1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer
    NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post Camillus, NY Fire Dept LockOut

    CAMILLUS, N.Y. (AP) - Village officials locked firefighters out
    of their station Tuesday night in an ongoing dispute over the
    department's independence.
    On Tuesday afternoon, fire company President Scott Mendzef
    announced it was seceding from the village of Camillus, but would
    continue coverage and fulfill its contract with the surrounding
    town west of Syracuse.
    The Camillus Fire Company voted to go independent a year ago.
    Department lawyer Bradley Pinsky said under state law, it hadn't
    been a village department since it moved into its new fire station
    in the town in 1992.
    In September, the village board voted 4-1 against allowing the
    department to leave, but firefighters pressed the issue again this
    year.
    Village attorney James Hughes told The Post-Standard that he
    contacted two insurance agencies later Tuesday and failed to get
    assurance that Camillus and the firefighters were still covered. At
    about 6 p.m., Mayor Edward Fletcher ordered firefighters to leave
    the station, and the locks were changed.
    The Camillus Town Board, in an emergency session, authorized the
    Fairmount Fire Department to provide interim coverage.
    Hughes said letters would go out to individual firefighters
    today in an effort to reconstitute the Camillus Village Fire
    Department.

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber
    ChiefReason's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Illinois-where pertnear is close enough!
    Posts
    5,636

    Default

    Is there anyone out there that is close to this situation that can clarify a few points?
    For instance; the article says that the fire department wants more "control". What exactly is that? I mean; if you are supported by tax revenues or donations, the people sort of want to have a voice in that.
    How can there be a "separation" between the town and the fire department in terms of oversight? There has to be a higher authority than the chief to air grievances and such, don't you think?
    How you select the members and officers and procedural issues can be addressed in a set of by-laws.
    But this notion of wanting to be independent of the village: are you prepared to deal with the associated liabilities as well?
    I think more thought should have been given this.
    Good luck.
    CR
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    tripperff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Homer, NY
    Posts
    130

    Default I'm a little ways south of there...

    I only know what's been on the local TV news, which hasn't been going into much detail. I do know the sign in front of the station says "WE DIDN'T WALK....WE WERE LOCKED OUT" One of the TV stations timed the run from Fairmount, the FD the Village of Camillus has covering things till this is resolved, and it came in at 12 minutes. Taxpayers who were interviewed are not happy. Right now I'm headed to www.signal99.com ...the Onondaga County Fire Service web site, to see if there are any more details. I do know that Brad Pinsky is involved on the side of Camilus FD. He helped Baldwinsville FD get their independence from their village.

    This is only speculation and my opinion, but I've found that when Fire Departments want to gain their independence from the government entity controlling them, there are usually sound reasons behind the desire for that independence.
    Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

    Anything found in my posts is soley my opinion and not representative of any other individual or entity.

    You know that thing inside your helmet? Use it wisely and you'll be just fine.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Exclamation

    more stuff I dont get .......but trying to understand.
    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

  5. #5
    Sr. Information Officer
    NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post 3/4 Update

    No enlightening details...of the reasoning behind this.

    (Camillus-AP) -- Most members of the Camillus Fire Company
    signed a pledge yesterday not to return to duty under village rule.
    Firefighters are trying to secede from the village of Camillus
    west of Syracuse and were locked out of their station Tuesday.
    The Camillus Fire Company voted to go independent a year ago, a
    decade after it moved into its new fire station in the town.
    In September, the village board voted 4-1 against allowing the
    department to leave, but firefighters pressed the issue again this
    year.
    While four former chiefs and a firefighter gave the village
    service pledges yesterday, most active members did not, and the
    station remains closed.
    Fire company officials are seeking an agreement with the town,
    which has been unwilling to negotiate.

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    APTV 03-04-04 1110EST
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  6. #6
    Early Adopter
    cozmosis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    1,925

    Default

    I guess this is a crazy east coast thing? I just don't understand departments trying to land independence from the cities that govern them.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Martinsville, NJ
    Posts
    19

    Default

    Its about the ability to get funding for things you need...When the municipality plays the politics of tax money and decides whether the mayor needs a new car rather than upgrade SCBA's; its about the need to control who is in charge of the fire department, a Chief, who knows about fire fighting issues, rather than a town administrator, whose only experience is limited to what he saw on TV thirty years ago....
    It's about respect from the town for the job at hand....and their willingness to work cooperatively...

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    450

    Default Garbage Trucks... Not Fire Trucks

    I'll tell you why. Village boards, towns boards, they all do the same thing in what I have seen and heard. They turn down fire trucks, for garbage trucks and dump trucks. Independence is great. I know most commonly, under a village "rule" persay to spend a dollar you need the villages approval. To buy a lightbulb, fix the pumper, replace a boot it has to go through the village board. It is a lot easier when you get the money, in your account and you sign the check. Makes things just a whole lot easier. Plus it gets the villages nose out of it. It takes people that know nothing about fire fighting out of control, and those that have experience in control. Its that simple.

    But there is one inconsistency that I have noticed, that if anyone can clear up would be great. It appears we have the town of Camillus, and the village of the same. Which does the department belong to? Why are they negotiating with the town? Or why not the village? See I know it makes a diff, cause we belong to the town, so we dont give a crap what the village thinks and when they think it. All they are, is a contract we have to serve every year. Just something I would like to know, help me inform myself a little better.
    Firefighter/EMT Mitch Cowen
    Hose Co. 1 1st Lieutenant
    Randolph Fire Co. Inc

  9. #9
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 1998
    Posts
    630

    Default

    I lived in the Rome/Utica NY area for several years. As I recall the difference between a town and a village is as follows;

    The village is the actual "city" as you would think of it. The town is what most of us would consider a township or unincorporated area outside the city limits. It took some getting used to as you would see a sign along the road saying "Town of ____" and drive another ten miles before you found the city limits with another sign saying "Village of_______". I believe that there were separate governing boards but some may have been managed by one board.

    Hope this clears thing up a bit.

    Stay Safe IACOJ

  10. #10
    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

    Angry Time For A MAJOR Change in NY State........

    and, I might add, anywhere else that engages in this %$#@#$%& We might not be anywhere near perfect, but if I can believe half of what I read, here and in the newspaper links posted here, Maryland is light years ahead of New York, in terms of how VFDs are treated by Government. We simply do not allow local government to have any sort of control over Fire/Rescue/EMS services. The only government level that has anything to do with emergency services is the County. Most VFDs, statewide, own their Land, Buildings, and Apparatus. Financing is a combination of County Government support and Volunteer Fund Raising There are a few counties where the County is rather bossy, but most leave our business to us. What we DO NOT have is the neighborhood squabbles like Camillus. No one here has to ask permission to take the Pumper over to the next town for something, it's our Pumper and we'll take it where we damn well please. I've spent a VERY short time in Onandaga (hope I spelled it right) County, I did get to meet a few Firefighters, and they seemed to have a lot going for them, but if they had the same system we do, I think they would be a lot happier.
    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

  11. #11
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    West Central Michigan
    Posts
    62

    Default

    hwoods,

    Marylands approach sounds interesting. Here in Michigan we are still controled by our little township boards. It can lead to a lot of problems. If you have a good board, good things can happen. That usually isn't the case though.

    Just curious, how do the VFD's determine their response area?

    Sorry, don't mean to be a thread hijacker......

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Dalmatian90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Posts
    3,120

    Default

    Kinda funny you don't see many incorporated Highway or Police Departments?

    Yes, I come from an incorporated organization. So is the Library in town -- in my area (Connecticut) it wasn't unusual for organizations to start services now considered a "municipal" function.

    That model is/was also very often seen in NY, NJ, RI, NY, MD, PA, and a bunch of the rest of the Northeast.

    Analagous maybe to hiring a contractor to provide a "government service" -- say hiring a construction company to plow & maintain local roads? Maybe.

    Oh well, maybe it's hijacking or not relevant, but here's my editorial:

    One, local services should be provided by a single local taxing entity. It's ridiculous to see overlays of County, Town(ship), Villages, and Districts -- makes it confusing for the public to see a "bottom line." Yeah, it's nice for the Fire Departments that pack a fire district meeting to pass their budget, but it's not good local tax policy.

    Second, local politicians set policies and approve budgets. I don't believe in "line item" budgets, once a Department head gets the budget, he should have broad discretion to approve expenditures keeping to the bottom line and subject to the oversight of frequent (monthly/quarterly) reports back to the political board. Same way, within a voter-approved budget the political board should be able to adjust between funds as necessary.

    Third, fire protection especially in small communities is one of the major budget items, and the taxing entity that provides most of the funds should control the assests they pay for -- that means title to apparatus, having deeds to real estate. Doesn't mean an independent company can't have a say -- if you contribute money towards apparatus, make sure you have joint title.

    If you have problems with petty politics, it's a petty politics issue to fix.

    Being a Chief in an independent company is one of the most difficult jobs you can have -- you're elected and report to the same people you're supposed to lead. It's a circular relationship that can be difficult to manage well over time except for exceptional people. A properly functioning political board that sets broad policy and appoints the Chief can help keep good order easier.

    I don't know enough to comment on the Camilus situation, but I can say fire companies usually lose when they clash with the people who pay their bills. If you think you should be an independent contractor, well the corollary is the political body that taxes to fund you is free to contract with anyone they wish, and that might not be you.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
    20/50

  13. #13
    Sr. Information Officer
    NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    CAMILLUS, N.Y. (AP) - A village board locked in a leadership
    dispute with its volunteer firefighters has voted to disband the
    fire department and start a new one.
    The Camillus Village Board also agreed at a meeting Sunday night
    to take ownership of the fire hall.
    In response, firefighters threatened a lawsuit seeking $1.5
    million to $2 million.
    "It is our position that they've breached the contract by not
    permitting us to provide fire service. We never walked away,"
    attorney Brad Pinsky, who represents the volunteer firemen, told
    The Post-Standard of Syracuse.
    Members of the 97-year-old volunteer fire department announced
    last week they were "seceding" from the village and would no
    longer recognize the village's authority. The village then locked
    the firefighters out of their station, changed the locks and said
    they could return to service only if they agreed to remain under
    village control.
    The lockout culminated more than a year of the department's
    efforts to break free of village control and the village board's
    fighting the effort.
    Firefighters went to court Friday for an emergency court order
    allowing them to return to the fire hall and resume their jobs. But
    state Supreme Court Justice Edward Carni denied the request, saying
    the dispute was a leadership issue between the fire department and
    village board.
    Because the village arranged fire protection from surrounding
    municipalities, there was no reason to intervene immediately, Carni
    said. He scheduled another hearing for April 8.
    "In my opinion, legally they're done as a fire department,"
    said Village Special Counsel James Hughes.
    Hughes said the village has recognized six new firefighters and
    ordered them to proceed with forming a new department and electing
    officers.

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber
    ChiefReason's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Illinois-where pertnear is close enough!
    Posts
    5,636

    Default

    Dal:
    Very astute observations.
    Somehow, I don't think that this was the result that the fire department was looking for. I wonder how much tact and diplomacy was used to try and get the issues that separated the village and its fire department resolved. The fire department is screaming "foul", even though they fired the first shot. When they indicated that they intended to "secede" from village control, what did they expect? The village has every right to protect the tax-supported assets of their community.
    I think with the right leadership on both sides, this could have been resolved without all of this nastiness.
    Now, I have a couple of concerns. First is; if Camillus had mutual aid agreements, then the surrounding departments would normally assist when asked. Since the Camillus Fire Department no longer exists, then the mutual aid agreements would no longer exist. So; are surrounding departments charging a fee to cover Camillus or are the residents of Camillus getting free fire protection from the surrounding departments?
    My other concern is one of insurance. If I was an insurer of the homeowners in Camillus, I would be concerned about the turmoil and whether or not fire protection needs will continue to be met. And in the end, will it cost Camillus more or less?
    I just don't think that this was well thought out by the fire department. I think they were looking for overwhelming public support and didn't get it. I think that the fire department leadership showed poor judgment in gauging the response from the village council. I think that the firefighters in general didn't sell the issues to the general public in a way to gain public suppport. It could have been done without appearing as threatening. And everyone would have been happy.
    CR
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

  15. #15
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    450

    Default

    I sure am glad that we have a pretty good working relationship with out village. They stay pretty much out of our business, and let us do as we wish. This really makes me wonder, and I am hoping that someone can help me out in a bit. When it comes down to the all the legalities about it.... what does the name: Randolph Fire Company, Inc. mean? Thats our legal name and now I really wonder what does it mean? I know we are independent to a point, we own one of our own halls, which the village cannot control, and we own 3 of our trucks, which the village cannot control either. All im looking for is an explanation of who my department is, and if we may be heading towards this kind of disaster.
    Firefighter/EMT Mitch Cowen
    Hose Co. 1 1st Lieutenant
    Randolph Fire Co. Inc

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,686

    Default

    and if we may be heading towards this kind of disaster.
    Not if you continue to work with your village. Don't make them outsiders, don't make them the "enemy", make them feel like part of the organization, give them respect. Don't get an "Us vs Them" attitude, keep a "We all" attitude. A good relationship will go a lot farther than what Camillus is going through.
    "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?

  17. #17
    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

    Default

    Originally posted by mtfd102
    hwoods,

    Marylands approach sounds interesting. Here in Michigan we are still controled by our little township boards. It can lead to a lot of problems. If you have a good board, good things can happen. That usually isn't the case though.

    Just curious, how do the VFD's determine their response area?

    Sorry, don't mean to be a thread hijacker......
    We think that, minor squabbles aside, that what we have, works. One of the BIG problems with very local control is the disputes arise quicker, grow faster, and often become personal, because the differing factions see each other every day. Here, I'm not going to run into the guy that messed with my budget, while I'm at the post office or general store. In small town America, that's an everyday occurance.

    To answer another question, we have no political boundaries affecting Fire/Rescue services. You get the closest station. Period. Or, to put it another way, you get the closest available apparatus that is suited to the job at hand.

    Seems to be some interest, so I'll start another thread on this topic.
    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

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Dalmatian90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Posts
    3,120

    Default

    All im looking for is an explanation of who my department is, and if we may be heading towards this kind of disaster.

    Bones' on the right track with gotta keep up good relations.

    I would consider my fire company above average in it's management, savings, and fund raising ability. We also have an ambulance that can pay half the utilities, heat, and bunch of other expenses. We also at a minimum share the title and deed to our 6 pieces of apparatus & 2 ambulances & 2 stations.

    That said, we could only operate at our current level for one or two years if the Town yanked their funding, and we'd see a steady degradation in the quantity & quality of equipment we have; you'd see corners cut in annual equipment testing; and we'd be hard pressed to fund any training above a minimum of FF-I.

    I suppose even we managed to squeak by on our fundraisers for a decade or so, when it came time to replace apparatus we simply wouldn't have the funds -- period.

    I just can't think of what departments that don't have substantial financial independence and don't have title & deeds are thinking when they get into a ****ing contest -- the people who control the purse hold way too many of the best cards, and their elected term in office will probably be longer than your bank account.
    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 03-09-2004 at 03:44 PM.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
    20/50

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 1998
    Posts
    630

    Default

    rfcmitch,

    In answer to your question on being Inc., it probably has to do with your non-profit, tax exempt status.


    There are requirements that have to be met for the IRS and probably your state for your department to be exempt from paying income and other taxes. In addition, tax exempt status allows contributiors to write off donations to your department.

    Most departments that I am familiar with fall under the IRS 501 c (3) section (I think thats right. I'm at work and don't have my reference materials) as a non-profit corporation.

    Check with your treasurer. He/she should know what section you fall under and what the advantages of being incorporated are.

    Stay Safe
    IACOJ

  20. #20
    Forum Member
    tripperff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Homer, NY
    Posts
    130

    Default a few things to chew on...

    I agree with hwoods that there is a lot of merit to the system used in his county, but for us the $$$$ to go to a system like that just isn't there and probably won't be for a long, long time, I'll try and explain.

    First off, and I admit it's hard for me to be objective on this subject, but to look at the actions of our County's Government toward the Fire Service over the last 10 years or so, they want as little as possible to do with the Fire/Rescue/EMS services. Before my county got 911, County Fire Control had 2 Dispatchers. When Fire Dispatch went to the 911 Center, under control of the County Sheriff, we lost a dispatcher. Now, in the 911 Center there is 1 Sheriff's Dispatcher, 1 Fire Dispatcher and 1 Dispatcher for the PRIVATE EMS provider for a sizable portion of the County (I won't discuss my opinion of that) and that's it. I'm sure some may ask about Call Takers, there aren't any. Would anyone care to venture a guess as to how often we hear the phrase "(insert unit # here) could you repeat your message?...I was on another frequency" or "I was on landline/911 line."

    Another change is that for many, many years the County purchased and mantained the radios for ALL Fire Apparatus in the County. Of course there was no Fire Service input in the purchase process so it was always whatever was cheapest that fit within the antiquated radio system, but at least there was some continuity from truck to truck throughout the County. A couple years ago, the County Legislature, at the urging of one lawmaker, decided to stop purchasing the radios, with no input at all from the Fire Service. Then, this past December, the County Legislature told us they were dropping the maintenance contract for the radios they owned from their budget (which begins January 1). These are just a couple examples of their attitude toward the Fire Service. There are some positives, but nothing that really overcomes these 2 huge minuses. I agree there are better ways to do things, but this is the situation we are stuck with.

    As far as the Camillus problems I'd like to spell out a hypothetical situation that roughly depicts how things work in A LOT of areas. The Village of Anywhere, NY is the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) over the Anywhere Fire Dept. The Village of Anywhere contracts to provide Fire Protection with the Town of Anywhere, Town of Westofhere, Town of Northofhere, and a part of the Town of Southofhere. For this protection Town of Anywhere pays $90,000, Town of Northofhere pays $65,000, Town of Westofhere pays $35,000 and Southofhere pays $25,000 for a total of $215,000 in Contract money paid to the Village of Anywhere for Fire Protection. The amounts are arrived at through negotioations with Town Boards of Fire Commisions based on population, past call volume, assessed valuation etc. and all the amounts are pretty fair to the taxpayers. Now we turn to the Chief of Anywhere F.D. and ask him about his budget. His total budget is $135,000. This includes bond payments for apparatus, insurance, the electric bill and EVERYTHING else to run the AFD for the next year. In otherwords, the Village not only takes funds that are supposed to be for Fire Protection and puts them towards other Village Departments, but they also do not put a penny of Villages taxes collected toward Fire Protection. This is a very common situation and I think it shows why Fire Departments seek independence from their municipalities around here. I've heard a few rumors about how much of the money the Village of Camillus collects for Fire Protection versus how much they give the Fire Department so I don't know if this is true, but the rumor is that Camillus FD only gets about 15-20% of the money collected by the Village for Fire Protection.

    From what I've heard through the grapevine, BOTH sides of this have handled this whole situation very poorly and they both need to pull their collective heads out of their @$$3$.
    Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

    Anything found in my posts is soley my opinion and not representative of any other individual or entity.

    You know that thing inside your helmet? Use it wisely and you'll be just fine.

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