1. #1
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    Question Fire Consultants

    I know that this may be a sore subject for some, but have any departments been required to have an outside consultant come and look at FD Operations? What did it cost? What suggestions did they make? Who are the "friendly" consulting companies (ie the ones that actually realistically look at all factors and make decent suggestions, if there are any) vs. the ones that come in just to show the numbers in order to justify cuts. I've seen online reports for Chicago, Wichita, and KCMO. Were the changes (or suggestions) made worthwhile?

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    Default consultant

    We, Cincinnati FD, are going through this right now. The cost is projected to be $500,000. So far so good, we'll see when the final report comes out. Hopefully some good will come of this, but it seems as though the city is spending big bucks for something they all ready pay their chief to do. I belive the company is Tri Data and have been to some other larger dept.s in the past with good results. Will get more info and post it when I get it.

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    Default Cincy

    Ruffneck...funny you should mention that. We've had a City Councilperson calling for an independent study of our FD, and I, too, wonder why they want to pay that kind of money for something they already pay the Chief to do...politics...you gotta love 'em. There are some folks that want to cut us down, but a homeland security committee (politically appointed) a couple of years ago actually pointed out that we needed more stations and personnel for coverage. The "bad guys" still love to point out that we don't go to that many fires anymore....

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    It is real simple why the Chief does not do the consultation, BECAUSE IT IS AN INSPECTION OF THE WAY HE/SHE DOES THINGS! The whole purpose is to have an outside eye take a look at things, just like when you write a paper you should have someone else proofread it. Now if you want consultants to find real problems and not just go on a tangent, tell them the areas that you want to them to see. I don't know why you would want to pay big bucks for "friendly consultants" to just be yes men. They get the money to find problems, and if qualified to give suggestions on how to solve them, you can then use that info as you see fit. But, DON'T hire a yes man, that is just a waste of your time, and the taxpayers money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Default Friendly Consultants

    Perhaps "friendly" consultants was a bad term...my main question is about consultants that appear to be hired for the sole purpose of getting a department to close stations, ride 3 (or even 2), etc.

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    Default Re: Friendly Consultants

    Originally posted by phyrngn
    Perhaps "friendly" consultants was a bad term...my main question is about consultants that appear to be hired for the sole purpose of getting a department to close stations, ride 3 (or even 2), etc.
    Then they were hired with an agenda in mind already. Can't blaim the consultants if they were hired to look and see if the closing of fire houses is feasable and they show how it can be done. The department needs to work with the city council or who ever chooses the consulting firm to insure that the consultants come in blind to what is proposed and without preconcieved notions of what the ones in charge want the answers to be. Otherwise, again you are hire yes men to someone and are not going to get your time and money's worth.

    Politics is a tough game for both sides.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Default A tale of two consultants..

    In the early 1980's a consulting group ( the Talisman Group)approached the city with an offer... we will analyze your City's operations for "free"... we just want a percentage of the savings realized if you choose to enact the changes we recommend...

    Well, what they did was take a guillotine to the city (no big surprise there ... ) They hired a chief from some cow town in Vermont to analyze our ops. He recommended us to slash our staffing to 8 firefighters per group, close 2 out of our 3 stations and rely extensively on mutual aid.

    The person they hired to analyze the PD said the Police only needed two cruisers on the road at any given time of the day and rely on mutual aid if they needed more help... this for a city of at the time 34K with two major highways and two State roadways running through it!

    They recommended closure of the Public Works Department and contract everything out, disbanding the Marlborough Housing Authority, which oversees elderly housing and sell off the buildings at market price, the schools and the library would have lost their accreditation, etc. etc. It was obvious where their "sympathies" were... their wallets!

    The City saw through their charade, said thank you, and contracted out storm drain cleaning and line painting... two jobs that were being phased out of public works anyway. Talisman got paid peanuts

    The second story...

    The neighboring community of Southborough underwent a study of their fire department (a combination career/paid call FD) which was initiated by the Chairman of the Board of Selectman, who had no love for the SFD whatsoever. They hired a consulting group from Colorado, who came to town, analyzed the demographics of the community, the run totals, response times, etc.

    The Chairman of the Board was looking to cut cut cut the fire department. When the report came out...the consultlant recommended that the Southborough Fire Department add more full time personnel to serve the growing needs and population of the town. The "COB" denounced the study as a "sham" and a "bag job"... until he was reminded who initiated the study and approved the $25K cost of same in the first place. He was not re-elected to the Board of Selectman in the following election
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    Default

    Pretty much my point Gonzo, consultants in the first case came in with an agenda, and they matched it, consultants in the second did not, and they provided an un-biased report. Great examples that you provided.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
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    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Default

    Whether a consultant is viewed as friendly or unfriendly should not be an issue. A consultant should never be hired without a couple of things.

    1. Request for Proposals citing the scope of the work, along with a required interview and presentation.

    2. A check of the references supplied by these companies along with a review of several reports that they have prepared.

    3. An AGREEMENT between the city and the FD as to which consultant will be hired.

    If a consultant comes in looking for a % of the savings, you already know that he is not going to be objective and is going to look to slash as mnuch money as they can. That consultant should NEVER be hired. The same for a consultant that claims to be pro-FD. You want an honest analysis. After all every FD on this planet can do things better.

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    Default

    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    If a consultant comes in looking for a % of the savings, you already know that he is not going to be objective and is going to look to slash as mnuch money as they can. That consultant should NEVER be hired. The same for a consultant that claims to be pro-FD. You want an honest analysis. After all every FD on this planet can do things better.
    It was a freebie for the city...thank God (or the nonexistent deistic being for those who are atheists)that the Mayor and Council at that timeframe had the common sense to see the "game" as it was being played out.
    ‎"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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    Default

    We had a consultant that the city paid to do a feasability study of building a new fire station or update/expand the current station. They paid $10K for the study, which said it's much cheaper to build a new one, then the powers that be didn't want to take the advise....... They finally did, but it wasn't really by choice.......
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    Default

    You get what the mayor or city wants. If they want to cut spending, amazingly the audit will say cut manpower, slash companies and what ever else they want. Our mayor did one last year and got exactly what he was looking for. It was done by Buracker or something like that. We have 6 engines with 3-4 guys, 3 ladders with 2 guys and 4 ambulances with 2 guys. They said we were way over staffed, by at least 44 guys. They were using figures from Chief Dunn from the FDNY that were all wrong. Our union paid Chief Dunn to come and rebut what these people saying. He went around our city of 90,000 people and said we need more firefighters and that these people that were using his figures had no idea what he was talking about. The guy that came was from somewhere in Virginia. Funny thing is it was the same consultant that the city hired to testify against us a few years prior during contract arbitration. The audit wasn't skewed from the start, right.

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    Default

    The last consultant the city did the company said that we needed a new firehouse and increased manning, of course that study suddenly came up missing. The city will only act on a study that says what it wants. If that study said it could cut something the city would have in a heart beat.

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    Originally posted by Squad1LT
    The last consultant the city did the company said that we needed a new firehouse and increased manning, of course that study suddenly came up missing. The city will only act on a study that says what it wants. If that study said it could cut something the city would have in a heart beat.
    You need to get some guys to run for city council then. Or at least campaign against the folks that pull that sort of crap.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
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    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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