1. #1
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    Default Cranston Mayor Releases Audit Critical of Fire Department

    CRANSTON, R.I. -- Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey released an audit Thursday that contains serious criticisms of the city's Fire Department.

    The audit, which Laffey commissioned, cost taxpayers $135,000, but the mayor estimates in the end it could save taxpayers millions of dollars.

    News Channel 10's Kelley McGee reported the audit was done on the Fire and Police departments, but most of the criticism was leveled at the Fire Department. One major criticism was that the department has no minority members and no women.

    The audit also found the department is overbudget and overstaffed, according to mayor. The report recommends eliminating 44 firefighters.

    "I believe we're understaffed, actually. By new standard 1710 put out by the National Fire Protection (Association), our trucks are understaffed. I would be very surprised if they were staffing reductions here," firefighters' union President Paul Valetta said.

    The mayor disagrees.

    "They actually have 86 percent more people than the industry average," Laffey said, pointing to a graph from his report.

    The Fire Department was also faulted for not having wellness and fitness programs to ensure that firefighters are at peak readiness for emergency response. But it was recognized for its high success rate for applications and receipt of grant money.

    The audit was kinder to the Police Department.

    While the report cited the department for a lack of minorities and women, it recommended adding police officers. The audit also said the department needs new facilities.

    The department was praised for the city's low crime rate.

    "For the most part, I feel it's a positive report on how we operate here and I'm looking forward to implementing any of the recommendations that we can implement," Maj. Stephen McGrath said.

    Cranston has about 80,000 residents. The audit compared the city to communities of similar size.

    The Police and Fire departments have 60 days to review the report, and then the departments will come together with the mayor to decide how money can be saved. An audit of the School Department is due in a few weeks.

    McGee reported that a copy of the audit is available in the clerk's office at City Hall for the general public to read.

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    "Overstaffed." That's pretty interesting, considering that (feel free to correct me Tom), only 3 out of 6 engines staff with 4 (the rest 3) and all 3 ladders staff with 2.

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    Question overstaffed??!?!?!?!

    Ladders with only 2 men??!?!?!? Oh yeah, the Dept is completely bloated .

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    "Overstaffed." That's pretty interesting, considering that (feel free to correct me Tom), only 3 out of 6 engines staff with 4 (the rest 3) and all 3 ladders staff with 2.
    I don't know the specific circumstances of Cranston, but it's possible that by overstaffed he means there are more stations and individual companies that the city actually needs.

    The audit also found the department is overbudget and overstaffed, according to mayor. The report recommends eliminating 44 firefighters.
    while I'm not advocating the elimination of FF positions, lets keep in mind that the 44 FFs are spread out over 3 or 4 shifts.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that the FD also has 4 Rescue/Ambulances. I don't know what their SOPs are for a fire scene, but if they are cross trained as firefighters, then that's 8 additional FFs per shift that can respond with the ladder and engine to provide additional manpower (making the 2 man engine/ladder a 4 person company).

    but i don't know, i'm just giving an idea.

    I wonder if the FD was praised for it's quick reponses or it's few structure fires, which would be similar to the low crime rate for PD
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    The only thing our Jack***** mayor was looking for was a way to cut manpower. The piece of crap that did this study was I believe from Fairfax County VA and the brothers there said he was just that, a real piece of crap. He somehow made it to chief without ever taking a test. You get what you pay for. I am sure that if I payed someone the right amount, I could come up with a study that says our mayor has a half a brain but everyone knows that he doesn't. He is a political grandstander and nothing more. He didn't even have the professional courtesy to let the Chief of the department know that this was out. He knew nothing of it until the news showed up at the station.
    The department has 202 firefighters that protect 80,000 people in 29 square miles. We have 4 engines staffed with 4 and the other two with 3. We have 3 ladders staffed with 2. It takes the engine in the western end of the city almost 10 minutes to get to the furthest point in its district. We in no way come close to meeting 1710. The rescues are manned with firefighters but very rarely are they all available for fire duty. Last year we did about 15,000 runs.
    This mayor has alienated every department in the city. He is being sued by the FD, PD and School department over other matters. He has over spent his budget for legal expenses. He wages war to make himself look good for the public but has lost every battle. One of his latest attempts to get his name out there was to errect a Nativity Scene and Menorah on the front lawn of City Hall. He doesn't care that the ACLU warned that they would sue and now have. He got himself on MSNBC for that one. Another suit that the city has to spend money on only to lose. He is a loose cannon that needs to be stopped.

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    From the Providence Journal article (the rest of which says pretty much the same thing as the Channel 10 piece I started the thread with):

    A Harrisonburg, Va., consulting firm, Carroll Buracker & Associates, had worked on the report since late August at a cost of $135,000.

    Carroll Buracker & Associates is a management consulting corporation that specializes in evaluations of management, administration, work load, performance measurements, and services by police, sheriff, fire, emergency medical services, communications and dispatch, public safety and security agencies, according to Laffey's office. Carroll Buracker, the firm's president, is a former chief of police in Fairfax County, Va.

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    Ladders with 2 people ? WOW ! I am sorry to hear about such trouble ..............what a shame ......hang tough !
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    Default Re: Cranston Mayor Releases Audit Critical of Fire Department

    Originally posted by CollegeBuff
    "They actually have 86 percent more people than the industry average," Laffey said, pointing to a graph from his report.
    He's obviously not talking about the truckies.

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    So who has actually read, or where is the evaluation by Carroll Buracker & Associates posted. They have sure been hired to evaluate the operations of a lot of departments, someone thinks they know something (and have so voted with their $).

    http://www.communitypolicing.com/fireems.html

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    "They actually have 86 percent more people than the industry average," Laffey said, pointing to a graph from his report.

    God I'd love to get a copy of this report to read!

    Any way, as an example of having to ask questions, what was the "industry" they were being compared to? The Cranston numbers are not particularly high by New England standards for a city of that size. There's lower staffing (Brockton comes to mind); there's higher staffing (Portland, ME probably beats them, but then again they beat just about everybody in FF/citizen but do so with a fairly low payscale)

    Moreover, a statement like, "86% higher..." is something people with fire service knowledge immediately should start to ask more about. Let's work out this number game and see one question it raises:

    Cranston is a four-platoon department. That's just a cost of having a paid department in the Northeast the FFs expect 42 hour work weeks and you have to be competetive with that or you lose your workers everytime a better work-hours job opens up.

    If a city wants to minimize overtime, it takes n+1 personnel to cover; that means for 4 platoons you need 5 Firefighters to make up for sick days, vacations, training, etc.

    Now, much of the nation runs 3 platoons.

    Some cities don't mind paying overtime, actually prefer it. The reason being the benefits don't go up, so having fewer people to pay bennies to overcomes the extra 50% in hourly wages. So they get away with just n number of firefighters.

    3/5 = 60%.

    So two fire departments, staffing the same number of companies with the same number of firefighters per shift.

    Simply going from a 3 platoon department that prefers overtime over benefits to a 4 platoon department that prefers to minimize overtime means a 60% increase in the number of Firefighters on the payroll.

    And 60% is 70% of 86% before we even start to think about ambulance staffing

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    I guess it hasn't dawned on public safety consultants that:
    fire inspections are to fire departments what patrolling is to police departments. Fire inspections will lower the number of fires because items that could cause fires are caught during inspections. Patrolling the streets are going to cut crime with the increased presence of the police. But because we have fewer fires, we don't need all the equipment and manpower? Hogwash! I don't see too many cops getting laid off. Probably because of all of the federal money.
    Close a couple of stations and then call for an ISO audit!
    And this is just my opinion, but if a mayor has to hire a consulting firm to tell him how to run his business and especially to the tune of $135,000, then he can't have the slightest clue as to how a fire department runs or should run. It only proved HIS incompetence.
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    Am I missing some people?

    4 engines with 4 riding(16), 2 engines with 3 riding(6), 3 ladders with 2 riding(6), 4 rescues with 2 riding(8) = 36guys.

    4 platoons worth is 144.

    department has 202 firefighters
    What are the other 58 people?
    Last edited by Bones42; 01-09-2004 at 02:41 PM.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    "fuzzy math"
    ‎"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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    "They actually have 86 percent more people than the industry average," Laffey said, pointing to a graph from his report.
    Gee, since when did we switch from standards to "averages?" And to think all the NFPA had to do was ask this guy, instead of wasting time on all those standards.

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    What are the other 58 people?
    There are 4 or 5 "floaters" per shift. They will rotate around and fill empty vacation/ sick spots. There are two per shift in Fire Alarm, 4 on the line crew, 5 in Fire Prevention/Inspection, and chiefs in EMS,training and hazmat.
    The moron that came to do the survey is the same guy that the city used as their "expert" in the last contract arbitration. From everything we have heard our union and it's lawyers made a complete idiot out of him. I'm sure he holds no grudges. I am confused by the 86% myself. What is the industry average?
    Our illustrious mayor has an MBA from Harvard. He apparently missed the entire section on contracts because he knows nothing about them and doesn't believe in them. We have a contract until 2006 and there is nothing that he can do until then unless he wants to end up in court again. He eliminated all of the city's crossing guards earlier this year. He thought they were overpaid and decided to eliminate them. They had a contract with the city and won in court. Even the judge had harsh words for our union busting mayor.

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    One word, brother...
    [size=huge]RECALL![/size]
    ‎"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

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    There are 4 or 5 "floaters" per shift. They will rotate around and fill empty vacation/ sick spots. There are two per shift in Fire Alarm, 4 on the line crew, 5 in Fire Prevention/Inspection, and chiefs in EMS,training and hazmat.
    Thanks for the clarification.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    I haven't posted in awhile, so I figured it was a good time to.

    This "audit" was done because the mayor hates us and our Union President. He expected to come in here and "clean up" just like you would in "private industry"(key phrase in our little state). He couldn't because CONTRACTS are reconized as being legal. We also have the "Arbitration" act here which protects us to an extent.

    This audit quotes alot of standards; NFPA, ISO, IAFF, etc. But when it comes to "proper" staffing levels on apparatus, this audit forgets to mention that and does not suggest that we increase apparatus staffing. What this report suggests is that one house replace it's ladder and engine with a quint with only four spots (whats the standard for this piece, 5 or 6?). Close two engine companies that are staffed with four each. Two of the three remaing engines have four spots, the third has only three (isn't the standard 4 or 5?), the two remaining ladders have only two spots (isn't that standard 4 or 5?) Rescues (E.M.S) would not change (our EMS rarely does firefighting, they are on scene for rehab and transport if needed) Dispatch would be taken over by PD and eventually phase out those spots. Plus relocating a station and increasing our overall response time to just under five minutes (which is quotes as a "standard"), up from an average of 3 minutes. It is too funny how numbers work to one's advantage.

    As for overall staffing, they use the number 1.52 firefighters per 1,000 population as an average. We are at 2.5 per 1,000. We are average in the State of R.I. But the other number would make our overall staffing very low for a city of our size. As a matter of fact, every city and town in R.I. that has a career FD would lose at least 1/2 of their workforce using that number. They use a dollar figure of $263 per firefighter per 1,000 population. They state the average is between $118 and $127 per 1,000. But they roll in the cities pension obligations to retirees. Take that out, we are in that ball park. There are so many other things that we are disputing.

    Hell, they even say the cities application process and testing sucks! (they do a written test and a agility test, similar to the combat challenge). Plus the mayors agenda is all over this audit. So it is not truly a performance audit.

    Be careful out there brothers, this could happen to you.

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