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  1. #1
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    Default Change in AFG Management

    All,

    The AFG Director retired some months ago and the Acting Director was just recently removed from his responsibilities with the program.

    What concerns me is the FEMA leadership has openly stated (verbally) that they want a former union career chief to run the AFG Branch. What is the motivation behind this? I've worked on both sides of the fence and don't see a benefit to hiring a career "UNION" chief for grants.

    Lastly, the person now in charge doesn't have the experience or wherewithal to actual do the job. She is either being set up to fail or they have a new candidate coming soon. Since the Senior Grant Directorate folks have someone leaking info to our communities, I hope they are reading this and will be willing to respond to concerns.

    The last thing we need is a politically driven union representative running a grant program. thoughts?


  2. #2
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    Not sure that makes a whole lot of sense, or is possible. After all management level officers aren't allowed to be union members are they?

    Someone with fire experience would be nice at the top, and as long as they continue to solicit feedback from the current 9 national organizations I don't see why anything major would change. I know several people personally and by reputation that are/have been major city career chiefs that fully understand the need for proper support of all types of departments, not just one type. Anyone with an agenda will find it hard to get anywhere, regardless of which way they're trying to swing things.

    Does sound like a possible railroad job on the acting director to make changes happen though. Had many dealing with him directly on apps from all types of departments and found him to be nothing but fair.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by luvpizda View Post
    All,

    The AFG Director retired some months ago and the Acting Director was just recently removed from his responsibilities with the program.

    What concerns me is the FEMA leadership has openly stated (verbally) that they want a former union career chief to run the AFG Branch. What is the motivation behind this? I've worked on both sides of the fence and don't see a benefit to hiring a career "UNION" chief for grants.

    Lastly, the person now in charge doesn't have the experience or wherewithal to actual do the job. She is either being set up to fail or they have a new candidate coming soon. Since the Senior Grant Directorate folks have someone leaking info to our communities, I hope they are reading this and will be willing to respond to concerns.

    The last thing we need is a politically driven union representative running a grant program. thoughts?


    What's your point? Just because the person was a former "career" Chief are you concerned that they'll make sure all the money goes to career departments? Althouogh I don't even know the person you're eluding to, how much more could this transition slow down the program, give whoever a chance first, the be critical.


    Nothing personel, just business.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Also depends on the definition of pro-union, after all I'm not in one but I'm pro-union in the sense that they exist for a purpose and if one exists in the industry it is better to belong and have your voice heard than not and have the union talking on your behalf without having the ability to be heard. The role of the union has somewhat evolved since the early 1900s where the main concern was workplace safety and standards, into more of a guaranteed minimum requirement for personnel training levels and workmanship standards.

    The other end is that they can go overboard, as was found during the PA Convention Center project. Management came in and mentioned something about the trades working together to get the project done instead of the standby of the electrician can't touch a pipe to help keep the plumber from falling off of a ladder type stuff. Not running pipe or anything like that, just lending the occasional hand. Unions said no, that means they need more people. So the project went non-union across the board. Kvaerner came in for the shipyard work and said they wanted union workers but they had heard about the PA Convention Center issue and asked the same question. Unions said no problem we can help each other out, and that's the way the work went.

    In the fire side, not really an issue but they're under more pressure for meeting standards without being given the personnel to do the job, and sstill being told to keep OT down at the same time. I think the issue might be if they drop someone in that's pro-career. Then the funding pendulum might shift, but anyone that thinks that everyone can afford paid personnel even with a SAFER award doesn't have a grasp on how the real world works or solid financial analysis skills. Doubt that would be something that would really end up happening since that's been attempted all along and clearer heads keep prevailing knowing that all types of departments need assistance.

    This belongs below luvpizda's 2nd post, my time settings are right so server still must be screwed up.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Other than the change of the DHS secretary, I don't know anything about the politics at FEMA/AFG.
    While I believe the AFG program has been run generally well in the past, I do have concerns about the future when you have the DHS director saying things like the needs of the rural/volunteer depts. have been met and emphasis needs to be put on city departments and hiring according to the people sheís talked to. (Not sure of her exact words a few months ago but it was something like that.) She has obviously not spoken with people in the volunteer and rural fire service. Political types campaign to the largest crowds and Iím sure the City folks are going to talk about their needs, the same as the small town folks would if we WERE ASK.
    The AFG program advisory committees are top heavy with career fire fighters and fire fighting organizations. Few of us in the volunteer service can take time away from our paying jobs to lobby and be on committees that require time away from what pays the bills for our families. The same is true for the peer review panels. I appreciate all who take time to be on the panels, but how many volunteer fire fighters can take a week off unpaid, or use a weekís vacation to do peer review. Those who are career fire fighters, officers, or paid staff of fire fighting organizations can financially better afford to volunteer for the panels, many as part of their job.
    In talking with many city career fire fighters, they have no idea of the problems faced by rural and volunteer fire fighters. No hydrants, long travel times to calls, training on our own time, and raising money to pay for EVERYTHING. Our jobs are what we do to feed our families, fire fighting for free, and spending time to raise money to pay for the equipment to do it, is a labor of love. I do not mean to distract from the job done by those in the career service, that is not my point. I believe volunteer FDís and those in small towns and rural areas still have many unmet needs and changing the management attitude and rules of the AFG to favor city and career departments would be a disservice to the AFG and those who fought so hard to get a program like this established.
    I DO NOT mean this to be a volley vs. career argument. I am simply trying to make a case for the continued need for AFG funding for us little and unpaid guys.
    BB

  6. #6
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    Default clarification

    So, my concern/statement was not the fact that Management changes were to focus efforts on hiring a former career chief. In fact, the career piece had nothing to do with it at all. I do thank BC79er for kindly reminded me that Management Level Officers can not be Union.

    So, to clarify, I believe seeking out someone "Pro Union" could have a damaging effect from the policy/application/qualification part of the program. I don't think it's as simple or apparent as who gets the money. The leadership of AFG has the ability (or at least audience) to work with FEMA Sr. Leadership and OMB to effect the structure of the program.

    There are many talented people out there and specifically seeking out a Pro Union former Chief seems misguided and/or agenda driven-- That's my concern (not who gets more money - that's already decided)

  7. #7
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    Default

    It's simple, the Obama admin owes the IAFF (and unions in general). It's a simple way to show they are paying back.

    Will it have a negative impact on the FG program? Hard to get much slower. But even with the downhill slide of the last few years the program is no where NEAR as inefficient and bureaucratic as the rest of the Fed gov't. In otherwords, the typcial Obama leftist appointee certainly could, and judged by the evidence of the last 15months, would screw up the FG program much worse than it is.

    So who is the "leading" marxist in the US fire service?

  8. #8
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    Default Influence

    So, are you saying the IAFF has influence over the SAFER process from criteria/priorities to the actual awards? If this is true, that would be a big problem as I do not know of any other organization having that kind of influence over other parts of AFG.

    Luvpizda: Do you believe you would be a better candidate to lead the program? Based on your comments I do not understand why you think the current person is better or worse or the last person was better or worse. Maybe it was just a good time for that person to get out. Was this person publically flogged for their actions and then told to go sit in the corner? You seem to have many more answers than anyone else.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Technically yes, the IAFF is one of the organizations involved in the program design with the other 8 national organizations, so they do have influence on criteria and priorities. Awards, I would hope not since as the PG states such influence is illegal so doubt that anyone would want to step over those bounds since a violation like that would tank the entire program for years if not for good. Then there would really be no hiring going on.

    More likely the flap is that the rehiring applications that were up for awards were supposed to be announced first since those are the easiest to implement with not laying people off that are scheduled to be or bringing back those on layoffs. Day 2 they could have the people back in and on shift, versus a hiring process that's 6 months to add positions in most cases. Just like they used to shift vehicle awards to the first 3 rounds in AFG because it takes the whole year to get them built, so put them up front so people can get working and get the trucks in. Most equipment is 30 day delivery so not a huge wait time in comparison.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Wasn't it the USFA that got an Obama appointee last April, who said in his acceptance speech about how funding needed to be directed towards the urban areas? Was it the USAF or another agency?

    Anyway luvpizda and neiowa has a right to be concerned. It is being announced everywhere. Even ACORN is changing its name, but the game is the same. IMHO we must begin the process of reversing the demographic of population per square mile and using opposite determining factors.

    I mean its their turn isn't it? The process hasn't been working and resulting in only demanding more.

    Wouldn't it be interesting to see the cost benefits if the process was reversed for awhile. Imagine what they could do with that injection of cash temporarily.

    You know it would be so beneficial for small governments to be able to get some matches for their budgets. I'll bet the value per dollar is just as important on the reverse side for awhile.

    Nothing personal, its just a different practical logic being injected in for a period of time.

  11. #11
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    Default

    Never personally met the guy, but Mr. Harrington obviously ran a good program. Unfortunately, politics get involved in government affairs.

    Let's hope it's a name change only.

  12. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    It's simple, the Obama admin owes the IAFF (and unions in general). It's a simple way to show they are paying back.
    Now you are making sense! This truism scares me! I am AFL-CIO for 30 years and I'm scared of this...

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