Sunday, September 11, 2016

Professional Fire Fighters Speak Out but not the AFF


This last week I had the privilege of going to a fire station, where I encountered actual Professional Fire Fighters.   One was a union member, another was not, and a third was resigning from the union.  I went there because I wanted to educate myself on the matters that concern the claims of the union.  Although Victoria Meyer also attended with me, I can only state my observations:

  1.  Although 90% of the fire fighters pay dues to the union, very few are supportive of the leadership,  nor the direction of their union representation.  Of the six none wanted the Chief fired.  Some even think that the Chief is doing a good job, with some reservations.
  2. Although the union demands transparency from management, the rank and file was blindsided by the publishing of the “Book.” 
  3. Foremost in their minds, they believe that union leadership has a “personal vendetta” against the Chief.
  4. Lastly, they were surprised that a letter was filed with the city to start the civil service process.  Again a travesty of transparency.

I told them that as a response to the ”Book” the city took  union accusations seriously and had an audit accomplished.  Union response, “she did what Trey and the Chief told her to do.”  This is unfounded and not true.  Essentially, the chief took care of the personnel conflict, and hired fire fighters to correct the manning and overtime problems.  The other accusations contained in the “Book” were simply not true.  Secondly, the city took union claims of low morale seriously and appointed the Coleman Group to accomplish a survey.  When complete the survey had issues on both sides of the fence.  The Chief addressed each area of concern in a four page reply.  The union did not reply at all.  And lastly Councilwoman Meyer requested that a mediator be utilized, as an unbiased observer, to try and solve the union/Chief issue.  Union leadership reluctantly said that they would try.  The day before the meeting to discuss the mediator, the union files a letter to start the civil service process. 

Last Tuesday a fire fighter got up in front of Council who I respect as a person and as a professional fire fighter.  He stated that “he wanted the issue resolved.”  He also stated, “we spent $28,000 for the Coleman survey, so let’s do what Mr. Coleman told us to do.”  Although he was wearing a yellow shirt he spoke to the issue that everyone wants except the union leadership.  I don’t think that Mr. Coleman said to fire the Chief.  What he said in the survey was that until both sides want to discuss the issues, there will never be a solution.  So now the civil service process starts because this is what union leadership wants.  The line is in the sand and your union leadership has taken you across it.  As Professional Fire Fighters, are you going to follow the AFF or will you stop this train wreck that they are taking you to?  If you think civil service is the answer to your problems we will talk about that next time.   


PS:  Don't know if you all got this email so I wanted everyone to get it:




We have been made aware that Councilman Charlie Parker is currently visiting with our members at fire stations. Parker continues to be critical of us and the APFF.  He has called us "greedy" fire fighters and has discontinued using Professional when referring to the APFF because he does not believe we are.  We are asking you to record any conversations you have with Parker if he visits your station.

Your APFF
    

2 comments:

  1. Victoria Farrar-MyersSeptember 11, 2016 at 6:50 PM

    To be clear, I never felt "lied to by union leadership." I have had subsequent conversations with union leadership to better understand their reasons for current actions. I remain hopeful and will work with all involved to try to find a way through their respective concerns.

    Councilwoman Farrar-Myers

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would like to take this opportunity to correct the misstatement of the AFF. I am not critical of the Fire Department nor the Fire Fighters contained in the department. It is the union leadership with the agenda to fire the Chief that I have a problem with, and still do. And Yes I think the union leadership wanting another 1.5% was greedy. I talked to one fire fighter that had to find insurance for his wife. If the union would have accepted the 4% like the rest of the city staff, that would not have happened and I would not have had to vote NO on the FY16 budget. Check the record. And by the way, if you record a session the individuals who don't like the union will not be able to speak freely. I want to know what they have to say.

    ReplyDelete

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