Friday, February 10, 2017

ISO Rating (Insurance Service Office)

Today I received the following email from Unknown:  “Charlie,  With all due respect your post and attitudes are becoming incredibly immature with people who disagree with you as well as unbelievable intellectually dishonest.  I am confused as to why you would attempt to lay fault for Arlington not being an ISO 1 on a single firemen, when that is solely at the feet of the City Management.   Furthermore, it might be time for Arlington's leadership to spend some time in self reflections. Not only is Fort Worth rated as an ISO 1 City, but so are your neighbors to the east, Grand Prairie.”

The ISO stands for Insurance Service Office which is a for profit organization that looks at various Fire Departments and rates their attributes.  This is an antiquated system that many insurance companies don’t use any more.  The largest underwriter in the U.S. is State Farm Insurance and they use a system called Public Protection Classification which divides the city into zip codes.  The ISO rating uses four main classifications:  (1) Emergency Communications 10 pts, (2) Fire Department 50 pts. (3) Water Supply 40 pts and extra points for (4) Community Risk Reduction.  An ISO difference from a 1 rating to a 2 rating does not change insurance rates of residences 1 penny.  

So let’s look at each category: (1) Emergency Communications,   Arlington has an exemplary communications system that is accredited every 3 yrs.  We updated our communication 2 yrs. ago with a new digital communications system and is one of six cities in the U.S. with EMAP accreditation.  (2) Fire Department,  This has to do with mostly training type/personnel and response times.  When it comes to our firefighters and department I will stack them up against any department in the U.S.  (3) Water Supply This mostly deals with flow supply for fire suppression, and the number of fire hydrants near suppression points.  Community Risk Reduction,  these extra points deal with fire prevention, safety education, and investigation.  Now let’s look at the last ISO rating accomplished in Arlington.  The score was 84.4.  Communications received 7.6 pts.  Water received 36.2 pts. but the biggest reduction was the Fire Department itself with a 38.7 pt. rating out of 50 possible pts.  The biggest reduction was in the amount of training per firefighter.  This would indicate that the Fire Chief and the Firefighters aren’t doing enough, right?  Wrong!  The last report was accomplished in 2007 before Don Crowson was the Chief.   The remaining points were added in community risk.

What I am saying is that we have a great fire department in this city and Civil Service will do nothing to improve it and everything to tear it down.  One bad apple can spoil the barrel.  Civil Service allows for Permanent Employment.  Nobody Deserves Permanent Employment!!  VOTE NO ON CIVIL SERVICE IN MAY.

Now let's discuss reasons why Arlington Leadership DOESN'T need to, " spend any time in self reflection."
Heart Safe Award:  The City of Arlington became the first large city in Texas to be designated a HEART Safe Community. This was made possible through extensive efforts to increase cardiac arrest survivability. The city was recognized during the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council’s Semi-Annual Meeting.

AMA's Nathan Davis Award:  Next month Chief Crowson will travel to Washington DC and receive the Nathan Davis Award.  He will be nationally recognized for Outstanding Government Service  as an individual who has made a difference in their community. Since 1989, the award has been an annual celebration of elected and career public servants on the federal, state and local levels, who have contributed greatly to public health, promoted the art and science of medicine, or developed a project to improve the health of a community or population. 

EMAP Accreditation:   Arlington is the sixth city in the nation to receive this accreditation on its own.  The emergency management program uses the accreditation to prove the capabilities of their disaster preparedness and response systems, which results in stronger capabilities and accountability. Accreditation is a means of demonstrating, through program assessment, documentation and onsite assessment by an independent peer review team, that a program meets national standards EMAP is the only accreditation process for emergency management programs.

CALEA Accreditation: The purpose of CALEA’s Accreditation Programs is to improve the delivery of public safety services, primarily by: maintaining a body of standards, developed by public safety practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives; establishing and administering an accreditation process; and recognizing professional excellence.

Community Health Program Outstanding Achievement Award from U.S. Council of Mayors:  Arlington was one of five national cities with populations of 100,000 or more to receive the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award.  The American Dream City was recognized for its Community Health Program, a voluntary, no-cost enrollment in-home paramedic preventative care service. 

World Record for CPR Training:   At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009 Arlington broke the previous record when 4,626 eighth-graders converged on Cowboys Stadium to learn cardio-pulmonary resuscitation techniques as part of a citywide initiative called CPaRlington.  Organizers invited every Arlington Independent School District eighth-grader to participate in this massive training exercise. A Guinness World Records official adjudicator witnessed the event and validated the achievement.

TML Municipal Excellence Award for Public Safety for AISD Fire Academy:   The Texas Municipal League recognized Arlington for its groundbreaking Fire Academy program  with a 2014 Municipal Excellence Award in Public Safety for cities with more than 25,000 residents. The honor distinguishes the City for its efforts, along with local partners, Tarrant County College and Arlington Independent School District, to develop a fire academy for high school students.  The unique program trains high school students from Arlington’s six high schools on firefighting and emergency medical care and enables graduates to immediately enter the workforce after successfully completing the program.

Does Grand Prairie or Ft. Worth claim any of the above.  Now let me say under no uncertain terms that the members of the AFF work for The Best Big City in the South (Money Magazine), you have a great job watching over the safety of Arlington residents, department Leadership is Nationally Recognized and you are paid handsomely for your efforts.  It is about time you started appreciating what you have, and stop acting like children.   YOU call Me, "incredibly immature and unbelievably intellectually dishonest." 


Friday, January 27, 2017

Town Hall Meeting

Last night I had a Town Hall meeting at Lamar High School. Again it was well attended, with well over 150-200 people there. As stated I am blessed with citizens that want to be informed. At one point in the evening the President of the Fire Fighters Union and I got into a dialogue about Civil Service. He stated a few things that i totally disagree with. 1. That if Civil Service was implemented that Council would be taking away their benefits. My thoughts were that your current benefit package rests with the City form of governance and not with Civil Service. If you want your current benefits package do not request Civil Service. If you want Civil Service then you get what the state provides not a hybrid of the two systems.  There will not be a cherry picking event where you get the good parts of the city system and add them to the Civil Service form of government.  This I'm afraid is what the Union is selling to its members, and it simply won't happen.  2. His next statement is that "Meet and Confer" will be an avenue to change Civil Service in a way that is beneficial to both parties. Again Meet and Confer rests with the City not the State. Meet and Confer will be a fond memory under Civil Service. And Lastly he stated that firings occur all the time under Civil Service. I strongly suggest that Mr. Crow read this article in the Wall Street Journal to figure out why these police officers in other cities cannot be fired. 

The main body of the Town Hall Meeting was about all of the investment that is coming to Arlington.  Essentially, the total worth of the city is $12 billion.  The total investment to this city in the next few years is $4 billion.  This means that businesses want to come to Arlington and invest there money in our city.  This rate of investment is staggering.  At one point in the evening a lady stated that 74% of the children in our city are considered impoverished and that Arlington is headed downhill.  This is her opinion and it couldn't be further from the trend I see in Arlington.  This city is going vertical in development, and that means jobs.  The vehicle to get people out of poverty is jobs and the growth in our city will require thousands and thousands of jobs, which pay money and remove Arlington residents from poverty.  You are in the Best Big City in the South to live in (Money Magazine).  So act like it and be proud of the changes that have been made to get us here, and the changes to come, that are going to make our city even better.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Letter from a Regular Fireman

This is a letter that came to me a while back.  I love our Firemen but not their Union.  This letter shows the frustration of the rank and file in the Arlington Fire Department, and how they feel about their representation.

Mr. Parker,
My name is XXXXXXXXX.  I have been a Fireman here in Arlington for 36+ yrs.  I am presently a XXXXXX at Fire Station XX.  I usually don’t get involved in city politics, and keep the rumor mill out of my Station.  Someone sent me a link to your blog the other day and I decided to check it out.  I must commend on your statements regarding the APFA as well has the APD issue.  It’s refreshing to hear somebody finally tell it like it is.
I have been a member of the APFA since I was hired in 1979.  I rarely went to meetings, but paid my dues just in case I needed some help one day.  I never saw the APFA do anything really positive, and they mostly just kept the pot stirred.  But since David Crow took over, the APFA has turned into a Mafia style operation that is going to destroy the Fire Dept.  I actually attended a meeting several months ago.  I was so disgusted with the E Board’s sense of entitlement and the way they treated me that I resigned on the spot.  They are out of control and on a personal vendetta against Chief Crowson, no matter what the cost.  It’s amazing to me the City Hall still has discussions with the APFA.  So I wanted to say thank you for telling it like it is.  I would like to invite you out to the Station for lunch or dinner if you’re interested.  My crew has the same attitude towards the APFA as I do and we would enjoy the opportunity to chat.  Please feel free to contact me via email or phone.
Thanks for getting the truth out to the public and employees. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January 24th Council Meeting

Arlington Council Put Civil Service on Ballot


Last night I did something at Council that I have never done before.  I voted against a valid petition to put Civil Service on the ballot in Arlington by the Fire Fighter’s Union.  I did this because I knew from the comments of my colleagues that it would pass and go on the ballot, but I could not support it.

We have given the Firemen one of the best jobs in the Metroplex.  They work in the Best Big City in the South (Money Magazine), and receive one of the best wages in North Texas, for Fire Fighters.  For all these things that have been given to them, the Union shows their gratitude by slapping Council and City Management in the Face.  They want PERMANEANT JOBS!.  The reality of this statement is that, under Civil Service a Fire Fighter could murder someone and we could only put him on Indefinite suspension .  That’s right!  Although he might be sitting on death row, the City of Arlington would still have him on our books because we can’t get rid of him.  I hope the voters of Arlington have this knowledge when they step into the voting booth in May.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Town Hall Meeting

I am holding a Town Hall Meeting at Lamar High School this Thursday the 26th of January at 6:30.
The subject will be crime in North Arlington by Chief Jeff Petty.
The next subject will be the expansion of the Kroger Store by Ron Smith, Planning and Zoning Commissioner.
I will go over the apartments on Washington, and then I will cover the progress of all of the projects in North Arlington and the other special projects in our city.
I will also have a brief on the Senior Center and I will touch on Civil Service for our Fire Department.
I hope to see you all there.  This has been the first Town Hall in 9 months.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Civil Service and the AFF (Discipline)

The Union has had a problem with the way the Fire Chief, Don Crowson is doing his job and has tried to get him fired for the last three years.  Now they have escalated their unhappiness to Deputy City Manager Bowman and the City Manager.  Their unhappiness was with their W-2 pay.  The Council addressed that.  Now they are unhappy with the disciplinary system and the hiring and promotion practices, and they are willing to reduce their W-2’s in order to change this process.

The Fire Union is seeking to break away from the city’s protection umbrella and seek protection under the state program of Civil Service.  In the afternoon meeting of the January 3rd Council Session we had a very good brief by Ms. Lisa Zepeda one of our staff lawyers.   The subject matter addressed the differences between current Arlington disciplinary action versus Civil Service procedure.  The Civil Service process is contained within Part 143 of the Texas Local Government Code.  Ms. Zepeda stated that the purpose of this section is for the employee to, “HAVE A JOB FOR LIFE.”  Personally I don’t agree with this concept and I believe that it is detrimental to the overall quality of the Arlington Fire Department.  Our Firefighters do a great job and service our community remarkably.  I don’t believe that it would be productive nor foster a healthy environment, to allow a bad apple to rot in our department when he/she should have been dismissed.

Ms. Zepeda went back 13 years and compiled the records of discipline between the previous Chief and the current Chief.  It was found that the current Chief’s record of discipline is 23% less than his predecessor.  It was also brought out that the Chief does not administer the discipline.  But a panel of Assistant Chiefs decides the level of punishment.  The Chief can only either agree or reduce the punishment.  Here again this shows the dysfunction of the Fire Union.   Council is tired of these misrepresentations of facts.

First it was the squad concept that the Union couldn’t handle.  But this concept has been adopted by Fire Departments throughout the United States and is considered the most efficient way to administer protection to our citizens.  Next it was “The Book” accusing the Chief of fiscal misconduct.  Council requested an audit that exonerated the Chief and pointed out that the utilization of overtime by the fire department was excessive.  The Chief reduced overtime from 35,000 hrs. to 6,000 hrs.. Then the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) complaint was made to Council.  Again another audit was preformed and recommendations were made and accomplished by the Chief.  Then because of a complaint of low morale, an independent survey was accomplished.  The Chief again made corrections and the Union ignored the results.  The Council brought up the Fire Fighter’s W-2 to be superior to other departments in the Metroplex.  I might add that a entry level (F1) Fire Fighter, 5 years out of high school, will make $77,000 as a base pay.  Now the Union wants to break away from the City and seek protection under the State’s Civil Service Laws.

The issue of Civil Service will be on the ballot in May of this year.  Personally I am tired of this Union’s whining like mistreated children.  They have a great job in the Best Big City in the South, with a great wage.  Grow Up.   I ask for a NO Vote On Civil Service!!!    Stop the JOBS FOR LIFE movement.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Civil Service and the AFF II

Yesterday was a long and interesting day.  I started my day with a Municipal Policy Committee about the parking of vehicles in backyards.  I finally got out of Council about 9:15 that evening.  We talked about a lot of issues from funding the new Baseball Stadium, to funding the MAX bus system for FY 2017.  But I want to stay on the theme of Civil Service for the time being.  The AFF is the Firefighter Union and they want to be out from under the protective umbrella of the city and under the protection of the state of Texas.  The reason for this is because they don’t like Chief Crowson.  They don’t like the removal of overtime down from 35,000 hours to 6,000 hours.  They don’t like his policies, nor his discipline and here is a sample of their rhetoric:

“For too long, we have endured policy changes that adversely affect many of our members.  Members are disciplined at an alarming rate with punishments far exceeding the circumstances.  We witnessed restructuring of the Battalion Chiefs’ positions, and now a proposed reclassification of those same positions which will diminish their rights to representation and due process. .. .  We have appealed to our elected officials for change and they have only sympathized with us, claiming many of our issues should be handled by city management, not them.”

Well very little of this is true.  The policy changes, such as the squad concept are used by many FD’s throughout the United States.  The Paramedic Program was just given the highest award in the nation.  These policies work and save lives.  It is time the AFF gets with the modern age of firefighting.  If you don’t like the job then go somewhere that is not progressive and forward thinking.

In yesterday’s afternoon meeting, all the instances of discipline were broken down.  It was obvious to see that Chief Paulsgrove administered more discipline to the troops than Chief Crowson.  Concerning the Battalion Chief’s position, it was clear that a commensurate position at the Arlington Police Department is the Deputy Chief.  The Fire Department is simply aligning itself and making a new position called a Deputy Chief.  This position pays $5,000 more than a Battalion Chief, and you move from an hourly employee to a salaried position in management.  Chief Crowson is currently finding plenty of Captain applicants that are applying for this position.

Lastly let me address the AFF’s approach to Council.  This is inappropriate!  You have a chain of command, use it.  You have Meet and Confer, make it work.  Council heard your accusations in “The Book” and the Auditor found them to be false.  She also found your utilization of overtime to be abhorrent.  We have looked at the facts of the above accusations and found them to be false and/or childish.  We have conducted a survey by an independent source, and you have failed to respond.  And you say we have done nothing.  Now Civil Service!

What I think is hilarious about Civil Service is that the Union that is perpetrating all these problems, believes that if Civil Service prevails, firefighters will retain their current benefits.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  You want Civil Service?  You will get Civil Service and nothing more.  Good Luck.