View Poll Results: Do You Support Privatization Of The Fire Service?

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  • YES

    9 15.79%
  • NO

    48 84.21%
  1. #1
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    Exclamation SRQ Airport FF Privatization, Union Gone October 1st...

    ------
    ::: From the Newsbull Weblog of: Matt Bruce
    ::: Read & Respond @: http://www.newsbull.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=36731
    ------

    Matt Bruce
    Managing Editor & Publisher, News Sarasota




    A Newsbull Contributing Columnist




    Union Firefighters Out Oct. 1st...

    SARASOTA, FL., September 20, 2006 (NS)–

    Yesterday I spent about 2 hours at both an IAFF 2546 Protest and Picket as well as speaking at the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority Board Meeting on behalf of the curent Airport Firefighters losing their jobs…

    What I experienced was indeed something I was honored to be a part of. First I saw at least ‘200’ Brother and Sister Suncoast Firefighters and Paramedics holding up signs wearing red IAFF 2546 Protest teeshirts…

    Firefighters from as far away as Miami, West Palm Beach, Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater joined with their Brothers and Sisters protesting the Privatization action being taken by the SRQ International Airport...

    Bob Carver, President of the Florida Professional Firefighters Association was also present to make comments at the Airport Authority meeting. He called on the Governor to have the State Fire Marshal investigate the new company, Rural-Metro, and see to it all Florida qualification laws are being met...

    Then I had the opportunity to speak before the Airport Board Authority rendering my opinion on the Privatization of the SRQ Intl Airport issue…

    I pointed out that over 300 years of Firefighting experience was being lost in this process. That experience will and can never be replaced…

    The counter point made by Mr. Fred Piccolo, SRQ Airport Mgr, was they were getting 125 years of structural firefighting experience and over 175 years of aircraft firefighting experience…

    I also pointed out that the new company, Rural-Metro, had placed a 10 year firefighter as their Training Officer. With myself being a former Fire Safety and Training Officer, I pointed out it was my Fire Department's stand operating procedure to require a minimum of '15' years experience, have the rank of Captain, and then you had to take the 120 hour month long Fire Safety and Training course at the State's Fire Academy. None of which is being required of this Rural-Metro "Training Officer"...

    In light of the Terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, if you’re a Terrorist sitting over in Afghanistan, Iran or Pakistan just watching and waiting, doesn’t the SRQ International Airport now seem like a ‘target’ after October the 1st, 2006???

    Charges and counter charges were hurled at both sides during the open discussion and nothing seems to have been gained by either side…

    It’s obvious from where I was sitting that Mr. Fred Piccolo and the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority had already made up their mind a while ago…

    Is this issue dead yet? I really don’t think so…

    The issue concerning Safety, Security and Training is never over. It is an ongoing event that is addressed each and every day a Firefighter is on duty...

    In speaking with the IAFF 2546 President Mike Stephenson and Business Agent Merve Kennell, it appears there may be a legal avenue about to be pursued…

    There was one Political Candidate present, David Shapiro (D) running for FL State Rep. in the 70th District. He saw things in a slightly different light from what being presented and he came out in support of the IAFF 2546 Firefighters…

    There were several public speakers who were all given 5 minutes, but perhaps the best moment came when Jean McElmurray took the podium after serving many years at the Airport Authority as a Commissioner. She was very strongly in support of keeping the same IAFF 2546 SRQ Airport Firefighters on the job. She even offerred the SRQ Airport Authority what seemed to be a fair way to liquidate some of their rental property, including a $500,000 home not being lived in by the SRQ Airport Mgr. and then use the funds to keep the current Firefighting staff…

    So now the time has come for those who seek new legislation to once again make the Airport Authority Commission an elected position, to start gearing up for the process…

    There will be 3 Airport Commissioners up for reappointment this year in November by FL Gov. Jeb Bush. The IAFF 2546 has asked all residents to call Gov. Bush’s office and ask them not to reappoint these individuals and in fact to start over with new people…

    It’s apparent that there is a problem at the SRQ International Airport which also includes various Businesses paying all the taxes for the buildings they occupy, while the SRQ Airport enjoys many non paying tax priviledges…

    It began to appear to me from what I have heard and was seeing that these people had made their mind up even before the meeting of August the 15th when the vote was taken to accept the Rural-Metro private Firefighting Company bid...

    It was also obvious to me that the SRQ Airport Authority did not have all the facts about Rural-Metro. They were not paying attention to the fines and citations issued in various States against the privat Firefighting company, nor the lawsuit brought against them in 2005 for $1.56 million in incorrent overcharges and billing...

    You've really got to wonder what the real reason is for this move. Could it be Union busting? Only you can be the judge to that...

    There will be '4' IAFF 2546 Airport Firefighters remaining on the job with the new private company, but at a reduced pay rate of some 25% and a lower pension plan and less benefits. It's just a matter of time before the turnover shuffle starts once the Airport Firefighters hired by the private company realize they are worth a lot more in the Public sector...

    One thing does appear certain right now and that is the IAFF 2546 Airport Firefighters are out of a job at Sarasota-Manatee International Airport as of October 1st, 2006...

    Now the time is way past due for the people to stand up and be heard in this issue. To find out how and what you can do to help, call 941-485-5193 or go to: http://www.iaff2546.com

    For Now, That’s Just The Way It Is…

    Matt Bruce

    Managing Editor

    News Sarasota.com

    Host Of "The Captain's AMERICA" Radio Show

    http://thecaptainsamerica.talkspot.com

  2. #2
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    I hope that the Airport Authority did some finacial research on R-M. They have been cutting back on a lot of their operations and personnel here in the North East. I have even heard they completly pulled out of New Jersey and let several municipalities high and dry for EMS coverage.
    You might want to go to Daytona and talk to the people at International Speedway Corporation. They have had dealings with R-M in the past, too.

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    Default CEO Piccolo ASSUMES taxpayers will pick up costs!

    Both Sarasota and Manatee Fire Departments will professionally respond as "Mutual Aid" to the "present" Airport Fire Department, who are Florida Certified for structure fires and would be "First Due". I firmly disagree "with the position of Fred Piccolo, airport president and chief executive officer, who said the Rural Metro Firefighters would be for aircraft only, and that he expected Sarasota County Firefighters to respond to structure fires. They, SRQ Airport, pay No "Non-Ad Valorem Tax Assessments, For Fire service protection to either county for their buildings, one at some 240,000. square feet. Every business and residence pay for Fire Department Service in their respective district, township or municipality. I as a Taxpayer also would not wish anyone to automatically assume that we (the people paying these taxes) would just pick up the tab for Fire Protection that was there, and is soon to be gone, all to save a couple of thousand dollars the 1st year of the contract. I can only imagine the new cost burden of providing adequate fire coverage for all airport structures to "Both" Counties! The contract with r/m reads with increases over 3 years, by then the cost will be where it is today. Now Add these Taxes they are not paying for structure protection. They did say "cost savings". they must be using Pinochio's calculator! The truth will come out, "its only the tip of the iceberg"
    "Do you hear that"??? "its the sound of his career ambition light dimming"

    Tell everyone you know "Dont Fly in or out of Sarasota" after Oct 1st
    Until we turn this around.
    Contact Polititions and IAFF2546.com You can help!

    In Brotherhood
    Jim Costa Sarasota Fl.

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    Default CEO Piccolo ASSUMES taxpayers will pick up costs!

    Both Sarasota and Manatee Fire Departments will professionally respond as "Mutual Aid" to the "present" Airport Fire Department, who are Florida Certified for structure fires and would be "First Due". I firmly disagree "with the position of Fred Piccolo, airport president and chief executive officer, who said the Rural Metro Firefighters would be for aircraft only, and that he expected Sarasota County Firefighters to respond to structure fires. They, SRQ Airport, pay No "Non-Ad Valorem Tax Assessments, For Fire service protection to either county for their buildings, one at some 240,000. square feet. Every business and residence pay for Fire Department Service in their respective district, township or municipality. I as a Taxpayer also would not wish anyone to automatically assume that we (the people paying these taxes) would just pick up the tab for Fire Protection that was there, and is soon to be gone, all to save a couple of thousand dollars the 1st year of the contract. I can only imagine the new cost burden of providing adequate fire coverage for all airport structures to "Both" Counties! The contract with r/m reads with increases over 3 years, by then the cost will be where it is today. Now Add these Taxes they are not paying for structure protection. They did say "cost savings". they must be using Pinochio's calculator! The truth will come out, "its only the tip of the iceberg"
    "Do you hear that"??? "its the sound of his career ambition light dimming"

    Tell everyone you know "Dont Fly in or out of Sarasota" after Oct 1st
    Until we turn this around.
    Contact state and local Politicians,
    go to: IAFF2546.com
    NewsSarasota.com You can help!

    In Brotherhood
    Jim Costa Sarasota Fl.

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    In light of the Terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, if you’re a Terrorist sitting over in Afghanistan, Iran or Pakistan just watching and waiting, doesn’t the SRQ International Airport now seem like a ‘target’ after October the 1st, 2006???
    Sorry, just couldn't take you serious after comments like this. I'm sure Terrorist's pick their targets based on fire protection.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Thumbs up Terrorist's Attacking...

    Hey Brother -

    Those birds who hijacked the aircraft that struck the World Trade Center and Pentagon learned how to fly right here in OUR backyards and nobody thought that could ever happen either...

    I just tossed out a scenario and who knows what or how these people think???

    God Bless the USA & ALL of those who defend, protect & serve her keeping all of us FREE & SAFE...

    'The Captain'
    Sarasota, FL.

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    Default Private Companies

    [
    Any one remember what happened to the Wackenhut FF in Estero? If I remember correctly, he dropped out at a Brush Fire and died. What did the Wackenhut organization do for his family? I bet not as much as an IAFF department would have done. Private Co. do not work in the state of Florida. Citizens demand a very high level of service they can not provide. I hope this gets turned around like the Estero situation did...but without the loss of a life.


    Those birds who hijacked the aircraft that struck the World Trade Center and Pentagon learned how to fly right here in OUR backyards and nobody thought that could ever happen either...

    I just tossed out a scenario and who knows what or how these people think???

    God Bless the USA & ALL of those who defend, protect & serve her keeping all of us FREE & SAFE...

    'The Captain'
    Sarasota, FL.[/QUOTE]

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    Thumbs up Standing up for your Brothers...

    I sincerely hope that all of my Brother Firefighters realize that this privatization issue 'could be' coming to your area next...

    It's time to take a stand on this issue. We need to band together and call our State Representatives, Governor Jeb Bush and you can even include your City and County lawmakers in there to...

    To see what you can do to help your Sarasota Airport Brother Firefighters, call 941-485-5193...

    God Bless America & ALL Of Those Who Defend, Protect & Serve Her!

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    Thumbs up Brother Firefighters, This Is A MUST Listen To Radio Show...

    SARASOTA, FL (The CaptainsAMERICA) -

    Today's show features the SRQ Airport IAFF 2546 Firefighters who once again let the people know about the terrible injustice taking place at SRQ Internationa Airport when the Union Firefighters are booted out on October the 1st...

    FPF President Bob Carver calls in to render his opinion and what his group plans to do about this...

    Local IAFF 2546 President Mike Stephenson leads the discussion about what the SRQ Airport Firefighters are planning to do next...

    "The Captain's AMERICA" radio show podcast:

    http://thecaptainsamerica.podOmatic.com

    Stay Low,

    'The Captain'
    http://thecaptainsamerica.blogspot.com
    http://www.newssarasota.com
    http://www.iaff2546.com

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    Thumbs up Sun Coast Fire Fighters Seek Answers To Airport Privatization...

    Sun Coast Fire Fighters Seek Answers To Airport Privatization...
    Latest News Forum
    Newsbusters.org
    October 2, 2006...
    Sun Coast Fire Fighters Seek Answers To Airport Privatization...

    October 2, 2006

    SARASOTA, FL. (NS/IAFF2546) -

    Sun Coast, FL Local 2546 Firefighters continued its fight against the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority by holding another peaceful protest and public information picket at the SRQ International Airport. Approximately 50 Firefighters along with supporters marched along University Parkway and Tamiami Trail holding signs and passing out information about what was taking place with the privatization of the Fire Service at SRQ International...

    “People need to know that fire service is changing at the airport – and not for the better,” says Mike Stephenson, President of Local 2546. “The airport authority is trading experienced fire fighters – all who already know how to best protect the airport – for Rural-Metro employees. It just doesn’t make sense. Why change something that already works well?”

    Firefighters have been booted out for no reason given other than "saving money" as said by SRQ Airport Manager Fred Piccolo. The Airport has lost over 300 years of Aircraft Firefighting experience and replaced that with lesser experienced and qualified individuals which Merve Kennell, IFF 2546 Business Agent, believes "will create safety and security problems for the flying public."

    Local supporters drove by the picket line honking their horns and some were dressed in red to show their support for the firefighters. Over 200 names were collected on individual signature petitions which will be sent to Governor Jeb Bush, asking him not to reappointment the 3 SRQ Airport Board Authority members in November...

    On August 15th, the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority voted 4-1 to boot out the IAFF 2546 Union Firefighters and replace them with private Rural Metro company Firefighters. In a subsequent meeting, SRQ Airport Manager told the Board that Rural Metro had already hired a full compliment of 16 Firefighters plus the Fire Chief, but as of Sunday October the 1st, the Rural Metro company was stil 6 Firefighters short of having their full compliment hired...

    The private Fire fighting company has 1 year in which to get their State certifications for their Firefighters, however in the mean time, men with over 300 years total experience are out of a job. This just doesn't make any sense and certainly there are other issues being addressed about the management decision that brought all of this about...

    Airport Update Sept. 30, 2006 -

    Matt:

    One of the airports Operations Officers came over to say good bye to us...
    He told us that the new CHIEF has already gotten in trouble with the tower for an incursion of the runway...
    We also found out that they currently only have ten (10) men hired other than the chief...
    Fred has been stating that the reason rural/metro will be safer is because of the increase of manpower...
    None of the people hired by rural/metro other than the four men from the former Fire department have any prior experience with a public airport. As soon as some of these men have passed their tests or become State certified with the Fire Department they will no doubt hire on elsewhere for more money, when given the opportunity...
    I feel the public has a right to know this...
    (Sender name withheld upon request)

    This is what is astounding about the SRQ International Airport. The Airport Board are all political appointees. This was changed several years ago in a Public referendum. These political appointees have no airport experience what so ever...

    SRQ International is a stagnant airport. Their number of passengers is down and I’ve spoken to people who fly in and out of SRQ every week. SRQ is either half empty or half full, drive by it or go inside and you’ll see what I mean...

    The Airport Board just gave Fred Piccolo, SRQ Airport Manager, a contract that exceeds Governor Jeb Bush's listed salary…

    Get this:
    A salary increase from $166,009 to $175,970 ($9.961.00). The Governor’s salary is $124,175. Is there anybody who thinks the job of running this small airport is more important than that of the job of Governor of the State of Florida???

    The salary range for airport managers at a "C" level airport like SRQ is $30,000 to $70,000 annually which can be easily found on the Internet. Compare the salary package of the SRQ Airport Manager to that of a "real airport," say Tampa, and you will be shocked!!!

    I have also seen that the SRQ Airport Manager drives a Lexus and the SRQ Airport pays all expenses. I’ve noticed most Sarasota County Battalion Fire Chief’s driving either Chevrolet Blazers or Ford Explorers...

    Bonuses of 6.5% and $3,500 for meeting minimal goals per the SRQ Airport Manager’s written contract that I understand ‘he’ helped to write. A Free House reported to be worth $500,000 with $25,000 paid to furnish this house for which he pays no mortgage, no taxes and no insurance on???

    There are also public Tax records showing other off Airport property paying no School taxes on what I’ve been told are ‘rental properties’…

    Does anybody other than me smell something? None of this makes any sense and it certainly needs to be investigated by Tallassee to say the very least…

    This Airport seems to have been going unnoticed ‘under the radar’ for far to long, until now when the privatization of the Fire Service surfaced for the need to “save money.”

    Citizens have been participating in an online poll at News Sarasota.com and they are overwhelmingly saying that they are against the SRQ Fire Service privatization. The results as of this report were 82% against the Airport going Private with their Fire Service versus 18% who agreed with the Airport’s action...

    Stand up and support your Local IAFF 2546 Firefighters and help right the terrible injustice brought by the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority Board and the SRQ Airport Manager Fred Piccolo. Call Governor Jeb Bush and you State Representatives and tell them this is WRONG...

    The Airport Authority is appointed by the Governor. Three of the members are up for re-appointment in the next year, and Local 2546 is encouraging supporters to write Governor Jeb Bush to let him know that they are disappointed in the decision to privatize...

    You can go to the Local IAFF 2546 website for instructions on how to write Governor Bush and contact your State Elected Officials by going to: http://www.iaff2546.com ...

    For now, that's just 'OUR' opinion...

    Matt Bruce
    Managing Editor
    News Sarasota.com
    Host Of:
    "The Captain's AMERICA" Radio Show
    Heard Monday Thru Thursday On
    1490 WWPR Radio
    Bradenton-Sarasota-Tampa & Venice, FL...

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    Thumbs up Wise Decision?????

    SARASOTA, FL (NS) -

    Excuse me! From What Fire Authority do you state;...."Fire safety at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport will not be compromised by outsourcing firefighter services to a private company"..... Would that be the "State Fire Marshal"? who takes the responsibility for that statement? the herald? Who's assurance lays to rest that one objection of many! read the contract! the savings are the first year only! this not counting the New expense of PAYING for the advolorum fire tax you've never paid for structural firefighting. Do you expect the Taxpayers to pay your share and take their already overburdened services away? go to your website http://www.srq-airport.com/ under "press", financial, look @ FY 2005 you took $250k from Manatee and Sarasota you also got a grant of $1.5m but you only paid the airline $1.4m? all taxpayer money! where is the $600k, what was the house cost? you sure as hell don't show giving it back! ..." Piccolo says. It is the airline tenants' landing fees and other airport revenue sources that pay firefighters' salaries, not taxpayers. So authority members are obligated to obtain the best service it can at the lowest contract price."...Wow... then they should be obligated to obtain a class A or B airport manager for a lower contract price than the Highest Paid class C day and D night Mgr. in the Country? Seek greener pastures and take a board member under each limb. save the airlines and the taxpayers money and don't jeopardize life safety!... lots more to come!!!

    Zachary Taylor Palmer
    Sarasota

    Editors Note - This is an email that was sent to me from Zachary Palmer that I have reposted in this forum for all to see...*MCB*...

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    Thumbs up The Mis Master Of SRQ Airport...

    Like a confident voice from the cockpit, Piccolo soothes
    airport worries...


    Airport president Fred Piccolo should conduct seminars for
    airport managers. The subject matter need not have anything to
    do with actually managing an airport. The topic I have in mind
    would be managing an airport board...


    At that, Piccolo must be a master...


    How else to explain the way he remains so highly valued by his
    bosses, the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority, though the
    airport has generated so much bad news during his nine-year
    tenure...


    The airport was already in a tailspin with declining passenger
    numbers and vanishing flight options when Piccolo took the
    controls in 1995. He was hired to reverse the plunge...


    Instead, the dive continued...


    Since 1990, while the population around here has grown plenty,
    almost half the passengers have bailed out. Flight offerings
    have disappeared, with almost a three-fourths reduction in the
    number of cities served by direct flights. Five major airlines
    have flown away...


    And the result hasn't been bargain-basement giveaways to
    attract and delight passengers. Remaining carriers have sought
    profits by charging more...


    The result: Many local people don't even check SRQ when
    shopping for a flight...


    Piccolo long maintained that, despite that bad news for
    consumers year after year, the airport was in good financial
    shape. But, as a Herald-Tribune story reported in May, he
    wrote otherwise in a grant application this year...


    "We desperately need this grant to reverse over a decade of
    decline," he said. Any further drop in passenger traffic, he
    said, and the airport might not be able to meet its bond
    obligations...


    The Department of Transportation grant came through, and the
    rescue effort seems to have helped. AirTran Airways, a
    low-cost flight provider, has agreed to come in to provide
    some cheap flights on new routes...


    And even without AirTran, passenger numbers are up somewhat
    over last year...


    But the modest short-term increase barely dents the numbers
    posted during the long decline. And the new carrier was
    enticed with federal money to give Sarasota-Bradenton a try,
    but there is as yet no way to know if that carrier will thrive
    or stay long...


    I'm not saying the bad news of the past nine years is
    Piccolo's fault. There have been challenging market trends. In
    difficult business situations, even the best managers may do
    well just to keep an operation solvent and hanging in until
    conditions improve...


    Still, most managers find that after several years of such
    hanging in, the patience of the board wears thin...


    You've seen it happen with good baseball managers who take
    over struggling teams. No matter how happy everyone is that
    first opening day, if the team continues to lose, that
    baseball-genius of a manager eventually finds himself booed
    and then replaced...


    No matter how truthful and legitimate the explanations for
    disappointing outcomes may be, they sound like tiresome
    excuses after a while. Ever-optimistic forecasts start to
    sound like a scam...


    Not so when Piccolo talks to his board. It just offered to
    spend almost three-quarters of a million dollars to provide
    him a house of his choosing not far from the airport, and also
    pay for utilities, lawn service and even cable TV...


    Some bonus. And Piccolo gets the option to buy it at cost one
    of these years. That's a great no-cost real-estate investment,
    and he doesn't even have to pay property taxes. And that's on
    top of 4.25 percent annual raises for the next five years, and
    paid expenses for his wife to travel with him to conferences...


    Anything wrong with all that?


    Well, the house deal is unusual, but no, not if that is what
    it takes to keep a guy the board is convinced the airport is
    lucky to have...


    Still, Piccolo could make far more money if he could just
    bottle his board-charming skill and sell it to the hordes of
    less nimble executives...


    Then, even after a string of tough years, their boards would
    never scorn them like a has-been baseball veteran after a
    decade managing a cellar dweller...


    Instead, their boards would see each of them as an amazing
    skilled pilot performing an aeronautical miracle by somehow
    keeping a flak-damaged, sputtering plane in the air, even if
    it is still trimming the treetops...


    Tom Lyon
    Editorial
    Sarasota Herald Tribune

    Editors Note:

    On top of all of this, the SRQ Airport IAFF 2546 Firefighters were replaced with '10' Firefighters and not '15' as promised some 10+ days after the October 1st deadline. What's wrong with this picture?

  13. #13
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    I honestly hope the 10 SCABS who took these jobs will be identified and dogged when they quit their scab gig to take a municipal firefighting job. They should be ordered to wear a big scarlet S on their uniforms. Scab losers.
    Last edited by MIKEYLIKESIT; 10-12-2006 at 08:20 PM.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    Couple of ways to respond. One is to let the entity governing the airport know there will be no response from neighboring jurisdictions due to safety concerns.

    Second. Get the pilots union to slap a picket line around that airport due to aforementioned safety concerns. That will get attention in a hurry. Especially local media types.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    Thumbs up Letter To The Editor In The Bradenton Herald...

    Posted on Sat, Oct. 14, 2006

    The Bradenton Herald...

    Letters to the editor...

    Airport authority overpaying chief?

    The Bradenton Herald in a recent editorial praised the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority and Fred Piccolo, its President/CEO. Like the airport board, The Herald feels Piccolo is the man for the job, that we need a man like Piccolo rather than a "bargain" airport manager.

    Let's look at the facts, and then you decide if we need Piccolo or a new airport manager: In Piccolo's nine years in charge the airport has lost five major carriers. Passenger levels have never made a comeback from when he was hired in 1995. In the past 10 years the population of Manatee and Sarasota counties has grown tremendously, greatly increasing the passenger base. The excuse of "It's too close to Tampa International" is not valid. St. Pete-Clearwater Airport, which is right across Tampa Bay from Tampa Airport, is setting ongoing passenger records. Piccolo left St. Pete-Clearwater Airport nine years ago as assistant airport director to come to SRQ as President/CEO. He quite simply has not gotten the job done.

    Let's look at Piccolo's salary package; you decide is he worth it? Salary: $175,970 a year (incidentally, he got a $9,961.00 raise on Oct. 1, the very day he fired the existing firefighters as a "cost-cutting" measure). Lexus, for his and his family's use, all expenses paid. Two bonuses, one of 6.5 percent of his salary, that's $11,438.05, and another for $3,500. Free travel for his spouse to his meetings. House: Yes, he was awarded a $500,000 house on which he pays no mortgage, no taxes, no insurance, no maintenance, plus $25,000 to furnish his house.

    Compare this to the governor of Florida. That office pays $124,175 a year. Do you think the residents of Sarasota/Manatee counties are getting a good return on the salary package paid Piccolo?

    Piccolo has fooled the airport authority and The Herald; has he fooled you?

    Tom Richardson
    Bradenton

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    Thumbs up SRQ Airport FF Privatization, Union Gone October 1st...

    Most certainly NOT! There's something rotten @ SRQ Intl Airport and it's not the trash...

    IAFF FF's get the boot and an Airport Pres/CEO gets a pay raise for losing money and keeping an Airport in the RED? What's wrong with this picture???

    You're right ON the money Tom! Thankyou for your comments...

    Stand up for what's RIGHT and contact Governor Jeb Bush...
    Last edited by CaptMCBruceRet; 10-14-2006 at 05:54 PM. Reason: Forgot to thank "Tom" for his comment...

  17. #17
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    Gov. Jeb Bush is coming to Venice Airport Thursday Oct. 19 from 4 to 5 PM ET along with MA Gov. Mitt Romney. Time to bring out the RED Shirts! Be There...

  18. #18
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    This 'just in'...

    The executive director at Tampa International Airport is paid $237,612 annually.

    Tampa is a Class B Airport during the day and Class C at night with Cargo traffic coming and going via BAX, DHL, FEDEX and UPS.

    Source:
    Don C. Welch
    Director of Human Resources
    Tampa International Airport

    *Note* - SRQ is a Class C Airport during the day and a Class D at night. The SRQ Airport Pres/CEO now gets $175,000 (give or take a thousand) and a FREE $500,000 home to live in plus a vehicle and all expenses to drive it and is also a "part-time" Real Estate developer for SRQ Airport. More details coming on that item SOON...

    See that light dimming in the corner? That's Mr. Piccolo's career dissipation light slowly going out...

  19. #19
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    Default Reply from Jeb Bush's office ...

    From: Governor Jeb Bush <Jeb.Bush@myflorida.com>
    To: Blades Robinson <bladesrobinson@******.com>
    Date: Oct 23, 2006 2:23 PM
    Subject: RE: Sarasota-Manatee International Airport Authority (SRQ)


    Thank you for your e-mail to Governor Bush detailing your concerns about the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority’s recent decision to replace the existing firefighters at the airport with Rural Metro, a private company. I appreciate the opportunity to respond on his behalf.

    The Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority, while appointed by the Governor, is an autonomous body empowered to make decisions about the Sarasota Manatee Airport. Three of the members of this authority’s terms will expire in November of this year. The Governor will keep your comments in mind when he makes his decision on renewing the terms of these members.

    Thank you for writing and do not hesitate to write again on matters of concern or interest to you.

    Sincerely,


    Rex T. Newman

    Citizens’ Services

    =====================================
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Blades Robinson
    Sent: Monday, October 23, 2006 2:47 PM
    To: Governor Jeb Bush
    Subject: Sarasota-Manatee International Airport Authority (SRQ)



    Governor Bush,

    I have recently learned that the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority has chosen to do away with State of Florida CERTIFIED fire fighters and substitute them with employees of Rural Metro who are NOT CERTIFIED fire fighters.

    The citizens in the State of Florida rely on the services of CERTIFIED fire fighters to assure their safety, especially when flying to and from the Sarasota-Manatee International Airport (SRQ). Additionally, we count on Airport Authority Board Members to make sound decisions to assure airport safety and passenger safety. In this case, I believe the decision made by the SRQ Airport Authority was unwise and I would ask that you not re-appoint these members when their terms expire.

    Regards,

    Blades Robinson
    Vero Beach, FL
    ==========================

    Proud member of IAFF Local 2201! ... Florida citizen, regular airline passenger ... and I will NOT recommend or use SRQ.

    Please let me know if Governor Bush reappoints these Airport Authority board members.

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    You've got it Brother! Gov. Bush has been alerted and he is reacting...

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    Thumbs up SRQ Airport Private FF's Clearly In Violation Of FL State Law...

    To Whom It May Concern,

    I don't know whether you received my Excel spread sheet "training audit" that I developed, I believe it clearly depicts that more than 1/2 of the new work force (provided by Rural Metro) are lacking the "State of Florida Firefighter" required certification. I created this document from documents obtained from SRQ via our public records request for copies of all training records. They did not give us copies of their Chiefs' training records which would have been included in the original request. The SRQ airport manager stated that Rural Metro was going to bring a wealth of ARFF firefighting experience to the Airport. My audit also reflects that the majority of new hires by Rural Metro were given ARFF training the week before they started, no other record of ARFF experience was provided. We don't know how many hours or what relevant material the course provided because the records provided to us do not indicate. The spreadsheet also reflects that most of the new hires are not Florida certified EMT's. The reason this is important is that the super-majority of the emergency calls at SRQ Airport are medical emergencies...

    What is significant about the information at hand is that the recently dismissed firefighting staff were 100% Florida Certified as Firefighters, EMT's, and with ARFF training that won them the FAA's highest rating just last year. Mr. Piccolo stated his primary reason for recommending the move to Rural Metro was to improve safety by increasing the number of "boots on the ground" from 14 to 16. As of last week we received training records for 14 personnel, and were told by employees working in the Fire Dept that there were only 11 working there at the time. We have also been informed that some of the Firefighters are having to share PPE turnout gear because Rural Metro says they are having trouble finding a supplier. In addition to misinforming the SMAA board as to the needed qualifications of it's Firefighters, he further indicated to the board and a local newspaper reporter who reported that he had not made up his mind until the morning of the Board meeting regarding his recommendation to award the contract to Rural Metro. Ironically, we have a copy of his personal letter to Rural Metro written several weeks prior offering congratulations to them on his decision to recommend them to the SMAA board...

    While the new head of the Fire Department for SRQ has tremendous credentials, he too lacks the State Minimum requirement of "Florida Certified Firefighter" required to be a "Fire Chief" as he was incorrectly announced. By statute he cannot command a Fire scene and cannot bear the title of Fire Chief. There is a reason for these State mandated minimum requirements that the Airport's administrator tries to diminish as technicalities and rules not having jurisdiction of the Airport. Fortunately for the citizenry, the Florida legislature had the wisdom to study the direct correlation of emergency mitigation outcomes to standardized emergency fire/rescue training requirements. We have tremendous respect for the background and experience of the former military personnel hired by Rural Metro, including their head of operations we could legally call "Fire Administrator". We simply do not believe the Public has been better served by this "blue-light special" bargain replacement of it's previous loyal, professional, FAA award winning, Florida State certified Firefighter EMT's...

    Please feel free to forward or post this anywhere you feel it will get exposure that can aid in our fight to restore the legal state certified professional Fire Rescue services to the SRQ Airport...

    Respectfully,

    Merv Kennell
    Business Agent -IAFF 2546

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    Exclamation The Following Letter Has Been Sent To SRQ Airport's Private FD...

    Ed Cluchey, Fire Chief
    Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority
    6000 Airport Circle
    Sarasota, FL. 34243-2105

    Certified Letter # 7004 0550 0000 9736 9986

    October 25, 2006

    Dear Chief:

    We are in receipt of several "Notice of Termination of Employment as Firefighter" 9form DFS-K4-1033) from your agency. However, we have not received "Notice of Employment as a Firefighter" (form DFS-K4-1032) for you or the other new employees. Rule 69A-37.0035(2) of the Florida Administration Code requires you to submit this form to the Bureau of Fire Standards and Training within ten business days after the first day of employment.

    Also in October 24's Herald, the Airport's Chief Executive Officer Fred J. Piccolo is quoted as saying you do not have Florida certification and have up to a year to get the certification. The provisions of Section 633.35, Florida Statutes, prohibit any person from being employed as a firefighter for more than one year from the date of initial employment until he or she has obtained a certificate of compliance. During that one year period of employment prior to being certified in Florida, the person may not directly engage in hazardous operations such as interior structural firefighting and hazardous materials incident mitigation. I advised Mr. Piccolo on October 6 by e-mail that there were significant limitations on what you and other firefighters not certified in Florida can legally do without the certification in that first year, including operating within the exclusionary zone or supervising fire supression operations. Basically all that the individuals can do is support work, no actual fire suppression.

    Sincerely,

    David A. Casey
    Bureau Chief
    State Fire Marshal
    Bureau Of Fire Standards And Training
    State of Florida

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    Angry who would have thought

    Airport fire crew not state certified

    Published on November 1, 2006, Article 1 of 32 found.
    (Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL){PUBLICATION2, 551 words.)}

    If a plane caught fire at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport today, Fire Chief Ed Cluchey could not go anywhere near the "hot zone."


    Cluchey and seven others hired by the airport's contractor, Rural/Metro Inc., lack Florida firefighter certification. That means they can't do any "hazardous operations" or enter what firefighters call the "exclusionary zone," or hot zone, said David Casey,

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    Exclamation "In case of an SRQ fire, Memphis is ready"...

    Article published In Sarasota Herald-Tribune Nov 2, 2006...

    "In case of an SRQ fire, Memphis is ready"...

    Written By:

    Tom Lyons

    In case of an SRQ fire, Memphis is ready...

    SARASOTA, FL. (NS/SHT) -

    Sarasota/Bradenton Airport CEO Fredrick Piccolo sold his board on the
    idea of saving money by shafting the airport's firefighters.

    I guess you can't argue with the bottom line.

    With Piccolo at the stick during the past 11 years, the airport has
    survived but not thrived. Passengers continue to avoid the place in
    droves and drive to Tampa to catch flights.

    So there's a need to cut costs, and Piccolo decided getting cheaper
    firefighters from a private company was the answer.

    Too bad firefighting services can't be outsourced to India. If not for
    the pesky response time problem, I'm sure Piccolo would have suggested
    it.

    The change to a private company has been tough on some of the longtime
    airport firefighters, who took large pay cuts or lost their jobs. Their
    union has picketed the place and is still complaining, but they know
    the decision isn't going to be reversed now that Rural Metro Inc. and
    its cut-rate firefighters are on the job.

    Still, the union folks couldn't help but point out that Piccolo, in his
    hurry to be rid of them and bring in the cheaper guys, somehow failed
    to make a phone call.

    Though union officers say they adamantly warned that the private
    company would bring in firefighters who lack state certification, and
    that the state would not allow them to fight fires, Piccolo insisted
    the new guys would need only federal certification.

    And so, as you may know, when the private company took over the fire
    station last month, it did so largely with employees who have no
    Florida credentials. And the union blew the whistle, and the state fire
    marshal office sent Piccolo a letter saying it wouldn't do.

    What seems amazing about this is probably not amazing. That is, it
    seems amazing that a savvy airport executive like Piccolo, fully aware
    the union he was busting would be all over him on this certification
    thing, never bothered to check with the state about it.

    But I guess the explanation is obvious. I mean, why check if you don't
    want to know?

    Piccolo must have figured that if the fire marshal did make a fuss
    about those silly certifications, it would be too late to bother him.
    The firefighters he was dumping would be gone, the bargain-basement
    ones would be on board, and the state wasn't going to shut down the
    airport.

    But the state didn't ignore the uncertified firefighters. The fire
    marshal's office sent a letter requiring that Rural/Metro comply with
    state law, and pronto, not months from now.

    Rural/Metro was forced to bring in employees/firefighters from another
    operation elsewhere in the state, in a temporary job swap that could
    last until the new guys can be certified.

    Company spokeswoman Nikki Gast, in typical privatized form, would not
    even say where the temporarily transferred people came from. I figure
    the company prefers not to alert anyone at another venue that they just
    got a bunch of uncertified firefighters.

    Maybe I just have a bad attitude about privatization, which often falls
    well short of advertised savings and service.

    My attitude flared up as soon as I called the new privatized airport
    fire chief, Ed Cluchey.

    The chief very politely said he couldn't talk about staffing at his
    fire station.

    Of course not. He works for a corporation. I had to call company HQ in
    Memphis, Tenn., and talk to the press handler.

    And so I called Gast and, to make a point, asked her how many Florida
    certified firefighters were on duty at Sarasota/Bradenton right that
    moment. She didn't know, of course -- she's in Tennessee! -- but she
    insisted that whatever the number was, it was the number required.

    I pointed out to her that the guy who actually knows the answer, the
    fire chief, had correctly followed the inane company policy by forcing
    me to talk to someone who doesn't know and is in another state.

    She pretended not to get my point.

    Next time there is a crash, fire or other deadly emergency for
    firefighters to deal with at our local airport, I expect more of the
    same sort of non-information from corporate employees who aren't there,
    don't know, and if it seems the news might reflect badly on the
    company, won't tell even if they do know.

    But at such a savings!
    _____

    Tom Lyons can be contacted at tom.lyons@heraldtribune.com or (941)
    361-4964.
    _____

    My take on this is I have believed from the beginning SRQ Intl was doing something illegal, immoral and absolutely WRONG!

    Nothing has happened to change MY opinion and this only helps to further SOLIDIFY the need to replace Mr. Fred J. Piccolo as Airport Pres/CEO and every member of the SRQ Airport Authority Board who went along with this action...

    Gee, I wonder if Mr. Piccolo told The White House about the October 6th email he received before the Vice President, President and First Lady of the United States of America landed at SRQ Intl???

    I think we all know the answer to that one!

    Piccolo needs to be fired, NOW, and Governor Jeb Bush needs to appoint 3 NEW people to the Airport Board Authority this year as well as consider replacing the others who have 'blindly' gone along with Mr. Piccolo the past 11 years in everything he's proposed...

    For Now, That's Just "MY" Opinion...

    Matt Bruce
    Retired 25 Year Fire Rescue Captain
    Safety & Training Officer
    Managing Editor
    News Sarasota.com
    Sarasota, FL
    Host of "The Captain's AMERICA" Radio Show...
    Last edited by CaptMCBruceRet; 11-03-2006 at 03:08 PM. Reason: To correctly establish link for newspaper story...

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    Thumbs up One cat is out of the SRQ bag...

    One cat is out of the SRQ bag...

    Thanks for taking an interest in what seems to be yet another debacle in Fredrick "Rick" Piccolo's tenure at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. Your paper seems to have painted a much clearer picture this week than we've seen so far. I expect Piccolo will be ordering rose-colored glasses for the airport authority members to wear before they are allowed to read your paper.

    What is remarkable is that Piccolo told the airport authority and the media that he had a fiduciary responsibility to recommend Rural/Metro Inc. because of first, improved safety, and second, the substantial savings that is so critical to the struggling airlines. Ironically, the half-million-dollar home that the airport authority purchased and remodeled for his free use is not part of the fiduciary concern, and lowering costs for local carriers also is apparently irrelevant when it comes to the CEO's compensation package.

    As for the promised improved safety, I think the first cat is certainly out of the bag.

    Emergency Medical Technician certification has yet to be addressed.

    Will the airport have to pay overtime for the temporary certified guys to commute to and from the airport?

    And are the new hires angry that new requirements were implemented after they moved to the area for a job they were told they were qualified to do?

    Merv Kennell

    The writer is a member of Suncoast Professional Firefighters and Paramedics. He resides in Sarasota.

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