. Doubling the number of stations and staff will not result in a doubling of the safety.

    The op stated "money is more important than your lives." This is never true but there is a limit as too how much the citizens will pay. And even given infinite money, not all lives will be saved.
    Last edited by ScareCrow57; 12-26-2009 at 01:28 AM.

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