Thread: Pittsburgh

  1. #1
    Forum Member
    CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Jun 1999

    Post Pittsburgh

    Things sure look bad for our Brothers and Sisters in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire!! I sure hope that they can get this resolved with losing those houses and members. I know that the City is about to go under.

    Deeper fire cuts proposed for Pittsburgh

    Plan would eliminate 13 stations, 288 jobs

    Saturday, January 15, 2005

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    A consultant to the city's fiscal oversight board says the city should close 13 of its 35 stations citywide, build three new stations and trim 288 firefighter jobs to help save some $20 million annually by 2008.

    The recommendations go beyond the Fire Bureau cuts called for in the Act 47 economic recovery plan, which said the city should close seven stations and cut 163 positions. Most significantly, the savings estimates by Texas-based Erase Enterprises almost double the $11.5 million in yearly savings estimated by the Act 47 team.

    The savings mostly come from personnel changes. The consultants said the city could cut the 288 jobs and still avoid layoffs, mostly by getting older firefighters to retire and by restructuring the firefighter workweek.

    By closing 13 stations, cutting firefighter shifts and increasing their hours, the consultants said the city could reduce the number of firefighters to 531 from the current 819.

    With better management of firefighter schedules, the city also could cut down on overtime, which currently costs a staggering $18,536 per day, or $6.76 million per year, the consultants said. The city not only has too many firefighters, but their management by Fire Bureau brass is "unrealistic" and "inefficient," the report said, leading to more wasted money.

    Kevin Mellott, the president of Erase Enterprises of Plano, Texas, and formerly an assistant Pittsburgh fire chief in the Caliguiri administration, said a restructured fire bureau would still be safe largely because fire calls are down and technology is better. Besides, Pittsburgh is losing population and has a struggling budget, which also demands changes to the bureau's old structure.

    "You need to be realistic about what you're spending on fire protection when you have less people and [are] responding to less calls. That's the real trick," Mellott said.

    The firefighter union's contract is not up until the end of 2005, though it is currently in arbitration over demands from the Act 47 team that it take a 17 percent salary cut this year. Fire Bureau expenses comprise $51.7 million of the city's $417.5 million operating budget.

    The city's oversight board has no power to intercede in contract negotiations -- that is left to the Act 47 team under the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act -- but board members said yesterday that they want the report to be used as a guide in ongoing contract talks.

    "This will provide the blueprint for the future of the Fire Bureau. The arbitrator has to take that into account," board member David O'Loughlin said yesterday.

    The board also could require the city to meet fire bureau spending goals in annual budgets, perhaps using the study to help meet them.

    Mayor Tom Murphy's administration was still reviewing the report yesterday afternoon, spokesman Craig Kwiecinski said, but as contract talks with the fire union continue, "we are interested in including potential savings recommendations from the ICA report in the arbitration process where applicable."

    Fire union President Joe King would not comment on the report.

    The 71-page report calls for:

    * Closing 13 stations citywide and building three new stations, which would be more centrally located and easier to maintain, or retrofit, than existing stations. The new stations would be in Carrick, Brighton Heights and Perry South.

    * Changing shifts. Firefighters currently work four days on, four days off, which requires four shifts of workers to cover. The report urges moving to a 24 hours on, 48 hours off schedule, which would take three shifts. Firefighters would work more hours per week and when they drew close to earning overtime, "floater" firefighters would take over their shifts to keep overtime down.

    * Combining the Fire and Emergency Medical Services bureaus and cross-training firefighters and paramedics. The Murphy administration proposed a similar merger in 2002, but has since moved toward a hospital takeover of paramedic service.

    * Reaching "mutual aid" agreements with suburban fire departments to provide fire services across city borders.

    * Buying about $6.7 million in new equipment and vehicles. Current equipment, much of it 12-20 years old, is in poor condition or broken. "In several cases even the firefighters assigned to specific pieces of apparatus could not tell us where their apparatus was or when it was coming back to their station after being removed for repairs," the report states.

    The oversight board plans to publicly release the report in coming weeks and have Mellott give a presentation on his findings.

    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  2. #2
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    Jul 1999
    Flanders, NJ


    Hang on folks, I found the problem. Is this the M word?

    Kevin Mellott, the president of Erase Enterprises of Plano, Texas, and formerly an assistant Pittsburgh fire chief in the Caliguiri administration, said a restructured fire bureau would still be safe largely because fire calls are down and technology is better. Besides, Pittsburgh is losing population and has a struggling budget, which also demands changes to the bureau's old structure.

  3. #3
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    BCmdepas3280's Avatar
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    Mar 2001

    Default Axe to grind

    It sounds as if this former chief left the job with a little score to settle. .....I love the guy that made a living on a job they hate so much. People like this are the reason the fire service has a problem getting what we need to operate.....we need to get our story striaght Good luck Local 2 your going to need it!
    IACOJ Membership 2002

    Mike IAFF

    The beatings will continue until the morale improves

  4. #4
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    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    Erase Enterprises

    Erasing jobs to fatten their bottom line!
    ‎"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

  5. #5
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....

    Question Same Old, Same Old...............

    Not being from the Pitttsburg area, I will say upfront that I don't know much about what they are up against, from a FD standpoint. However, several things are the same, no matter where you are. Older cities are experiencing a downturn, as people AND jobs leave the City for god knows where. That Pittsburg does not work a "24" in some fashion, is a suprise to me. A 24/72 is the usual practice in this area, with a few variations, but all departments are on a 24 hour day. Pittsburg MAY have some redundant stations, and there MAY be places where 2 stations could be combined, but closing stations on a wholesale basis is questionable. A small mention was made of mutual aid agreements. As a Volunteer Chief, I'll go anywhere, and assist any department, when called. EXCEPT, I will not agree to start running calls IN PLACE OF another department, so that department's management can lay off people to save a buck. I would strongly urge Pittsburg's suburban neighbors, Volunteer or Career, to adopt the same attitude that I have on this. I am also not impressed with the idea that there are fewer Fires now, than back when the city was going strong. If the frequency of runs determined whether or not there would be a Fire Station in a neighborhood, Most of America's Fire Stations would be closed as being unneeded due to low call volume.
    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.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2002


    If memory serves me correct, there were a lot of hard feelings when Mellott was brought in from the outside. Some cuts may be appropriate due to declining population and tax base, but I question the objectivity of a report written by someone with Mellott's baggage. Having a study like this done by someone who may have an axe to grind defeats the purpose of using an outside independent consultant to get an unbiased report.

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