1. #1
    District Chief
    distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Thumbs down Pompano Beach Fla--Firefighters want wellness program--City"Mow the lawn!"

    Dispute over Pompano firefighters' wellness project turns into turf battle

    By Lisa J. Huriash
    Staff Writer
    Posted November 28 2003

    POMPANO BEACH -- City firefighters want to improve their health. Commissioner E. Pat Larkins offers this: Get off your duff and mow the lawn.

    Fire Chief Harry Small came to the City Commission this week with what he expected to be a routine request, $66,150 to buy exercise bikes, treadmills and weight-lifting equipment, as well as medical screening for the city's nearly 200 firefighters and paramedics.

    The money would match a $154,000 federal grant for the mandatory wellness project, which is touted by the department as a way of reducing injuries on the job. The department has reported five fire-related injuries in the past three years.

    Small promised the department would eventually be able to show "with hard data" that the program saves the city money in the long run. Seminars that offer tips about the proper lifting technique; ways to combat high blood pressure, nutrition, weight control; and ways to stop smoking are also part of the program.

    Commissioners approved the request with a 4-1 vote, but not without a fight from Larkins.

    He's still angry that in the midst of contentious union negotiations in 2000, firefighters didn't want to mow the lawns at the fire stations. Larkins was so aggravated that he even suggested the city nix the department altogether and merge with the county.

    On Tuesday Larkins told Small, "You know damn well I'm not going to support" the wellness project funding request.

    "You want to be well and physical ... you guys are sitting in the fire station ... and you don't want to cut a little grass," he said. That would "take 20 minutes to do. A 10-by-10 yard of grass they don't want to cut."

    Instead, he said, "you guys are watching a color TV."

    Assistant Fire Chief Frank Ross, who was union president when the lawn mowing argument arose, said his firefighters and paramedics didn't mind cutting the grass but were getting complaints from residents that they were "extremely sweaty and dirty. They don't want to be treated by people with grease and dirt on them."

    At the time he brought pictures of firefighter-paramedics covered in grass clippings to contract talks to make his point.

    On Wednesday, union President John DeVoe defended the city's wellness plan proposal and said Pompano Beach's firefighters and paramedics are some of the hardest-working employees around.

    Although they do have TV sets in the station, they aren't sitting around playing games, he said.

    "You couldn't find a checkerboard in a firehouse with a million-dollar bill in your hand," he said. "And you know what? There's not a deck of cards in there, either. I can't believe E. Pat Larkins truly believes in his heart efforts spent towards ensuring firefighters' wellness are misspent."

    Mayor Kay McGinn said she supports the new wellness program. "If this is going to cut down on the number of sick days and injuries and workers compensation, then it will be a real savings for the city and the firefighters."

    And as for Larkins' suggestion? "Mowing the lawn? Listen, I used to love mowing my lawn," McGinn said. "But I don't see where mowing would strengthen any group of muscles."

    Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at lhuriash@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4557.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    Engine 74
    Posts
    108

    Default

    Well, if nothing else, that story reassures me that we don't have the market cornered on childish, petty politicians. (We do have plenty, though - this could very well happen here tomorrow! Our administration not only doesn't understand their fire department, they don't want to be bothered understanding.)

    That Larkin guy has no business being in any position of authority. He's holding grudges from almost 4 years ago, and denying the very people who may have to save his life some day the equipment they need to do their job efficiently. Why? Because he coudn't get his way during their negotiations in Y2K. For cryin' out loud, buddy, get over it!

    I hope the fire department down there reminds the public how this guy thinks when he's up for reelection!
    E-4-A
    IAFF 1176

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    13,537

    Default

    "You want to be well and physical ... you guys are sitting in the fire station ... and you don't want to cut a little grass," he said. That would "take 20 minutes to do. A 10-by-10 yard of grass they don't want to cut."

    "Excuse me, Commissioner. Could you tell me how many times a police officer cuts the grass in front of the precinct?"

  4. #4
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Unhappy And.......

    This point is in no way meant to be detrimental to anyone. This year a department in the midwest (I think) suffered a LODD when a Firefighter was killed when the lawnmower that he was operating turned over. Even mowing the grass can be hazardous, particularlly if it's not something that you do often. Problem here ain't the grass though, it's a petty politician practicing the fine art of being vindictive. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    13,537

    Default Re: And.......

    Originally posted by hwoods
    This point is in no way meant to be detrimental to anyone. This year a department in the midwest (I think) suffered a LODD when a Firefighter was killed when the lawnmower that he was operating turned over. Even mowing the grass can be hazardous, particularlly if it's not something that you do often. Problem here ain't the grass though, it's a petty politician practicing the fine art of being vindictive. Stay Safe....
    That is actually an intersting dilemma. We had a guy on our job injure his back changing a tire on his G-ride. HE was denied a LOD pension because he was working out of his job title.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    WOW ............the fun never ceases,there is a local department that has them put a lawnmower in a Lifesquad to go and cut grass, in the winter they have to get up early and one drives the unit another in the pick up truck with the plow to go clean off the other stations and training facilty parking lots. Aside from all that ........this Comissioner is a Jackass !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Duffman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Chicago area
    Posts
    780

    Default

    This year a department in the midwest (I think) suffered a LODD when a Firefighter was killed when the lawnmower that he was operating turned over.
    You are correct Chief. The accident occurred in a small town south of the Chicago area, near Kankakee.
    "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."

    IACOJ

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    1,143

    Default

    I wonder what the Public Works union would think of the firefighters cutting the grass. Around here the unions are very conscious of not stepping on each others turf.

  9. #9
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    Engine 74
    Posts
    108

    Default

    LadyCapn writes: "stepping on each others turf."

    Good pun!!
    E-4-A
    IAFF 1176

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!
    Posts
    13,584

    Default

    We have an agreement with the Parks Division of the Department of Public Works... We don't mow the lawns, and they don't fight fires.

    Commissioner Larkin sound like he comes from the genus
    Canis Muttus Hateus Jakeus...
    ‎"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."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  11. #11
    District Chief
    distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Default

    Hwoods has a good point about working outside the job description...but...most place have that catchall phrase..."other related duties as assigned."
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register