1. #1
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    Thumbs down Hillsborough Florida--Union Officials Blow Whistle on each other

    St. Petersburg Times


    Fire union official paid 10 times his hours on job
    The county is reviewing whether the acceptable practice of firefighters' swapping time is being abused by him and several others.


    By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writer
    Published April 30, 2005

    TAMPA - The contract for Hillsborough County firefighters has allowed one of the union's most powerful leaders to get full pay for being on the job just one-tenth of the hours he was scheduled to work during the past 21/2 years.

    Personnel records show longtime firefighter George Sucarichi, who makes $28.35 an hour, was paid for putting in nearly 7,600 hours between Nov. 1, 2002 and Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - yet he only worked about 700 hours.

    On average, that amounts to no more than 10 hours a week.

    His work record apparently does not violate the county's union rules or policies. It is the result of a practice common in fire departments that lets employees swap hours and fill in for one another.

    It is, however, a rather extreme example of the practice, and one reason the county is reviewing the system as it negotiates a new union contract.

    Firefighters are paid to work 24 hours on, then have 48 hours off, with an additional day of rest every three weeks, according to human resources officers.

    Sucarichi got other firefighters to work 3,588 of his scheduled hours over that 21/2-year period, records show. This was done through a longstanding provision spelled out in the union contract that lets firefighters exchange time.

    A firefighter can work someone else's shift with the understanding that the one taking the time off will return the favor. The idea is that by letting firefighters fill in for each other when emergencies or personal matters arise, the employees get more flexibility and governments save on overtime pay.

    Sucarichi, the union's political affairs director and former vice president, concedes he uses the work exchange more than most of the other 750 firefighters. But he says there is nothing improper. He is simply using an accepted practice so that he can spend more time on union matters and with his wife and two school-age children.

    "I'm overwhelmed with family events and affairs and obligations," he said. He has side businesses in real estate and telephone solicitations for Fire Department charities, but said he does not use his exchange time to work on them.

    "I missed a lot of my children when they were young because I was so heavily involved with the department and union affairs. Now I am trying to be there as often as I can be," he said.

    Swapping and covering each other's shifts "has been around as long as hoses have been on a fire truck," he said. "It's as common as annual leave, vacation leave, sick leave. ... This doesn't affect the department. The shifts are covered, the employer doesn't have to pay overtime."

    Still, Hillsborough County officials are considering whether Sucarichi and a handful of other Fire Department employees have used the time exchange practice to excess, abusing the policy. The County Attorney's Office and human resources department also are examining whether it is appropriate for firefighters to pay each other for filling in on their shifts, as is said to be the case with some firefighters.

    That practice could raise issues with the Internal Revenue Service and with the Florida Retirement System, County Administrator Pat Bean said earlier this week. Beyond that, she said, "When we hire someone, we expect them to be here."

    Hillsborough firefighters' contract language gives them the right to use the time exchange for up to 120 hours a month - more if approved by the fire chief or his designee.

    But firefighter Karl Schmitt, president of the union until his recent suspension, said the exchange provision is not being used as it was intended.

    "There is clearly abuse of the system," Schmitt said. "You've got a case of firefighters, many of them with side businesses that generate money, who are staying on the job just to get health benefits, to accrue sick and vacation time and pensions. And the intent of exchange of time is to exchange time - not money."

    Schmitt stressed that he is speaking as a firefighter and not a union leader. He would not go into the reason for his suspension after four years as president of the local union, saying the matter "is heading to litigation."

    Fire Chief William Nesmith told the Times this week the allegations about the exchange of time abuses came to light amid a "rift in the union leadership."

    Sucarichi would not name names, but he said "revenge" was the motive of whoever made "the anonymous call" to Fire Department officials.

    "You are all being dragged into a union battle," Sucarichi said. "Call it exacting a vendetta, call it whatever you like."

    Nesmith, however, said if abuses are documented during contract negotiations, it could spoil the time exchange system for those using it as it was intended.

    A review of Sucarichi's work schedule dating back to November 2002 shows that in several instances he cited union matters as his reason for using the exchange of time hours. He also used more than 1,200 hours of "professional leave" time - vacation hours that are banked by union members each year so that firefighters can tend to union matters.

    In a majority of cases, firefighter Jose Prado worked Sucarichi's shift, the records show.

    The records don't make it clear how many of those hours Sucarichi worked in return, or whether he paid co-workers to cover the shifts. As of Friday, human resource officer Capt. Judith Crumbley was unable to supply that figure.

    Sucarichi said he couldn't recall how much he had worked in exchange, or how many of his regularly scheduled hours he works in a given month.

    He emphasized that firefighters are not required to work hour-for-hour in return for the swap. He also said federal fair labor standards don't require that all the hours be exchanged evenly, and don't forbid the exchange of time for pay.

    "You could work for me, and I could promise to mow your lawn for a month," he said.

    Sucarichi said last year, a department member's daughter was diagnosed with leukemia and had to go out of state for her treatments. Firefighters worked 12-hour shifts for two months to cover his hours.

    "When he comes back, does he owe anybody any time?" Sucarichi said. "No. Because the law says employees can do this. If there was something terrible about this exchange of time practice, why would fire departments all over do it? This is all a lot of hoopla."

    Times staff writer Bill Varian contributed to this report. Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at 813 226-3373 or svansickler@sptimes.com

    [Last modified April 30, 2005, 00:50:14]
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  2. #2
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    Tampa Tribune

    Firefighters' Perk Scrutinized As Abuses Alleged
    By KEITH MORELLI The Tampa Tribune and STEVE ANDREWS News Channel 8
    Published: May 6, 2005



    TAMPA - One Hillsborough County Fire Rescue captain has not worked since October and put in only 108 hours all of last year.
    Another firefighter lightened his workload so much he was able to move out of state - but remain on the agency's payroll.

    Both men continued to earn retirement benefits, sick leave and vacation time, while seldom showing up for work.

    Now, the long-standing policy of allowing firefighters to trade their shifts - a perk considered a ``sacred cow'' in the profession that permitted these two situations - is under fire and being scrutinized by county officials.

    County and fire rescue administrators say they have spotted abuse of the exchange- of-time policy and vow changes. But any modifications of the 25-year-old program could become a sticking point in ongoing labor union contract negotiations.

    The exchange-of-time program began in 1980, said Hillsborough Fire Rescue Chief Bill Nesmith, and is a benefit for firefighters who work 24-hour shifts followed by 48 hours off the job.

    Occasionally, those shifts land on days that firefighters need off, such as for a weekend family outing or a day they are in class. On those occasions, firefighters get colleagues to fill in, with the promise of exchanging the time down the road. Basically, they trade shifts.

    The benefit is that the county does not have to pay overtime and still has a full complement of firefighters working that shift.

    ``It's an outstanding program,'' Nesmith said this week. ``It's a way for firefighters to attend school, to get somebody to work for them so they can attend family functions.'' Firefighters across the nation have similar programs, he said.

    But recent abuses have surfaced, resulting in an investigation of a handful of firefighters. Nesmith wants more restrictions in place - changes he will need union approval for, before they are implemented.

    ``It is very apparent,'' he said, ``that this is going to be a sticking point. There need to be modifications. We are not saying [the policy] will go away. We're saying it's a privilege that fire rescue gives to employees, but it needs some changes.''


    Hour For Hour

    ``The intent of the contract language is to allow for a shift exchange,'' said John Wever, Hillsborough County's chief labor negotiator. ``In other words, one firefighter working on a particular shift and then a swap of that working time at a later date.

    ``My understanding is that the intent was always an exchange of time, and that's why it's called a shift-exchange article,'' Wever said.

    The practice of trading shifts is common and widespread, officials said, and, when used appropriately, is a benefit for management and the firefighters.

    ``We got a fellow we just finished working for him for two months because his 18-year- old daughter passed away in a traffic accident,'' said Kelly Hallman, a member of the firefighters union executive committee. ``With our exchange- of-time policy, I arrange for somebody of like certification to fill [the] spot, and there's no hiccup in the manpower.''

    The policy allows firefighters to exchange up to 120 hours a month, Nesmith said.

    ``It's `You work for me, and I work for you,' '' the chief said. ``But some firefighters have taken it to another level.''

    There have been cases in which firefighters have paid other firefighters to work for them and in which the 120- hour limit has been exceeded, he said.

    That raises troubling questions about retirement benefits, taxes and workers' compensation, Nesmith said, not to mention the building up of vacation and sick time. Since the program began 25 years ago, few have been disciplined for abusing it, he said.

    But recently, ``It has been brought to our attention there is some abuse,'' Nesmith said. ``Some individuals make good situations turn bad. And therein lies the problem.

    ``I would say we have less than 2 percent of our 750 people abusing the program,'' he said. ``We are reviewing those individuals, and if discipline is warranted, we are going to administer the proper discipline.''

    Punishment can range from a reprimand to termination, he said.

    One firefighter under investigation is Capt. George Sucarichi.


    Poor Attendance

    Over the past 2 1/2 years, Sucarichi was out more often than he went to work, records show. In fact, he has not been to work since Oct. 2, having gotten other firefighters to take his place.

    ``It has not been brought to my attention that it is an abuse,'' Sucarichi said. ``I do use exchange of times extensively.''

    Fire rescue payroll records show that Sucarichi worked two 24-hour shifts in 2004 and totaled 108 hours as a firefighter. Sucarichi said he compensated others to work for him a total of 1,433 hours last year, but he would not say how much he paid or what services he may have provided.

    Since Jan. 1, 2003, Sucarichi has worked only 471 hours as a firefighter, records show, and other firefighters worked 3,422 hours for him. His absenteeism was a running joke among fellow firefighters.

    In that 28-month period, Sucarichi exceeded the 120- hour per month limit 14 times, records show.

    And he is not alone.

    Driver-engineer Joseph Pipitone exceeded the 120-hour limit seven times in 2004.

    Pipitone lightened his workload so much, fire rescue officials confirmed he moved out of state in 2003, while keeping his Hillsborough Fire Rescue job. He informed the department he was moving back to Tampa in August 2004.

    Pipitone could not be reached for comment.

    Nesmith said he has tried in recent contract negotiations to get the hours reduced to 48 a month, but the union has refused to yield.

    ``For the union,'' he said, ``this is a sacred cow.''

    The majority of firefighters don't abuse the policy, he said, and it has improved the fire service.

    ``When I first started, I got my college degree because I was able to exchange time,'' Nesmith said. ``In the purest sense, it can be very positive. But, when people take it to a different level, it becomes negative.''

    Assistant County Administrator Wally Hill said senior management at the fire rescue service is going over the records to see who has not exchanged time and how widespread the abuse is.

    The county has sent out a reminder to fire rescue employees of what the policy states, he said, adding that the issue likely will surface in union contract negotiations.

    ``This will be one we will be debating for some time,'' Hill said.


    Reporter Keith Morelli can be reached at (813) 865-1504. Reporter Steve Andrews can be reached at (813) 221-5779.


    Keyword: Multimedia, to view News Channel 8 reports on the exchange of time by firefighters.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Default Update

    St. Petersburg Times

    Eight feel heat for swapping fire shifts
    An inquiry into what officials say was an abuse of policy comes in the midst of contract talks between the firefighters union and the county.
    By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writer
    Published May 18, 2005

    -----------------------
    TAMPA - Eight Hillsborough firefighters abused a longstanding policy that allows them to fill in for each other by swapping shifts, netting themselves pay and benefits for thousands of hours they never worked, county officials have concluded.

    One of those firefighters - a powerful union leader in the midst of contract negotiations with the county - was paid for putting in almost 7,600 hours since 2002, though he worked only about 700, or an average of no more than 10 hours a week.

    None of the firefighters has been disciplined, though department officials say they want to change the rules on how the policy is used.

    The eight firefighters used a practice common to fire departments nationwide known as "exchange of time."

    Aimed at keeping firefighters' schedules flexible because they're required to work 24-hour shifts, the time exchange policy is supposed to work like this: One firefighter works another's shift with the agreement that the favor will be returned.

    Hillsborough firefighters' contract allows them to use the time exchange for as many as 120 hours a month - more only if approved by the fire chief or his designee.

    But personnel chief Newell Branam said it "appears that was not done" with the eight firefighters, some of whom went over the 120-hour monthly limit more than six times in a year.

    "We're trying to clean that up so this doesn't happen again," Branam said.

    Yet fire union leaders so far have rejected proposals to prevent future abuses, Fire Chief William Nesmith said.

    Among the fixes suggested by the fire department: Reducing the maximum hours exchanged each month from 120 to 48 hours, and requiring firefighters swap their respective shifts within 60 days. Nesmith also wants to forbid firefighters from paying co-workers to cover their shifts, which he said has happened in some cases.

    "This would resolve a lot of the issues we have come upon," Nesmith said. "However, the union has rejected that at this time."


    * * *

    One of the union leaders considering Nesmith's proposals is George Sucarichi, identified by county officials as the worst abuser of the time exchange.

    Sucarichi, who makes $28.35 an hour as a fire captain, was paid for putting in nearly 7,600 hours between Nov. 1, 2002, and April 27, 2005 - yet he actually worked about 700 hours.

    He exceeded the 120-hour monthly limit for having other firefighters cover his shifts eight times in 2003, five times in 2004 and once this year.

    Records show Sucarichi got other firefighters to work 3,588 of his scheduled hours, yet never worked any of those hours in return.

    He also used more than 1,200 hours of "professional leave" time - vacation hours banked by union members each year so firefighters can tend to union matters.

    Sucarichi said as political affairs director for the union, he spends lots of time in Tallahassee and in union-related meetings. Sucarichi also has a telephone solicitation business and deals in real estate, but said he doesn't use the time off from scheduled work hours for his side businesses.

    Other top offenders include a firefighter who has used 2,747 exchange of time hours since January 2003, and a fire captain who has used nearly 2,500 hours. Neither has worked the time exchange hours in return, personnel records show.

    Earlier this month, Sucarichi said he and others just made the most of what the time exchange provision allowed. This week, when it was pointed out that he consistently went over the 120-hour monthly limit, he faulted Fire Department leaders for not doing a better job of monitoring how many exchange hours were used.

    "They can characterize it as abuse, but the fact of the matter is, they got lax in enforcing the 120" hours, he said.


    * * *

    Firefighters work for 24 hours straight, then are off for 48 hours. The schedule allows them to have second and third jobs, often in areas including real estate and construction. But it also means they sometimes miss out on wedding anniversaries or children's soccer games when those fall on their 24-hour shifts.

    The time exchange is meant to provide them with scheduling leeway while saving Hillsborough taxpayers money. By letting firefighters fill in for each other when emergencies or personal matters arise, governments don't have to shell out overtime pay.

    "Most of our employees use the system the way it is meant to be used," Nesmith said.

    He said the time exchange is not supposed to be a system in which a select few get out of working dozens of shifts while getting full benefits and while co-workers take up the slack. And it is not intended to be a system in which firefighters pay co-workers to cover their shifts, he said.

    The County Attorney's Office and human resources department are working with the Internal Revenue Service and the Florida Retirement System to determine whether the abuses raise issues with the firefighters' pensions and benefits, which are based on hours worked.

    Sucarichi called Nesmith's proposed changes to the time exchange "somewhat ludicrous."

    He said the proposal doesn't take into account tragic circumstances like a family death or serious illness.

    "What they have proposed is a harsh reduction of the rights of our members," he said.

    But Nesmith said genuine cases of need will always be handled with compassion.

    The ongoing inquiry into time exchange abuses found four employees in the past 21/2 years faced such emergencies.

    Nesmith's assistant chief approved their requests to go over the 120-hour monthly limit.

    "Those are not being questioned as part of this investigation," Nesmith said. "They were tragic situations. In one case, a husband died."

    The disagreement over the time exchange promises to be a major hurdle in ongoing contract negotiations. The union and county began meeting in March, and have so far agreed to 22 of 45 articles in the contract, Sucarichi said. Among the items unresolved are those dealing with wages, incentives and benefits. The two-year contract expires Sept 30.

    So what will it take to reach a contract agreement?

    "Level heads," Sucarichi said. "If we can stay away from knee-jerk reactions, we'll be fine."

    Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at 813 226-3373 or svansickler@sptimes.com
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Its people like this that will screw it up for everyone
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

    IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

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    RUSH-Tom Sawyer

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    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

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    This however is a negotiated benefit. If the City doesn't like it, then deal with it in the appropriate place........over the negotiating table. And from the sounds of it.....it's going to cost them
    IACOJ

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    St. Petersburg Times

    Deeper look into fire unit's woes due
    Commissioners order a full examination of the county department, stung by revelations of office porn, sexual harassment and work rules abuse.
    By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writer
    Published May 19, 2005

    --------------------------


    TAMPA - The county fire department's woes started leaking into public view last summer, and they just kept coming.

    Pornography on office computers and complaints of sexual harassment. Allegations of work schedule abuses by a select few, and office affairs between married employees.

    Wednesday, County Commissioner Ronda Storms convinced five fellow commissioners that it is time to stop the department's "death by a thousand cuts."

    The commission voted 6-1, with Ken Hagan dissenting, to have County Administrator Pat Bean and County Attorney Renee Lee examine problems plaguing Hillsborough Fire Rescue and its management. They are to come back to the commission with a recommendation for fixing those problems. No time frame was set.

    "You need to get your staff under control," Storms told Bean. "Fix it before it implodes irreparably."

    Stressing that the "rank and file does an outstanding job," Storms nonetheless suggested the county administrator set up a hotline or schedule visits with employees so that they can disclose what they know.

    "I don't want to find out this stuff by reporters," Storms said.

    The department's first major scandal broke last summer, when then-county fire Marshal Donald Goff abruptly retired amid an FBI inquiry into his Internet activities involving child pornography.

    Goff pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal charges of possessing child porn and transferring obscene materials to a minor. He is serving a 37-month sentence at a federal prison in Texas.

    According to a 2002 department memo, Goff had pornographic Web links on his computer at work and visited personal ad sites during work hours.

    Fire Chief William Nesmith hired former Clearwater fire Marshal Randy Hinder to replace Goff. But in March, Nesmith fired Hinder, who had been accused of sexually harassing two Fire Rescue employees. Nesmith said Hinder "promoted mistrust and suspicious feelings among his employees."

    Last month, the longtime chief of the Seffner-Mango volunteer fire station quit after county fire officials discovered that he posted pictures of himself nude and in uniform on an adult Internet dating site.

    Bradley Price, 48, also was accused of sexually harassing a subordinate female firefighter whom he showered with gifts including stuffed Tigger dolls. He maintains he did nothing wrong.

    Hagan, Wednesday's lone nay vote, called the fire department inquiry "premature" because it could conflict with a reorganization of county departments.

    The inquiry comes as county officials negotiate with the union for its two-year contract, which expires in September.

    Storms said union infighting has exposed some of the things that concern her - including several firefighters' use of a longstanding contract provision that lets them swap work shifts.

    The County Attorney's Office is looking into whether a handful of the department's 750 employees abused the longstanding "exchange of time" provision outlined in the union contract.

    Personnel records show eight firefighters used the provision more than the maximum 120 hours per month, working a fraction of their scheduled shifts but getting full pay and benefits.

    One firefighter is thought to live much of the year in North Carolina, and he has gotten other firefighters to cover many of his shifts, Storms said.

    "That is not right," she said.

    Commissioner Tom Scott was flabbergasted to learn firefighters can get out of working as many as 120 hours in a month.

    "One hundred and 20 hours?" Scott said. "And they get paid? What is this?"

    Nesmith wants to reduce the maximum hours exchanged to 48 per month, but union negotiators so far have rejected the proposal.

    One of those negotiators is union political affairs director George Sucarichi, identified by county officials as the worst abuser of the time exchange.

    Sucarichi, who makes $28.35 an hour as a fire captain, was paid for putting in nearly 7,600 hours between Nov. 1, 2002, and April 27, 2005 - but actually worked about 700 hours.

    He has not worked a regular shift at all this year, records show.

    Wednesday, county commissioners asked Nesmith whether he has called Sucarichi in to work. Nesmith said he can't make Sucarichi come in because he has not exceeded this month's 120-hour limit.

    Asked by the Times when he plans to work a regular shift, Sucarichi replied: "We'll see."

    "My schedule at this point, with negotiations going on, is day to day."

    Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at 813 226-3373 or svansickler@sptimes.com

    [Last modified May 19, 2005, 01:00:57]
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Tampa Tribune

    Commissioner Chastises Fire Rescue
    By MARK HOLAN mholan@tampatrib.com
    Published: May 19, 2005



    TAMPA - Alarmed that some members of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue are acting more like heels than heroes, Commissioner Ronda Storms on Wednesday demanded the department get its house in order.
    ``You have a very serious management problem in fire rescue,'' she said. ``Fix it before it implodes irreparably.''

    The 750-member department has been plagued by a number of publicly embarrassing incidents during the past year or so:

    * Former Fire Marshal Don Goff pleaded guilty in federal court to transferring obscene material to a minor and possession of child pornography, and other members of the department viewed adult Internet sites on county computers.

    * Contentious negotiations with the firefighters union have revealed long-standing abuse of the policy allowing firefighters to trade shifts. Capt. George Sucarichi was off duty more than on during the past 2 1/2 years, and driver-engineer Joseph Pipitone moved out of state in 2003 while keeping his job, records show.

    * The affair of married department personnel has boiled over into a firehouse confrontation between a spouse and a girlfriend.

    ``You need to get your staff under control,'' Storms told Chief Bill Nesmith.

    Storms suggested more damaging revelations are ahead, and she said a telephone hot line should be opened to handle employee complaints.

    Nesmith said some of the accusations and rumors about his staff are inaccurate, but he didn't dispute there is trouble in the department.

    He said he would welcome a review and do everything possible to fix the problems. ``A lot of things have seemed to come together at one time,'' he said.

    Commissioners voted 6 to 1 for County Administrator Pat Bean and County Attorney Renee Lee to review the issues and report back with suggestions on how to stop the trouble.

    Commissioner Ken Hagan said it is premature to investigate fire rescue while Bean is considering a countywide reorganization that could place the department under new management.

    Commissioners acknowledged that most members of fire rescue do an excellent job.

    ``This has certainly put our laundry on the line,'' commission Chairman Jim Norman said.


    Reporter Mark Holan can be reached at (813) 259-7691.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Post 8 in the hotseat

    St. Petersburg Times

    Eight feel heat for swapping fire shifts
    An inquiry into what officials say was an abuse of policy comes in the midst of contract talks between the firefighters union and the county.
    By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writer
    Published May 18, 2005

    ---------------------
    TAMPA - Eight Hillsborough firefighters abused a longstanding policy that allows them to fill in for each other by swapping shifts, netting themselves pay and benefits for thousands of hours they never worked, county officials have concluded.

    One of those firefighters - a powerful union leader in the midst of contract negotiations with the county - was paid for putting in almost 7,600 hours since 2002, though he worked only about 700, or an average of no more than 10 hours a week.

    None of the firefighters has been disciplined, though department officials say they want to change the rules on how the policy is used.

    The eight firefighters used a practice common to fire departments nationwide known as "exchange of time."

    Aimed at keeping firefighters' schedules flexible because they're required to work 24-hour shifts, the time exchange policy is supposed to work like this: One firefighter works another's shift with the agreement that the favor will be returned.

    Hillsborough firefighters' contract allows them to use the time exchange for as many as 120 hours a month - more only if approved by the fire chief or his designee.

    But personnel chief Newell Branam said it "appears that was not done" with the eight firefighters, some of whom went over the 120-hour monthly limit more than six times in a year.

    "We're trying to clean that up so this doesn't happen again," Branam said.

    Yet fire union leaders so far have rejected proposals to prevent future abuses, Fire Chief William Nesmith said.

    Among the fixes suggested by the fire department: Reducing the maximum hours exchanged each month from 120 to 48 hours, and requiring firefighters swap their respective shifts within 60 days. Nesmith also wants to forbid firefighters from paying co-workers to cover their shifts, which he said has happened in some cases.

    "This would resolve a lot of the issues we have come upon," Nesmith said. "However, the union has rejected that at this time."


    * * *

    One of the union leaders considering Nesmith's proposals is George Sucarichi, identified by county officials as the worst abuser of the time exchange.

    Sucarichi, who makes $28.35 an hour as a fire captain, was paid for putting in nearly 7,600 hours between Nov. 1, 2002, and April 27, 2005 - yet he actually worked about 700 hours.

    He exceeded the 120-hour monthly limit for having other firefighters cover his shifts eight times in 2003, five times in 2004 and once this year.

    Records show Sucarichi got other firefighters to work 3,588 of his scheduled hours, yet never worked any of those hours in return.

    He also used more than 1,200 hours of "professional leave" time - vacation hours banked by union members each year so firefighters can tend to union matters.

    Sucarichi said as political affairs director for the union, he spends lots of time in Tallahassee and in union-related meetings. Sucarichi also has a telephone solicitation business and deals in real estate, but said he doesn't use the time off from scheduled work hours for his side businesses.

    Other top offenders include a firefighter who has used 2,747 exchange of time hours since January 2003, and a fire captain who has used nearly 2,500 hours. Neither has worked the time exchange hours in return, personnel records show.

    Earlier this month, Sucarichi said he and others just made the most of what the time exchange provision allowed. This week, when it was pointed out that he consistently went over the 120-hour monthly limit, he faulted Fire Department leaders for not doing a better job of monitoring how many exchange hours were used.

    "They can characterize it as abuse, but the fact of the matter is, they got lax in enforcing the 120" hours, he said.


    * * *

    Firefighters work for 24 hours straight, then are off for 48 hours. The schedule allows them to have second and third jobs, often in areas including real estate and construction. But it also means they sometimes miss out on wedding anniversaries or children's soccer games when those fall on their 24-hour shifts.

    The time exchange is meant to provide them with scheduling leeway while saving Hillsborough taxpayers money. By letting firefighters fill in for each other when emergencies or personal matters arise, governments don't have to shell out overtime pay.

    "Most of our employees use the system the way it is meant to be used," Nesmith said.

    He said the time exchange is not supposed to be a system in which a select few get out of working dozens of shifts while getting full benefits and while co-workers take up the slack. And it is not intended to be a system in which firefighters pay co-workers to cover their shifts, he said.

    The County Attorney's Office and human resources department are working with the Internal Revenue Service and the Florida Retirement System to determine whether the abuses raise issues with the firefighters' pensions and benefits, which are based on hours worked.

    Sucarichi called Nesmith's proposed changes to the time exchange "somewhat ludicrous."

    He said the proposal doesn't take into account tragic circumstances like a family death or serious illness.

    "What they have proposed is a harsh reduction of the rights of our members," he said.

    But Nesmith said genuine cases of need will always be handled with compassion.

    The ongoing inquiry into time exchange abuses found four employees in the past 21/2 years faced such emergencies.

    Nesmith's assistant chief approved their requests to go over the 120-hour monthly limit.

    "Those are not being questioned as part of this investigation," Nesmith said. "They were tragic situations. In one case, a husband died."

    The disagreement over the time exchange promises to be a major hurdle in ongoing contract negotiations. The union and county began meeting in March, and have so far agreed to 22 of 45 articles in the contract, Sucarichi said. Among the items unresolved are those dealing with wages, incentives and benefits. The two-year contract expires Sept 30.

    So what will it take to reach a contract agreement?

    "Level heads," Sucarichi said. "If we can stay away from knee-jerk reactions, we'll be fine."

    Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at 813 226-3373 or svansickler@sptimes.com

    [Last modified May 18, 2005, 00:49:11]
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  9. #9
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    Default Commissioner Sees Fire!!!

    Tampa Tribune

    Ronda Storms Breathes Fire During Meeting
    By MARK HOLAN mholan@tampatrib.com
    Published: May 22, 2005



    M ounting scandals inside the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue department had county Commissioner Ronda Storms doing a slow burn on Wednesday.

    Negotiations with the firefighters union recently revealed the abuse of a long-standing benefit that allows firefighters to swap shifts with one another, allowing some firefighters to spend more time off duty than on. It also has exposed marital infidelity among department members, leading to some unseemly firehouse confrontations. A county investigation found that the infidelity occurred after the man no longer was his girlfriend's supervisor. That didn't deter Storms' tirade.

    Here is a partial transcript of Storms' comments from Wednesday's commission meeting, recorded by cable station HTV22.


    `Death By A Thousand Cuts'

    ``Well, I guess in the Asian culture they say you can die two ways - they say it more eloquently than I do. They say you can die two ways, one, by one shot, or a death by a thousand cuts, and what I think is happening to Fire-Rescue is death by a thousand cuts. Let me say at the outset, the rank-and- file people do their job on a daily basis. They're wonderful.

    ``But I think that we have very serious problems in the department as a whole, and I think there are more problems coming down the pike, and it's a little like having the elephant in the living room, and nobody's talking about the elephant in the living room, everybody walking around the elephant in the living room, or just ignoring it, and finally somebody has to do something about it.''

    Storms later addressed Fire Chief William Nesmith: ``I'm looking at your human resources policy, and your human resources policy specifically says that employees are precluded from having ... a personal relationship between the supervisor or management and employee. ... It shall be the responsibility and mandatory obligation of the manager/supervisor and the subordinate employee to promptly disclose the existence of a relationship to the department director. ... Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.


    An Alleged Affair

    ``Let me lay it out for you in case you didn't get it. Here it is. You got a guy who is in charge. He is a supervisor. He is apparently being alleged - by the way, you know who is making the allegation? That would be the husband, who is actually the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue employee, too, who works at the station.

    ``He's alleging that one of his bosses is having an affair with his wife. He objects to that. He doesn't think that should be happening. And here's what he specifically alleges, that when it's time for a call at 2:30 in the morning, that the boss says, let her sleep. You take the call. Or another call comes in and says, let her get a shower. You take the call. I'm going to lunch with her. You take the call. So Sweet Cheeks never has to take any calls because he wants to protect her. That's what the allegations are. Those are substantive. Those are important. That is very serious, because that affects public safety.

    ``So what do they do? They make a complaint, and now what happens? Brass comes down and say: `Hey, you, did y'all see anything? No, didn't see anything, huh? Anybody want to say anything here? Did you see these two having an affair? Anybody? Volunteer, anybody? No? OK.'

    ``So it goes to human resources. Human resources does an investigation. Human resources says: `Well, yeah, they're having a relationship right now. We just can't tell when that started, though, so we're going to say that we can't prove that it happened during the time that husband says.' Now, interject that wife, heartbroken wife, civilian, comes in and has a confrontation and has a fracas in our station. That also is a problem. We don't want irate, heartbroken wives to come into the station.''
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  10. #10
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    St. Petersburg Times

    Tampa uncuffed
    Spurned wife denies she meant harm
    By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writer
    Published May 25, 2005

    ------------------------------

    Laurie Branam, a county firefighter's wife for 28 years, wanted Fire Chief William Nesmith to know: She was angry when she found out her husband's mistress worked as a medic in the station near Branam's home, but she never had intentions of hurting her.

    A fire captain last January told Chief Nesmith that Branam approached him, asking whether medic Christine Montgomery was at an emergency scene near Branam's home. The captain reported that Branam, wife to county fire personnel chief Newell Branam, said she wanted to "bash" Montgomery's face in.

    Nesmith sent Laurie Branam a letter saying it was inappropriate for her to cause "disruption" by intervening with firefighters on duty.

    The Branams are now divorced, and human resources officials never proved whether Newell Branam and Montgomery dated during the time in which he was Montgomery's supervisor.

    But the incident surfaced again earlier this month, when County Commissioner Ronda Storms cited it as an example of the fire department's mounting discipline and management problems.

    Laurie Branam told the Times she wrote back last year to tell Nesmith the captain had misquoted her, and that the incident was exaggerated and mischaracterized.

    But her letter was not included in background information for the human resources investigation. Human resources officials said they have never seen the letter.

    Nesmith said he received Branam's letter Feb. 4, but he isn't sure whether he ever sent it to human resources. He said the letter is in Newell Branam's personnel file.

    Laurie Branam sent a copy of the letter to the Times.

    "I have no intention of hurting your firefighter Montgomery," she wrote. "I do apologize for talking to this captain. This is not something I make a practice of doing. This situation has put me in a state of mind that no one will ever be able to understand unless they have had their heart ripped from their body over and over, day after day."

    Fire officials ultimately transferred Montgomery to a different fire station that doesn't respond to emergencies in Laurie Branam's neighborhood.

    Human resources investigators last year confirmed Newell Branam and Montgomery are dating. But they said they could not prove the relationship began before August 2002, when Branam left his position supervising Montgomery for his current job.

    Montgomery and Chief Branam told county investigators they didn't start dating until September 2003.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  11. #11
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    Tampa Tribune Editorial

    Navarre readies for disasters

    ¸ CERT volunteers will aid area that primarily relies on county resources.

    By KARI C. BARLOW Daily News Staff Writer

    NAVARRE — Eight months after Hurricane Ivan turned Navarre into a chaotic jumble of downed trees and power lines, residents are coming up with new ways to respond to future disasters.

    Plans are under way to form that area’s first Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT.

    Used statewide by counties and cities, the teams are designed to assist existing emergency crews during a disaster.

    “What CERT does is augment first responders when things happen,” said T.J. Doherty, a Navarre resident and coordinator of the local CERT effort. “What we saw during Hurricane Ivan is what happens when the county gets overtaxed.” Doherty, also a member of the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said the teams are especially needed in Navarre, where there is no local government.

    “We rely on the county,” he said. “If the county has trouble getting down here, this is a way the community can get going.” In the days following Hurricane Ivan, CERTs would have been helpful to local fire departments and patrol officers, said Holley-Navarre Fire Chief Les Slocum.

    “Somebody can come and cook for us,” he said. “That’s a big help. Traffic control would have been outstanding. With no power there were no power lights.” Slocum has donated the fire station’s meeting room for CERT training, which is expected to begin in mid-July. CERT volunteers receive seven weeks of training and wear identifiable vests and badges while working an event. “The more volunteers you have, the better,” he said.

    Doherty said he expects to eventually have specialized CERTs that are deployed for specific situations.

    “We’ll have search and rescue teams,” he said. “We’ll have chainsaw teams … to clear the way on heavy thoroughfares.” Doherty said he is looking for anyone 15 and older who is willing to serve the community. “We’re going to need administrative people, people with a logistics background, with a communications background,” he said. “We’ll find a place for whoever comes.”
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  12. #12
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    Yeah, I could spend some more time with my kids too if I only had to work 10 hours a week

    We are allowed shift swaps where I work (we work 12 hour shifts)...the only stipulation is that the swap has to occur within the same pay period (2 weeks). So if you work for me, I'll work for you sometime before the end of the pay period. That way the payroll all balances out.

    This owing people over 3,000 hours in swaps is kinda ridiculous....abuse of the system.

    He's gonna be mighty busy when all those guys start calling in their favors.....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  13. #13
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    Default

    St. Petersburg Times--Hillsborough

    On-job issues engulf fireman
    Records show Capt. George Sucarichi, a union power, has been cited many times in his 27-year career.
    By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writer
    Published June 5, 2005

    -----------------------------
    TAMPA - Longtime fire Capt. George Sucarichi was chided five years ago for exploiting the provision that allows Hillsborough County firefighters to work each others' shifts, yet county officials did not launch an inquiry until three months ago.

    Chief William Nesmith says the time swap misuse by eight county firefighters including Sucarichi - identified as the worst offender - came to light because of various accusations lobbed during a recent rift in the fire union's leadership.

    But personnel records show Nesmith signed off on a 1999 evaluation in which Sucarichi's supervisor noted his frequent absences and urged "a more regular attendance."

    The evaluation is one of several reviews from Sucarichi's 27-year career, during which supervisors lauded his leadership skills and his popularity among peers - but chided him for taking excessive amounts of leave, showing up late for shifts, questioning the orders of his superiors and failing to perform basic duties.

    Today, Sucarichi is a fire captain making more than $70,000 a year and living in a $456,000 Lutz home. A powerful union leader, he recently was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to the board of directors for the state's job training agency.

    This, even though Sucarichi has not reported for his job since October - and worked just 700 hours during the past 21/2 years. Sucarichi uses the time exchange provision and a bank of "professional leave" hours created by union members to get out of his scheduled shifts, Nesmith said.

    Records show that since November 2002 Sucarichi used the time swap provision for more than 3,500 of his 7,000 paid hours - far more than seven other firefighters whose work schedules also are being scrutinized by the county, the Internal Revenue Service and the Florida Retirement System.

    Sucarichi, political affairs director for the union, said he is making the most of the time swap to spend time with his school-age children and deal with union matters.

    The contract says firefighters can take up to 120 time exchange hours a month, or more if their supervisors approve it.

    Sucarichi points out that his battalion chief signed off on time exchange hours exceeding the 120 hours - a fact that Chief Nesmith acknowledges and vows to prevent from now on.

    "Nobody ever discussed with me the issue of exchanges to the point that it was a problem and that it was imperative that I be at work more often," Sucarichi said. "They said they would like me to be at work more often, but that's not the same as an imperative.

    "Listen, they like me here."

    * * *

    Sucarichi joined the fire department in 1978 following a yearlong volunteer stint at a station in northern Hillsborough. He was a month shy of his 21st birthday, a Chamberlain High graduate.

    After Sucarichi's first six months on the $10,250-a-year job, his supervisor gave him a brief but respectable evaluation: "Employee has good attitude. Works well with others." Sucarichi was given a score of 79.5 out of 100, defined as an "adequate performance."

    Over the next few years reviews were mixed - a pattern that would continue for 20-plus years.

    Sucarichi's use of sick time in 1979 was deemed "less than desirable." In 1981, he was described as a "better than average firefighter," a "real asset to the morale of the department."

    Sucarichi was promoted to driver-engineer in August of that year and put on a standard six-month probation period.

    Battalion Chief Kenneth C. Henry wrote in February 1982 that Sucarichi "requires almost constant supervision. Since his promotion ... he appears to do no more than is absolutely necessary."

    Henry recommended Sucarichi be kept on probation and denied a merit pay increase.

    Sucarichi improved over the next 30 days, got his salary boost and was removed from probation, according to personnel records.

    Yet by March 1984, Sucarichi was showing up late and taking so much sick time - more than twice the average of county employees - that supervisors "counseled" him about the problem, according to personnel records.

    "I was a young guy, single, probably burning the candle at both ends," Sucarichi said last week. "You're asking me to remember something from a long time ago."

    In August 1984, he received a written reprimand for failing to wear a proper uniform and for exhibiting poor conduct at a fire scene in Brandon.

    Four months later, Capt. John Weinsheimer recommended that Sucarichi be suspended or demoted. Sucarichi wasn't efficient, didn't care properly for equipment, and spent too much time on personal phone calls, according to Weinsheimer.

    "His attitude and actions improve for a short time," Weinsheimer wrote, "but he ultimately returns to his old ways of neglecting his responsibilities."

    It took Sucarichi eight months to get out of a career development program in which he was subject to evaluations every two months.

    By 1987, following a much improved evaluation, Sucarichi was promoted to captain. His evaluations for the next nine years were consistently positive. Supervisors liked his cooperative attitude, his professionalism and his "above-average performance."

    Then came 1996, the first year in which his supervisor documented an improper use of the time exchange provision.

    * * *

    Sucarichi didn't get written approval for another firefighter to work nine of Sucarichi's hours in June 1996, according to the annual evaluation signed by Nesmith. The standby didn't show up on time to work Sucarichi's post.

    "He has assured me that he has taken steps to prevent a recurrence of this," then-battalion Chief Newell Branam wrote.

    Three years later, Branam wrote that Sucarichi "consistently exceeded the maximum hours allowed for exchange of time," resulting in delayed filing of fire reports and "a lack of continuity of leadership on his shift."

    Sucarichi's absences were mentioned again in evaluations for 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004.

    In 2002, Sucarichi missed 60 of his shifts, including 192 unexcused hours of sick and family leave, according to Branam's evaluation, which called Sucarichi a "strong leader" who performed well "on the days that he is present."

    In 2003, battalion Chief Russell Macaluso noted that "Capt. Sucarichi's leadership is sorely missed during his frequent "approved' absences."

    And again in 2004: "Capt. Sucarichi's ability to lead, can-do attitude and experience are missed when he does so many exchanges of time."

    Sucarichi signed the evaluations and said last week he "agreed with the assessment." He faults administrators for continuing to sign off on his swapped hours.

    "If the department was signing off on these hours, how was it an abuse?" he said. "We're not doing anything that we don't have a right to do."

    Chief Nesmith, currently negotiating the new union contract for firefighters, wants to reduce the maximum monthly exchange hours from 120 to 48. So far, union negotiators - Sucarichi is one of them - aren't biting.

    So for now, he said, he is carefully monitoring Sucarichi's schedule and how battalion chiefs handle exchange requests.

    "We're watching it very closely now to make sure firefighters are within the guidelines for the time exchange, and we have readily admitted we have to shore this up from the battalion chiefs standpoint," Nesmith said.

    "I have talked to George, and he knows that if he steps over the line, we will begin the disciplinary process."

    Sucarichi won't be back at work any time soon, though. He said he needs to undergo surgery for a tear in his abdominal wall, "and that might put me out for a few months."

    "I've been told I can't work."

    --Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at 813 226-3373 or svansickler@sptimes.com
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  14. #14
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    What a co-ink-e-dink that this "scandal" emerges in the midst of contract negotiations.I hope these guys can ride out the harassment being heaped on them by an unscrupulous employer and gain a fair contract for their members
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

  15. #15
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    If you read way back to the beginning....you will see that it started because they union brothers began blowing the whistle on each other because of disagreements.

    You have to admit that the numbers surrounding the time that this guy has been off is astonishing? He is a Captain for goodness sakes. How can he run a station or train his people if he is not there. Does he even know who works there???
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  16. #16
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    Firefighters Vote To Remove President Of Their Union
    A Tribune staff report
    Published: Jun 19, 2005




    TAMPA - Hillsborough County firefighters voted Friday to oust Karl Schmitt from the presidency of their union, a job he held from 2001 until he was suspended in April for using the union attorney without the board's permission.
    In two days of balloting, 322 members voted to remove Schmitt, while 50 voted to keep him. There are 670 rank- and-file union members.

    Schmitt took over as president of the union in January 2001, promising to increase the number of paramedics in the mostly firefighter union. That caused some concern among firefighters who felt the best interests of paramedics differ from theirs.

    The angst mounted when Schmitt put up names of paramedics for election to the executive board last year.

    Accusations of elections impropriety were traded, and Schmitt told the union attorney to investigate. The lawyer billed the union $4,112, but the board members refused to pay, saying Schmitt had asked for the investigation without their approval. The union sent the bill to Schmitt.

    Schmitt filed a lawsuit against the union and several board members.

    The board suspended Schmitt on April 2. Two days later, Schmitt showed up at a union meeting and was asked to leave. His laptop computer and cell phone were seized.

    Court hearings continued Thursday as union members cast their ballots.

    Acting President Richard Sawyer said the message after Friday night's voting was clear: ``It means that we can start getting back to the business of this local.''
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  17. #17
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    I'm surprised your foolish enough to buy into this propaganda, or are you really so niave to believe this has nothing to do with contract negotiations
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

  18. #18
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    Question Well............

    I think the big story is that 298 Members didn't care enough to vote.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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  19. #19
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    smoke20286....if you are not in the are you will not know that there has been turmoil in that union leadership for about 3 or 4 years. This commissioner that is stirring the pot is all about "cleaning up" government. The whole thing started when some folks in the union got mad at the president and rolled over on him and others for their extreme absences to their work sites.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  20. #20
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    I dont have to be in the area to recognize this nonsense for what it is. I a gaurantee you as soon as the contract is signed all this will disappear
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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