I am a career firefighter/medic in a small city outside of cincinnati.
We have a large industrial base, much of it being chemical manufactoring. We are all career firefighter/medics and hazmat techs.
Our council has squandered its million dollar reserves on a pool, fruitless property acquisitons, and poor planning. Now guess who will pay the price for their stupidity? Thats right, the fire department. I was wondering if anyone had a link to an article that showed layoffs caused death or property loss. We have tried to reason with our council, and seek IAFF help, but our efforts thus far have been fruitless. I am the last hired first fired, but I worry about the guys I leave behind with an inadequate response to a major incident.
I would appreciate any assistance in this matter.
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11-21-2004, 09:54 AM #1
- Join Date
- Nov 2004
11-21-2004, 12:29 PM #2
You now have your first lesson in the way most small cities operate. The fire service is the first cut whenever there is a budget hole too be filled. Take your case to the public... pepper them with ads, flyers, billboards and any way you can to make your plight known. ...GOOD LUCK!IACOJ Membership 2002
The beatings will continue until the morale improves
11-21-2004, 12:31 PM #3We have tried to reason with our council, and seek IAFF help, but our efforts thus far have been fruitless.
Are you in an IAFF local? If you are, I find it very difficult to believe that they couldn't help you.
More info please!Member IACOJ - Building crust and full of lust...
"It's okay to to scared, just don't be chicken." - Clark
11-21-2004, 03:45 PM #4Are you in an IAFF local? If you are, I find it very difficult to believe that they couldn't help you.
It gets even worse for our brother and sisters across the river. They have just promoted a new chief, and the first thing out of her mouth was how they are going to have to cut positions in '06. Read her bio, I'll let others be the judge of her experiance or lack of it. But it is already proven that she is a lacky for the Mayor and council.
Now back to the original post, if you are a small union, don't expect much from the IAFF. You will need to band together and start your own publicity campaign; find friends in the media, contact the larger companies in the city, and get the public behind you. Your own response times, especially EMS, make a good start. Use 1703 to show what the standard is and how cutting people will effect the safety and ability to do the job. Hard fact are what it's going to take, just basing an argument on emotion will alienate everybody. One of the big arguments cities us when running companies short is that the apperatus still get there. Until these same apperatus start putting fires out on their own, that argument doesn't hold water. Ltmdepas3280 is right on target with his ideas.
Good LuckMy posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
Co-author of the Second Amendment
during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
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11-21-2004, 11:00 PM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2004
Thank you all for your help. The IAFF did provide us with a financial report on our cities monetary status, but it was of little assistance.
I don't expect the IAFF to come campaign for us, but a strategy guide would be nice. We canvased our city delivering over 2,000 fliers by hand. These fliers outlined the dangers of reduced staffing especially lack of paramedics. We recieved mixed responses from the citizens. Some were shocked and angered at the city, while some accused us of using scare tactics. We normally staff 9 per shift, but since the city eliminated all overtime we have run as low as two when a medic unit makes a transport. Recently we responded to a small fire at a daycare center with only 2 guys. Luckily it was only a small fire, but you can imagine if it had developed into a large one with mutiple entrapments. It is sad that a terrible event like this might happen before the city administration places our lives and the lives of its citizens before free water aerobics and curbside garbage carry out. All I want the city to do is ask the citizens what they want. If they reject a levy I will able live with the results. It is sad to say but the largest challenge me and my peers have faced is convincing the "old" guys that this is not an empty threat and to mobilize to protect the department. I am sure everyone in this forum feels like they have found their calling in life, and knows the satisfaction of going to a job they love. I would stand in a picket line for any firefighter who is going to lose his job, regardless of local affilliation. Untill your neck is in the noose and you stay up late night wondering if you will make the mortgage, or be able to buy your little girl christmas presents, you never really appreciate what you have. For those of you who are not threatened by layoffs, please support those that are, even if they are total strangers. Just an offer of help from a brother union, or some advice from those that have been there would make a world of difference. Our city has never had to worry about money and layoffs have never been an issue here.
Thank you to all who responded your advice was appreciated,
"still hopefully employed" cincyfire34
11-22-2004, 12:04 AM #6
My city's about 100 miles east of you on Rt. 50, and we just went through the layoff of 5 firefighters. In Ohio, there's not much you can do if the city is bent on following through. Your best option is just what you're doing...letting the public know what's happening. Don't get into melodramatic scenarios of people dying and the city burning down. All that will happen is it gives the city the ability to gloat when/if it doesn't happen. If someone does get hurt, don't do a bunch of "I told you so" stuff. It won't play well to the public. Stick to the facts and no "what if's".
You could petition the public to have an issue placed on the ballot. I'm not sure what the number of signatures you need is, but our guys did it, and had signatures to spare. Now this is where attention to detail gets important. Should you follow this path, a certified copy of the petition MUST be presented for certification. Our guys' petition never made it to the ballot because they submitted the original petition with the remaining petitions, and the city refused to certify the petition. It was argued all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court, and they agreed that because the petition supplied was not a "certified copy", the city could reject all of the petitions. Like I said, pay attention to detail.
Good luck, 'cause you'll need all you can get.Steve Gallagher
"I don't apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes
11-25-2004, 09:24 AM #7
I disagree with the ascertion that the IAFF don't care, or are no help to small locals. A tiny local in Ontario was disbanded some time back by its town council and a volunteer dept organised. The OPPFFA and the IAFF stepped in and helped this local (4 members IIRC) fight this action, both in arbitration and later in court when the town refused to abide by the arbitrations ruling. Now these men have their jobs back AND the town was ordered to double the size of the DeptA'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall
11-27-2004, 05:34 AM #8We normally staff 9 per shift, but since the city eliminated all overtime we have run as low as two when a medic unit makes a transport. Recently we responded to a small fire at a daycare center with only 2 guys.
If the City can only afford 1 paid firefighter per shift and the volunteers are too busy watching NASCAR or LSU TIGER football to run calls then sometimes 1 Firefighter is all we have.
Hopefully your efforts to warn the citizens of the dangers involved if your manpower is cut anymore will pay off.
03-29-2005, 02:52 AM #9
Do you have a copy of the informative letter that you distributed to the public. Unfortunatly our deparment has just gone through layoffs (me being one of them) and we are working on coming up with a flyer to give to the public stating our claim. If anyone else has anything similar or any ideas please email me or post them on the forum. Thank You in advance!
04-07-2005, 01:10 AM #10
04-07-2005, 02:26 PM #11
- Join Date
- Feb 2004
Public relations, public relations, public relations, it's a full time job. Politicians want only to be elected and re-elected. If your citizens want a fully staffed fire department or close to it you'll have it. The politicians spend money wrere it will BUY votes. We lost the public relations battle to Leo long ago, now Leo is losing it to education in many places. You have to sell yourself to the public every day, you can't wait until layoff time.
04-07-2005, 03:05 PM #12
Our current mayor (who is up for re-election this year) was the old finance director for the city. The candidates for mayor are not that great to choose from. The mayor just has some radical ideas for this city. He just purchased 4 million dollars worth of land to create an industrial park. He had to layoff 21 city workers in order to do this though.( 4 Firefighter/Paramedics and 3 Police Officers.)Ironic thing was that all the non-union secretaries in the city all recieved raises the week prior to our layoff notices. He continued bragging that there was already interest in this "new" industrial park. He stated that this prospetive builder was going to create 30 jobs at a warehousing facility. Turns out that the person that was going to build this warehouse, now is not going to because of his employees at his current facility are trying to organize a union. As soon as he heard plans of this he put a halt to this new building.
The chief also has had to restructure our response guidelines. We used to take an engine to all MVA's to provide rescue operation's. It also helped block traffic as we have many highway's and Interstate through our area. Now we only respond with a squad. He has also had to cut back our minimum manning from 7 to 6.
If Governor Taft decides to cut the Local Government Fund the city will lose almost $250,000 out of it's budget which would put the nail in the coffin of ever getting recalled to the fire department. This would also cost a lot more positions.
04-15-2005, 11:16 AM #13
Ltmdepas3280 has given some good advice. Your local should contact the IAFF and get what is called a GIF study. The IAFF will complete a study on the effects of response times and staffing in this report. It will be completed and put on a disk for your union reps. We are going to suffer some layoffs here and we had the study done by the IAFF on disk and will use it when we meet with the council. The report covers more than just response and staffing questions that are important to an overall effective department. In all honesty, it was a great job by the IAFF.
04-26-2005, 06:03 PM #14
- Join Date
- Jul 2003
- Boerne, Texas USA
It would seem that the department is lacking in fisical responsibility, which is not of your doing. What you can control is how fast you get yourself back in-service from calls....easy before everyone starts calling for my head...
What I'm saying is when a call comes in while your at the ER, take your time getting the patient off the cot. Look, deserate times call for desperate measures. When the citizens get upset at your delay, defer them to the chief's office or better yet have a list of council members office numbers, and say "your right, why dont you call and voice your concern".
If your city has truely wasted money, is there a news station that investigates stories like that? We have an NBC affiliate that jumps on public money being wasted, something to look into.
I not saying to drag your feet on every run, you know the ones that you respond to "Code 3", but on the sick for two weeks, take a few extra streets getting there, and spend time with the patient once you made contact, they can't pull you off a call once you made contact, and transport those you would usually get signed refusals on, a busy service proves its value.
Good luck, and and I hope you can live through this council to see better officials elected next time, and try to get involved with the election of those officials, just don't lose your job over it.
Thats a really crappy situation.
04-27-2005, 01:04 AM #15
We just lost one more to attrition and possibly another in December. Our lawyer is working diligently on our suit with the city. They are fighting us tooth and nail over the approach we took fighting them. They stated that we should have filed a grievance instead of filing suit through the civil service commision. Our lawyer saw that latter of the two as being the better route to take.
04-28-2005, 10:22 AM #16
They stated that we should have filed a grievance instead of filing suit through the civil service commision.
- Join Date
- Jul 2003
- Boerne, Texas USA
The city doesn't want you to go to the civil service board because those are voters, and residents that make up the local commission. I'm sure the city does want to keep firefighters losing their jobs as quiet as possible, however it should be shouted from the rooftops. The residents of your city will suffer the most, and should a firefighter die (LODD), God help that city manager, Mayor, Council, and whoever else was involved in that desicion.
I'm not in your shoes, and I hope I never will be, but good luck to you, and we will keep our collective fingers crossed for you all, and please keep us posted.
Would a campaign of letters help any of your situations? Give us an address, and emails, whatever.
04-28-2005, 12:26 PM #17
I just recieved in my hands the other day both the appeal from the city's lawyer on the approach we took and our attorney's opposition. Our attoryney argues some very strong points in his letter. Now we will have to wait (gotta love justice system) to hear from the city again. You would think that it would almost be cheaper to just bring us back then to pay all these high cost lawyer fees. Oh well....
05-14-2005, 03:36 PM #18
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
- Asheville, North Carolina, United States of America
It is unioversal
City Councils and County Boards EVERYWHERE all hate firefighters ... it is a prerequisite to run for a position on any board.
Mountain Fools - western North Carolina - rtf, ptb, ktf, FTM, egh !
05-15-2005, 12:45 AM #19
I thought of running for city council. I wasn't sure if it was a conflict of interest though. Anybody know??
05-23-2005, 07:20 PM #20
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- New Philadelphia, Ohio
Tyler101 I don't think any city employee can run for a partisan seat. Council, Mayor etc. If for instance your trustees in your outlying townships ran w/o a party you could do that. I went to an OAPFF conference where they explained the HATCH Act which I believe basically says that you can't even be very involved in the political process; campaigning putting signs in yards, I think it kind of unconstitutional but look for info on the OAPFF website, cuz I could be way off base
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