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Thread: Cleveland Fire Dept., Fire exam, July 31st, 2010

  1. #421
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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREJAWZ View Post
    June of next year sounds plausible considering the current attrition rate. And I agree that Cleveland will likely try to re-up that FEMA grant to assist with new hires.

    But I'm curious as to why you think the outcome of SB5 will have an impact on hiring. To my understanding, the bill limits collective bargaining rights of unionized firefighters (e.g., wages, medical insurance premiums, disciplinary issues, etc.). How would this either improve or reduce the likelihood of hiring new firefighters if there is a staffing deficiency from DROP? Granted, if SB5 is upheld, new cadets will be probably be hired into less favorable working conditions than before SB5 was enacted. However, I don't quite see how the new law would preclude hiring altogether.

    Barring any other unforeseen political craziness from the governor, I anticipate that Cleveland's tax revenue will remain the same - and possibly even increase over the next couple of years. The Medical Mart construction is well under way, so there is a new source of property tax and commercial activity tax. Also, phase I of the new casino project by Rock Ceasers Gaming is slated for 2012 grand opening. This, too, should generate at least a marginal increase in commercial activity and property tax revenue. Production for the Avengers movie is already underway, and I have to imagine that the city sees some kind of revenue from that. So, once we weather this Kasich budget fiasco, I think Cleveland will be headed in the right direction, at least in the short run.
    SB5 will play a part in CFD hiring, if it is passed. Currently CFD's contract calls for 4 man minimum on every apparatus. If SB5 passes, staffing/manning is not a negotiable item any longer. The City of Cleveland has wanted to lower staffing to 3 per apparatus for some time-CFD has always won in the end. If SB5 passes, the City of Cleveland could do so, and that would eliminate at least 200 guys.


  2. #422
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECFD121 View Post
    SB5 will play a part in CFD hiring, if it is passed. Currently CFD's contract calls for 4 man minimum on every apparatus. If SB5 passes, staffing/manning is not a negotiable item any longer. The City of Cleveland has wanted to lower staffing to 3 per apparatus for some time-CFD has always won in the end. If SB5 passes, the City of Cleveland could do so, and that would eliminate at least 200 guys.
    Let's assume SB5 passes...when you say eliminate 200 guys, are you saying the City of Cleveland will do another layoff just to reduce staffing in accordance with 3 FFs per apparatus? That would be unprecedented for CFD.

  3. #423
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    Hopefully SB5 does not pass. Make sure you, your family and anyone else you know who is of voting age votes NO on Issue 2. With that being said, IF it passes it's impossible to say what will happen. There would be no doubt plenty of lawsuits filed by different unions across the state for various reasons in the future if the laws of SB5 are applied by cities. To say CFD or any FD would just lower the manpower automatically is hard to predict. Let's all make sure we never have to find out. Again NO on Issue 2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrutusBuckeye View Post
    Hopefully SB5 does not pass. Make sure you, your family and anyone else you know who is of voting age votes NO on Issue 2. With that being said, IF it passes it's impossible to say what will happen. There would be no doubt plenty of lawsuits filed by different unions across the state for various reasons in the future if the laws of SB5 are applied by cities. To say CFD or any FD would just lower the manpower automatically is hard to predict. Let's all make sure we never have to find out. Again NO on Issue 2.
    Yeah, Issue 2 looks like it will sink, but that makes voting even more important. Plenty of early favorites lose their position because people take the win for granted. November 8th is a long way away, and the ads haven't even started yet.

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    fromCle you are correct. It's a long way to November. Unfortunately Gov. Kasich and his buddies are waiting till after the 9/11 anniversary before they start putting out ads painting police and firefighters as the current enemies of the state. Again we will need the help of every Ohio state resident (on and off the job) to defeat Issue 2.

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    So keeping conversation going, anyone doing specific training that may put them in better shape for a fire academy/fire service? I know endurance is a biggie, and crossfit is popular, but I'm sure a good platform of strength is required to begin with.

    Myself, I'm trying to get stronger at the main lifts (squat, deadlift, bench and military press) and supplementing them with pullups/chinups, pushups, dips and situps for high numbers/endurance. I run sometimes, but find my wind endurance stays with me even if I go a month without running, so I don't emphasize it or do it more than 1-2 times a week for 3-5 miles. I'd like to incorporate more useful training, so open to suggestion or would like to hear what others are doing for ideas.

  7. #427
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromCLE View Post
    So keeping conversation going, anyone doing specific training that may put them in better shape for a fire academy/fire service? I know endurance is a biggie, and crossfit is popular, but I'm sure a good platform of strength is required to begin with.

    Myself, I'm trying to get stronger at the main lifts (squat, deadlift, bench and military press) and supplementing them with pullups/chinups, pushups, dips and situps for high numbers/endurance. I run sometimes, but find my wind endurance stays with me even if I go a month without running, so I don't emphasize it or do it more than 1-2 times a week for 3-5 miles. I'd like to incorporate more useful training, so open to suggestion or would like to hear what others are doing for ideas.
    Circuit training...circuit training...circuit training!!! Sounds like you have a solid fitness foundation with strength exercises. Also, cardiovascular endurance is key. But in my experience, MUSCLE ENDURANCE was CRUCIAL in fire academy PT and evolutions. You must be able to exert a lot of physical strength repeatedly over a period of time without much rest in between tasks. The only training that builds muscular endurance of that kind is circuit training. I recommend that you continue with your cardiovascular training and core strength training (squats, deadlift, presses). But when doing pull-ups/chin-ups, pushups and dips, don't take more than 20-30 seconds rest between sets. THAT is firefighter strength.
    Last edited by zarack808; 09-03-2011 at 04:31 PM.

  8. #428
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    No, what I'm saying is the City of Cleveland could let up to 200 guys retire and not replace them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ECFD121 View Post
    No, what I'm saying is the City of Cleveland could let up to 200 guys retire and not replace them.
    Ok, thanks for clarifying. I had a chance to read a copy of the old CBA (not sure if negotiations are final for the new CBA), and you are correct about the staffing requirement being 4 persons per apparatus. Considering the amount of fire they see in Cleveland (and East Cleveland in your case), it would seem irresponsible for the City to reduce staffing to 3 per apparatus. But...we aren't talking about being responsible - we're talking about money.

    But this leads to a couple more questions:

    1.) Under SB5 (Issue 2) workers will be allowed to collectively bargain for wages, hours and work conditions. Wouldn't staffing levels for fire suppression and rescue apparatus qualify as "work conditions"? This directly impacts the safety of the firefighters, the safety of the public, as well as the tactics and strategies employed on the fireground. How is this not a "working condition" matter?

    2.) Also, if a new CBA has already been ratified between the union and the City, don't both parties have to honor the contract - regardless of what happens in November with SB5? If SB5 remains law, then any future CBA would fall under the scope of SB5. But if the most recently negotiated CBA mandates 4 persons per apparatus, then the City must honor that through the life of the agreement, right?
    Last edited by FIREJAWZ; 09-06-2011 at 12:21 PM.

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    To answer your questions Firejawz
    Question 1: You bring up some good points in this question. Cities will definitely attack staffing (even more so than they do now) if Issue 2 passes. But what you stated on what we can bargain for is such a gray area that nobody knows for sure how things will shake out.
    Question 2: All contracts are legally binding for their set amount of time. However under SB5 a city can opt out of the contract if they can prove financial difficulties.

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    Cleveland News Channel 5 just aired a segment this evening on this very subject. A law professor from Cleveland-Marshall Law School explained that SB5 does in fact contain language that expressly prohibits staffing/manning standards as a bargaining topic.

    Even so, I certainly hope that Cleveland doesn't wait until another 200 guys retire before they hire new firefighters. I'm not sure how many guys have left already this year, but my guess is that there is a ways to go before they reach 200 retirements. It doesn't make sense to spend several million dollars on a test only to let the eligibility list lapse before you hire anyone. What a waste!

    I'm going to be optimistic and hold out hope that SB5 will be repealed and that the City will address its staffing issues sooner rather than later.
    Last edited by FIREJAWZ; 09-06-2011 at 08:14 PM.

  12. #432
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECFD121 View Post
    SB5 will play a part in CFD hiring, if it is passed. Currently CFD's contract calls for 4 man minimum on every apparatus. If SB5 passes, staffing/manning is not a negotiable item any longer. The City of Cleveland has wanted to lower staffing to 3 per apparatus for some time-CFD has always won in the end. If SB5 passes, the City of Cleveland could do so, and that would eliminate at least 200 guys.
    This week I chatted with a union rep for a local fire department about what exactly SB5 says about collective bargaining rights of firefighters with regard to staffing. He confirmed that SB5 does not permit firefighters to bargain over day-to-day staffing or daily on-duty minimums; however, the law still allows unions to negotiate over the total work force. For instance, unions won't be allowed to bargain for 4 FFs per apparatus, but they can still negotiate over the total number of FF personnel on the force. Not sure that makes much sense...but that's how it was explained to me.
    Last edited by FIREJAWZ; 09-09-2011 at 12:18 PM.

  13. #433
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    Hate to be the bearer of bad news but the unfortunate reality is that Cleveland is not looking to hire, but rather the city plans to reduce the size of the force through attrition. This means that retirement vacancies will remain unfilled until they reach the desired size for the fire department. This could take a few years, which means the current eligibility list will likely expire before the city hires anyone. The currently laid off firefighters will be the only people filling any retirement vacancies for the foreseeable future.

    Just to give you an idea of how tight things are right now...the CBA between the fire department and the city stipulates that when there is a layoff, the city is required to rehire within 30 days a laid off firefighter for each vacancy created by a retiree. So far the city is challenging that provision of the CBA, as no laid off firefighters have been reinstated since July 11 - even though there have been a handful of retirements since that time.

    For those of you who scored well on the exam, I hope you have a plan B or plan C, because it ain't looking good for Cleveland. Its a darn shame too because CFD has a LOT of old firefighters and they're getting older. Someone told me that the youngest person currently on the department is 33 or 34 years old and the average age is nearly 50 years old.
    Last edited by zarack808; 09-19-2011 at 10:02 PM.

  14. #434
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    The bearer of bad news or your own pessimism? I don't think there is anyone in the entire City of Cleveland that can verify with any confidence the things you say (with exception of challenging the union on the CBA).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cub2311 View Post
    The bearer of bad news or your own pessimism? I don't think there is anyone in the entire City of Cleveland that can verify with any confidence the things you say (with exception of challenging the union on the CBA).
    unfortunately he is the bearer of bad news. The city is fighting tooth and nail to not bring back laid off guys when someone retires. The union has filed grievance upon grievance to get these guys back, however it's a long drawn out process. Some of these poor guys are on their second and even third layoff. Cleveland maybe a dream for some people to work for but you have to sit back and look at the big picture, it may not be the best place.

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    I believe they are fighting to not bring guys back. Police does not bring guys back until they have 5 or 10 ready to return (forget which it is). Perhaps this is what they are fighting for considering its likely a burden to bring one guy back at a time. If the city wanted more gone, they would have layed more off? I would have to imagine there is a bottom number that FEMA is only going to let them hit considering they are working off of a grant for a number of individuals. Additionally, they were applying for a new hire grant. May is always the magic month that people retire due to vacation benefits, etc... I realize DROP has changed that some, but it still holds significance. I am just suggesting optimistic fodder to displace some of the negative at this point. The real point is that NOBODY knows at this point. Not the chief, not the mayor, not the man on the moon, certainly none of us speculating on a message board.

  17. #437
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    Facts
    • The city has wanted to shrink the Division of Fire for some years, but circumstances (both political and economic) were not conducive to achieving this objective.

    • The Cleveland Fire Department is way too bloated with approximately 850 firefighters serving a population of 395,000. Just to compare, Detroit Fire Department is one of the busiest fire departments in nation (averages 500 structure fires monthly) and has only 1,100 firefighters serving a population of 800,000. It is worth noting that DFD is a combo department which includes 26 medic units; whereas Cleveland Fire has no dedicated EMS units to account for among its 850 members.
    An even better comparison is the Pittsburgh Fire Department, which has just 630 members serving a population of 310,000.

    • A frequent point of contention in previous CBA negotiations has been the number of personnel assigned to fire suppression apparatus. The city wants 3 per apparatus and the Union demanded 4 per apparatus. To date the city has conceded on this issue, but the current political and economic climate has given more bargaining leverage to the city

    • Due to the most recent layoffs, the city has closed the following fire companies: Battalion Chief 1, Eng 2, Eng 17, Eng 33, Truck 42, & Truck 9. These companies have been closed since May and the city argues without any noticeable decrease in service to the community.

    Rumors & Scuttlebutt
    • According to folks connected with the union and other folks connected with the city, administrators feel like the current situation is ideal for shrinking the force. Kasich's gross budget cuts, a rapidly declining population, and increased negative sentiment from the public toward safety forces makes for the best possible scenario to reduce the numbers through attrition.

    • The reason the city declined the first grant to avoid 25 layoffs in June is because there was a condition that the city return the other firefighters on its own dime. The city did not want to be required to rehire the other firefighters. FEMA revamped the grant which allowed the city to reinstate 25 firefighters without being required to rehire the others within a specific time frame

    • The city is not complying with the CBA agreement to fill retirement vacancies with laid off firefighters on a 1-to-1 basis because it wants to save as much money as possible and wait until they can bring back a group all at once. This is a direct violation of the CBA.

    • The city will eventually reinstate all the laid off firefighters, perhaps by the end of 2011. After that, the city will allow the ranks to decrease naturally through DROP attrition. A decent number of guys are expected to leave in 2012, but the next mass exodus is not expected until 2014.

    • The only reasons the city might be interested in hiring a new class before 2014 are: 1.) the city already spent over $3 million paying for the most recent test and recruiting process and they don't want to waste that money; 2.) the CFD is a rapidly aging department and needs new blood ASAP - especially if they intend to take on all EMS duties. The old guys WILL NOT go to paramedic school but new hires can be required to under a new CBA; and 3.) if FEMA extends a new grant to pay for a new class of firefighters.
    Last edited by zarack808; 09-20-2011 at 11:58 AM.

  18. #438
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    Well put, but also none of that has ever been a secret

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    @Cub2311: I realize that the information cited is not ground breaking. I was simply laying out the basis for my previous post. Of course, no one can predict the future with 100% accuracy. But the writing on the wall is certainly not favorable for us CFD hopefuls. I do admire your optimism and I don't intend to douse anyone's positive outlook. Nonetheless, this is a hiring/employment forum that encourages candid discussion of pertinent issues related to our job searches. Just sharing information along with my opinion.
    Last edited by zarack808; 09-20-2011 at 03:51 PM.

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    To look at your fact #2 from a different light, Cleveland has a roughly 30% larger force than Pittsburgh. Cleveland covers roughly 30% more area than Pittsburgh. Their staffing is pretty comparable from that perspective. Pittsburgh is a much better comparison than Detroit, the cities have very similar makeups in many ways. I just think way too bloated is a little harsh of a word to pick for CFD.

    I wonder if a strong candidate emerges to run for mayor in 2013 would have any effect on the re-hirings and new hires. All the gun violence has been unfortunate and sad, and been getting a lot of media attention. A mayor who struggles with safety issues tends to not be mayor for long.

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