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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The New Tradition...

I was just reading an email from Billy Goldfeder. The email wasn't to me personally, actually it was broadcast to probably several thousands of email accounts nearly daily. The email is titled the secret list. Long story short, it started many years ago between peers and today it informs thousands of LODD's, on duty injuries, accidents, stupidity, and the like relating to firefighters.

Today's email began talking about the Charleston 9 and then talks about an LODD in Deleware. In the email, Chief Goldfeder talks about a quote he heard from a non-firefighter. His discussion led me to another point off topic of Charleston's 9, however still near and dear to our hearts. Read below what he typed and I will comment afterwards:

Text below from Billy Goldfeder view entire email and sign up for the secret list here
I was recently in a meeting with our www.FireFighterCloseCalls.com website partner Gordon G along with some others who are deeply focused on the issues of firefighter safety and survival-and one of the comments that came up (from a non-firefighter) is "we need to see what we can do so fire chiefs, fire officers and firefighters can sleep better at night"...the simple but serious comment was referring to the many survival and risk related issues that are on firefighters, fire officers and firefighters minds when planning ahead...to avoid tragic events. When I heard that comment-and I love that comment-because it refers to some level of peace of mind when a FD is well led, well trained and well disciplined, I thought of the 9 Firefighters who were killed in the Line of Duty in Charleston. In thinking about the comment, if there is anything that can be learned from Charleston, it is that leadership of any FD, at all ranks, must look beyond what they personally "like" or the traditions they are "comfortable" with...and learn what the best practices are in protecting their members when providing service.

In many cases, what's best isn't always within the confines of our own departments. Chiefs, Officers & Firefighters: it isn't "our" fire...it is someone elses...and we have to do what is best for those having the fire-and must do our best for those who are fighting the fire. The folks having their fire called us to do whatever we can to make it all better. And our families expect fire leadership to do whatever we can (before and during) to avoid those operating from getting hurt or worse. Sometimes we have to get hurt or worse. Most of the time, we don't.
This hit me as an interesting thought, and I put a twist to it. The Firefighters in Roanoke have (had) a lot of tradition(s). We have given a lot of those up for more safe, efficient, smarter ways of doing things. Some of these traditions were given up voluntarily, yet most were taken away without a thought of asking us or allowing us to buy in to the new program. The thought that comes to mind is it being shoved down our throats. However, there is a new tradition in town!!! That tradition is budget cuts, engine-to-ambulance makeovers, and more work for less firefighters. This tradition needs to stop. REREAD the comments from Goldfeder above!! He is a Deputy Chief and he is saying these things. We have been saying it for so long.

I like some of the old traditions, I understood some of them had to pass. At least I was here to seem some of them go...On the other hand, who will not be here when this tradition passes. When one of us pay dearly with our lives and everyone points the finger at our Chief or whoever is sitting in that seat at the time, who will have resistance to change then.

It is plain as day, we need change for the better. We all had stock in the new regime, but it didn't pan out.

2%? 3%? 5%? I think not. Apparently, some of us aren't getting around to the stations like others of us. Most firefighters won't tell one of the 3 top Chiefs to their face that they are disgruntled and that the job has been damn near ruined because of poor decision making by the City and the Department.

I will tell you this, whoever is reading, I get around to the stations. I get around to them a lot. I run into firefighters at their stations, at my station, at the Credit Union, on fires, at the Union Hall, talk to them on the phone (a lot), get emails from them, read their comments. I bump into them at the grocery store, at the furniture store, at the restaurant, at the mall, at the doctor's office. I meet their wives, I meet their children, I meet their parents. I know every one of our firefighters names and a lot of their families. I enjoy bumping in to them. They mean a lot to me because they are my brothers, my sisters, my peers, and my friends. These people are disgruntled! These firefighters deserve better! These firefighters need leadership and they need a department and a vision, core values, and a mission they can believe in. Not just words written and hung in the stations, they need words that the leadership believes in and abides by. We need reform...now.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Core values, what is that? As long as they have shiny new take home cars and solid gold collar pins, that is all that counts. Engines falling apart, stations crumbling down.....

Anonymous said...

Roanoke City is governed with a defined pattern of operation. It is known as "Management by Crisis". This is Darlene Burcham's mantra. She is akin to people we all see every day. They live in a run down house, their yard needs mowed, the roof needs replaced. But, outside the house, in the 1/2 acre, unkempt yard is a 2008 Chevy CrewCab Dually, with all the bells and whistles. It is needed to pull the 20 foot Ranger Bassboat, the new ATV's, The Jet Skis, and the 30 foot fifth wheel trailer. Inside the rundown house is a 61 inch plasma TV, with 7:1 surround sound. Trash lays all around the house, because they don't have time or desire to clean it because they spend all their time working up scams and deceit to pay the payment bills, which doesn't work because the cost of all their toys takes more than they make, and they don't have any funds left over to pay for the necessities like the house care and basic needs. They think they need all the toys so people will think they are successful, but what they really need to do is lose all the toys, and concentrate on keeping their house in order. That is the city of Roanoke. Their toys, aka the Art Museum, the Amphitheater, kissing Carilion's ass, etc., need to be at the bottom of the list and the costs of maintaining the city, the employees and the tax base of the citizens is what they should be taking care of. So Darlene, Grigsbo, Hoback, Tartaglia, City Council, Gaskins, and all their welfare millionaire buddies keep running around like emperors with no clothes. People keep yelling at them about their fallacies, but they refuse to hear. They keep buying their toys, while the house falls apart. I think the only thing we can do now is run them out of the neighborhood. "Be nice" time is over, the gloves are off, and "ring the bell", so the fight can begin.

Anonymous said...

harumpft harumpft

Anonymous said...

I didn't get a harumpft out of you ....!

Valerie said...

Councilman Trinkle has a website and a list of his priorities or "Core Values" as expressed here.

http://www.davetrinkle.com/?page_id=4

The NOTE at the end states:

"This plan does not include the obvious day to day working of City Council and the Administrative Staff of the City of Roanoke. Such front of the line commitments and much higher priorities than some of the opportunities featured in this plan, include fire and safety, street and sewer maintenance, trash, and other daily municipal functions which are vital to any city."

Anonymous said...

harumpft

Anonymous said...

As a firefighter's wife, I have never been more fearful for sending my husband to work. My kids say their prayers at night for God to help keep Daddy safe. I laugh quietly to myself and say that We need all of the help we can get. Marie, I know, isn't scared that David won't come home. The biggest thing that may happen to him is a paper cut or hospitalization to due constipation for being so full of sh%#. There was a time when Hoback was alright. I always thought he was so charming and kind. Now I realize that it is a a necessity in dimeanor for a politician. I want Hoback to realize that I will hold him to the wall if ANYTHING (please, God forbid) ever happens to my husband. I will be there in full force to nail his a$$. And he will have to look my children in the eyes and tell them that he messed up. None of this crap that they always say: "He was a very brave man. He died giving the ultimate sacrifice for doing what he loved." And then later coming back in some report stating that something my husband did incorrectly or not by policy caused his death. If I can help it-he wouldn't even be allowed at the funeral. Only all of the brothers and sisters that truely understand what happened would be able to come and send him off.
I married my husband knowing what his job entailed. I married him knowing that every job has it's own amount of crap to put up with. I married him knowing that while he only works 9 days a month, everyday in between would be tied up in some other job because his fulltime doesn't pay enough. I can't wait until the city will actually pay him to never show up there again. We are counting down the days. My kids will have their Daddy back. Everyday, he comes home pissed off because of some more S%#& that they've pulled. And I worry for each and everyone of you. God willing, we will eventually get through to these jerks. Stay close, stay safe, and stay united.
Love you all.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should flood Mr Trinkle's site with 100's of emails telling him how swrewed up this city is.I know he will not do anything about it but we can be a pain in his side.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the total amount of $$$ that the city has "donated" to other organizations/"causes" since they cut our budget? I've been hearing that it is somewhere in the neighborhood of $5-$6million .

Anonymous said...

did you read the paper on tuesday that had the carilion/roanoke city mills story.

-from memory, it states the city bought the mill for ~$8 million dollars
they bought the scrap yard next to it for ~$150k

-the city is going to do the environmental cleanup at who knows what cost, then seel it to carilion to $150k. what about the price of the cleanup.
the city is then going to demolish the mill & sell the property to carilion for the land value. thats it, the land value.

All of this is done the the housing & redevelopemnt authority.
I think we need to evaluate the housing & redevelopments books as to why they get $8+ million to give away to carilion, but we had to cut near $500k from our budget.

Valerie said...

You are correct about the Mill. One of my CNA members called Jeff Sturgeon of the Roanoke TImes who wrote the article to ask him just
what the Authority is doing...He said they were the first people to ask him about the situation. He immediately suggested they write a letter to the editor which they did to get this in front of the citizens. Jeff reminded them the $8M that the authority paid for the property was taxpayer money. Look for the Letter To the Editor soon.

Anonymous said...

Beating a dead horse...per usual. Nobody is hearing what the FireFighters are saying because our voice has no muscle behind it. How about we not enter some of these houses that are not worth saving. We have a dangerous job already, there is no need to make it more dangerous so we can make ourselves feel like heroes.
All of the complaints on this website fall on deaf ears because no person of any importance gives a shit what WE say. Its nice to voice our opinions on this blog, but thats all we are accomplishing....venting to each other. Hoback, Grigs, Darlene, and council could care less about our well being or headaches.

Time to face the music. We are, and have been on a downhill slide with no brakes in sight.
Sol Rosenberg

Anonymous said...

I saw a report on the news that stated in the next year the cost of food for a family of four will go up on average $ 1500.00. That means with a 2% pay raise unless you make $ 75,000.00 a year you will have to either eat less or go in the hole. That does not even mention the cost of fuel it will take to get you to work. Think about that when you see one of the elite drive by in their city car on their way home.

Anonymous said...

Enough about the elite and their take home vehicles. Its a perk to the job. No different in any other paid fire department. Once you reach the top (or near the top) its built in to your compensation package....this is a business after all and other businesses give their top dogs cars to take home. Im not saying that it should be a brand new Durango or Explorer which is a bit excessive, but it is a perk for reaching those positions.
If YOU would like a city car to take home then get your education, kiss a bunch of ass, and climb that ladder like most of the people at the top did (and do).

Anonymous said...

Do you drive the white Durango?

Anonymous said...

Education don't mean anything in this dept, and i believe you ment to say SUCK A BUNCH OF ASS

PLATO REPUBLIC

Anonymous said...

I think that the chief should have a car as part of compensation, but not all of his buddies like it has become.
It has become bad when the wives are needed to talk because of the terrible shape in which the dept has become.
To get to the point HOBACK, here is what you do. If your so confident that only 5% is PISSED, then tell the news that your going to take your own count ON THE RECORD. Talk to every firemen and ask point blank are you unhappy with me as chief YES or NO. DO this out in the open where it can be recorded in anyway you would like. After that then decide what you need to do as chief. If your so sure this is not a problem do it. If you get even half I myself will NEVER say or post anything negative again, you have my honor on that. FIREMEN FOR JUST WORLD

Anonymous said...

No, I dont drive a white Durango and Im not sticking up for the person that does. I just want to open some peoples' eyes that MOST companies give vehichles to their upper management. If you do not understand that concept of compensation, then you never will.

And yes, education may not mean much in this dept because of the politics involved, but its certainly not a bad thing. May even help you with your grammar (which you so desperately need).

Like I said in the previous post, dont be disgruntled that the Chief gets to take home a car. If YOU want that car to take home then you will need to better yourself and play the game to get to that position. Myself....I dont want the responsibity of having to answer to who he has to answer to so I'm content with driving my own car.

Anonymous said...

White durango driver, just because other departments do it, does not make it right. For godsake just look at all the CEO leaders and Congress they practice these same perks and it has undermind our whole economy. The people who do the producing get less every year think about it. Try to think for yourself. no insult intended

B.S. SPOTTER said...

Climb the ladder like they did!! You got too be out of your MIND, or one of them. There is only 1 in the office that even came close to climbing the ladder. Most of them there probably are to scared to climb a real ladder. You are right about the perk of the job, I will give you that, but climb a ladder come on.

BS Spotter said...

Sorry I wanted to take "or one of them" out of the last comment. My bad.