Sunday, April 9, 2017


Part 143 states in its opening paragraph, “The purpose of this chapter is to secure efficient fire departments composed of capable personnel who are free from political influence and who have permanent employment tenure as public servants.”  This is where the discipline subparagraphs come into play, to secure permanent tenure.  Currently we have many layers of discipline ranging from informal to formal.  Civil Service however only consists of formal discipline administered by the Civil Service Commission.  I think that it is important to point out that the Chief currently does not administer discipline, the Assistant Chiefs do.  The Chief either passes it to the arbitrator or reduces the finding.  So understanding these simple facts let’s go to civil service.

In Civil Service the Chief will submit an infraction to the civil service commissioner, in a timely manner.  Facts can be submitted, but only infractions that have been in the last 180 days can be included.  That is all that can be considered.  The Commissioner will convene the civil service board, and review the offense and the personnel file.  Remember this: para 143.089 3b “A letter, memorandum or document relating to alleged misconduct…may not be placed in the person’s personnel file.”  Both sides present to the commission, and the commission has the ability to dismiss the charge, give a 15 day suspension or an indefinite suspension.  That is all.  The firefighter can impose a suspension of 16-90 days on him/herself.  The last step for Civil Service is to appeal to a district court.

Currently under “Home Rule” there is informal and formal discipline.  Informal discipline is given by the supervisor, and starts with counseling, and if the behavior continues, he gets an oral reprimand.  That is all there is to informal discipline.  If the behavior continues, then formal discipline is utilized.  A written reprimand is the next step by an assistant chief or supervising chief.  Next is a suspension, again by the assistant chief or supervising chief.  Next is a demotion, always administered by a panel of assistant chiefs.  And lastly is dismissal, again administered by a panel of assistant chiefs.  The Chief can either reduce the decision or agree.  All formal discipline can be appealed to a third party arbitrator.

As you can see there are several levels of discipline used in the current system.  The civil service only recognizes infractions of a serious nature, and disregards minor infractions that go unpunished.  These minor infractions could lead to serious injury if unaddressed. 

One of our Union firefighters wrote: “Members are disciplined at an alarming rate with punishments far exceeding the circumstances.” This is simply not true!  A comparison reviewing former Chief Paulsgrove’s discipline record compared to Chief Crowson’s, shows that Crowson’s disciplinary actions were 23% less than Paulsgrove’s for the same amount of time.  Concerning the disciplinary actions severity, Crowson has had 4 arbitrations in 6.5 yrs.  Only one was reduced by an arbitrator.  Remember that the Chief doesn’t set the level of punishment, the assistant chiefs do.

I think that the difference in the two systems is best represented by Officer James Dunn’s case in Ft. Worth, which is civil service.  Six years ago Officer Dunn was writing tickets and changing the times so that he could claim overtime that he hadn’t worked.  Essentially stealing money that he didn’t earn from Ft. Worth taxpayers.  He was reinstated because his supervisor didn’t catch the mistakes.  He was awarded all back pay, $400,000 and given his job back.

Arlington recently had 16 officers that were falsely documenting fake traffic stops.  All 16 officers turned in their badges and will never be a police officer in the state of Texas again.  Voters will have an opportunity to select which system they want in the future.  I will be voting NO for civil service on 24 April, the first day of early voting.  Election day is May 6th.


  1. Maybe citizens would have a better understanding of the discipline processes the city uses now if you published a history under Crowson and Paulsgrove. Then we could see what people did and what the level of punishment was. Are people getting fired for wrecking fire trucks, or are they getting fired for not washing fire trucks (I see them do that at my closest station)? The first example might be reasonable, but the second isn't. We hear about cops getting suspended or fired because it makes the news, but not much about firefighters.

  2. A comparison was done comparing Chief Paulsgrove's last six year with Crowson's last six years. The comparison showed that Chief Crowson is 23% less likely to discipline his troops. It shows that Crowson has had 4 arbitrations in the last 6 years and only one arbitrator reduced the sentence. This is a very lenient record. So the claims of the firefighter that stated and increased frequency with sever punishments is categorically wrong on every count.

  3. Thank you for posting and informing citizens of the actual policies. Thank you for saying no to civil service! Thank you for making sure our fire and police remain the cream of the crop!

  4. Andi, many of the union's activists have disciplinary records or have been past over for chief promotions because they are more union than city management oriented. Its your choice. Do you want union managers spending money and letting their buddies off easy with discipline?

    Their president is just a firefighter and never took a promotional test there or where he came from. He left Desoto at 36, because he couldn't hack being a paramedic and having to work on a two-person ambulance. Here in Arlington he gets to hide within a three or four person crew.BTW, under civil service he couldn't have come here.
    One of their white male VPs was suspended for abandoning a patient and not supervising his crew. The pt. was black female that he deemed was "just drunk".
    Another leader was suspended for social media infractions, he blasted the cops for saving some lives at a fire.
    Another VP was suspended for calling in sick and then going snow skiing. Many other of their activists have been suspended for retaliation on female subordinates or huge overtime scammers.
    Their president recently stated that he wanted civil service because he doesn't like people being hired or promoted because of "what they look like".
    The union is ran by old school bias men that want seniority and permanent employment. They hate the younger generations and diversity!
    Id identify myself, but then the union good old boys would blacklist me and ruin my reputation and career.

    Kill civil service, vote no, and let the chiefs, which have to be transparent and accountable to the City Manager and Council, run the department properly.

  5. I want to thank you for your courage in coming to this blog and telling what it is like to be an Arlington Firefighter during this time of union intimidation. I'm certain that it is not a pleasant experience going to work in an environment where open hostility is rampant for simply voicing one's opinion. We need more firefighters like you, to express the honest atmosphere behind the station doors. Thanks.

  6. Thank you Councilman Parker and Anonymous for telling the truth! Thank you for standing up for honorable men like my father, Asst Chief McQuatters! This is the kind of information the public needs to be made aware of. I responded to the affa's post about my father last week. I simply told stories about my father throughout his career in the hope of showing the public that he has spent 35 years risking his life for the citizens of Arlington. It is disgusting that the affa would accuse him of understaffing to save money just to elicit votes. My comment said nothing negative about the affa. It was just positive comments about my dad. And they deleted it. They are proving to be a group of dishonorable, immoral, bitter professionals, and the public needs to know that. Many citizens believe that the AFD is in support of Prop 2 because of the affa's "vote yes" signs. I am trying to spread the word. I know you all are too. Thank you for your support and courage.
    Anonymous, I am so sorry you have been bullied into silence. That is why this department needs good men like my dad, and not that crew of morons running the AFD. -Andi

  7. I posted this to the Arlington Professional Fire Fighters page in response to their post regarding Bill McQuatters, but they deleted it. So I'm going to repost here.

    Man, I sure do love that picture of my dad, Assistant Chief Bill McQuatters. My son has this exact picture hanging in his room next to his bed. Because he loves his Pa-Paw more than pretty much anyone. I am so proud of my dad for the 35 years of service he has put in for the Arlington Fire Department. I remember so many Christmases and Thanksgivings and birthdays that we didn't spend together as a family because my Dad was on duty, protecting the citizens of Arlington. And we were so proud of him that we were happy to wait an extra day to celebrate.
    One of my favorite memories of my dad's time with the AFD was surprising him one Christmas Eve. I brought my then newborn son to his station so surprise my Dad on this holiday that he wasn't spending with his first grandchild and also take a few, quick photos of my guys in their matching firefighter uniforms.
    I remember being 8 years old and watching my Dad study for hours on end for the Lieutenant's test. I remember being stuck in bed with the flu when the call came in from Bill Strickland, former Chief of the Arlington Fire Department, telling my Dad that he had earned the top score on the exam. I was beyond excited for him because all of his time and efforts had paid off.
    I've witnessed him help literally hundreds people on his days off until on-duty help arrived: car wrecks, bad falls, heart attacks, and even the little girl that busted her lip Tuesday at my son's baseball game. She just felt safer when the man in the uniform told her she was going to be okay.
    I have always been proud to tell people that my Dad is an Assistant Chief of the Arlington Fire Department. He has a greater work ethic than anyone I've ever met. He inspires me with the amount of time and energy he puts into improving the department that has given him and our family so much. During his time with the Department, he has shown me that no matter how hard you work, you will never be able to please everyone. So do what you think is right. Give it your all. Never half ass anything. Maintain your dignity and your integrity. I love him an awful lot. He is my hero.

  8. I wanted to let you know that you have been doing a great job of reading this blog, and being informed. Yesterday 545 people read this blog. Over 11,000 in the last month, and in the last 4 years over 131,000 hits. I believe this to be a valuable tool to get the information out to the public. Thanks for being informed.

    1. Thank you, sir! The fact that you use your spare time to educate your constituents makes you a great councilman!

  9. There is more to the story on the FWPD officer, he was told by his supervisor that it was ok, also the pay was from a grant from the state.

  10. Please let me get this straight. You believe that since the supervisor said it was OK that he should get his job back with full back pay? And that since it was grant funds from the government then the Officer wasn't stealing from the Ft. Worth tax payer just the Federal tax payer so it was OK? This is a POLICE OFFICER and his job is to apprehend people that break the law. When he doesn't know any better than to steal he shouldn't be a police officer at all, much less get full back pay for stealing. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU!!!!!!


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