VAFireNews.com Headline Animator

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

RFA Bowling Night, Officer Bryan Lawrence Motorcycle Ride, and a Rant at the End of it All

Hey all, the blog is still active. I have heard rumor of it getting shut down and that is not true. I have been busy. Very busy as a matter of fact. After all of the turmoil with the budget cuts, I have had to catch up on being a husband and a father on top of a little bit of travel. So I am writing this post as an update to several things.

First of all, the Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary (link) is hosting a bowling night this Friday. They need to know ASAP if you will be there. It seems as though we will have a great turnout already. More info:

The Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary is hosting a Family Bowling night for all union members including their families(including children). The event will be held Friday, June 13th from 7-10PM @ Hilltop Lanes on Williamson Road. The rate for bowling is $12.50/person (inclusive of shoes and unlimited bowling). Please respond to rfauxiliary@gmail.com if you will be able to attend and include the number in your party so we can give them a final count. Encourage all union members to come. You do not need to be involved in the Auxiliary at this time to attend. Feel free to forward to other spouses and union members. Thank you for all your support.
If you want, call me or let me know and I will let my wife know who is involved with the Auxiliary.

I would also like to note that the Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary is a great place for your spouse to meet other spouses of firefighters, have fun, and get away from us occasionally.

Secondly, the motorcycle ride is this Saturday. The motorcycle run in honor of Officer Bryan Lawrence is set to begin June 14 at the Roanoke Civic Center. More information here (link).

Thirdly, I have been in a rut recently and I think a lot of other firefighters have been too. The take, take, take mentality of Roanoke City and OUR Fire-EMS Department has brought us to an ever increasing low. I don't want to get into all the details, but if you look back at the most recent posts you will see what we have been through. I have bumped into Chief's here and there and it appears as though they think this stuff has no effect on us. Of course it isn't their fault because they were told to do it (right). The fact remains that our morale is at an all time low.

I have remained positive over the past 9 years that things will get better. I have always maintained a level of professionalism when someone contacts me about working in Roanoke. I have always shot them straight and told them the truth. That truth was usually that we have the same problems other departments do but that our FIREFIGHTERS make us exceptional. This thought was brought to mind in recent conversations with Chief Hoback. I told him that the statistics he used to close down Engine 13 were the same statistics we make happen. We are the ones who run the calls and get there quick and make a difference by mitigating the emergency. Not the "too lean" (by his account) administration. The truth is that we are in a catch 22. We can't sandbag on calls or drive slower, that isn't what we do. What we need is leadership in the Fire Department who will stand up and say that enough is enough and lay out a new plan instead of continuing on with Grigsby's 10 year consolidation plan.

Lastly, on a measure of Safety on the job. Please make every attempt to work as safe as possible. Every year we get busier and have less firefighters to do the job. Administration now looks at Station 7 as a 5 person group. However, you are only 3 strong if the ambulance is on a call. Please remember not to over commit to anything so that we all may go home in the morning. I can tell you that while some others might not give a crap while they sleep in their beds at night, I do care. I have enjoyed working with each and every one of you and I would hate to see any of us die amidst all this bureaucratic red-tape bullshit that is going on downtown. The FIREFIGHTERS are the ones who know what is going on and who will ultimately pay for these budget cuts.

Solutions: I will give you the ultimate solution. Chief Hoback should *gasp* form a committee of Fire-EMS Department representatives and IAFF Local 1132 Officers to sit down and create reform of the Department. I wish I could say I thought that up, but actually it is pretty much stated in the Tri-Data Study. This committee should first rule to cast out the 10 year Grigsby plan and come up with a 5, 10, and 20 year plan to reform the department. This committee should be tasked with handing down tasks to other committees to research, develop, and implement in our department. Everything from dress, to response, to apparatus, to pay and benefits should be reformed. I will be the first to put my name in the hat on that committee.

I will be at the bowling night Friday night. I hope to see you all there.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about this for an all-time new record in "micromanaging". We needed 3 light bulbs for the marker lights on Medic-4. Called the garage for a parts only work order. Same as we have many times before. Request the part, confirm that it is available, have the parts counter mark it and set it out, the messenger goes by and picks it up for us. A simple efficient process. HAH!!! Now the request for 3 bulbs must be approved by the Deputy Chief. UNBELIEVABLE. I have been a Captain the past 8 years of my almost 27 year career here. I am responsible for the safety and welfare of the men and women who work under my supervision on emergency scenes, but I am not responsible enough to obtain the needed lights to make a simple vehicle repair in the station without having to mark a piece of emergency equipment out of service. WTF.

Craig Sellers

Anonymous said...

Very simple Craig. There has to be a way to show that your job is needed. By being the middle man he can say my job is needed. That goes for all the chiefs in Admin. We have a few too many if you ask me. And if you ask Hoback you can take out a fire truck or two and it makes no difference.

Anonymous said...

I sure do miss the old days when all we had was Chief Quarles, Jessee and Mary. The three of them got more done back then that bunch gets done nowadays. Maybe we get talk Jessee into coming back and teaching the new regime how to run a fire department.

Anonymous said...

I must ammend my rant. Turns out that we are being "micromanaged" by the Fleet Manager. He is the one requiring that a truck be driven accross town @ 2-3 MPG @ $4.50 per gallon to have a mechanic @ $75.00 an hour change the bulb for us. Seems like there is an area on the merit review form that talks about using City resources wisely. Wonder what kind of score he got in that area? What a waste of tax dollars. Apparently the "new" Fleet Maintenence computer program designed to make things more efficient is going to cost the city a pile of money. Real "Einstines" I'll say. It's no wonder that there is no money available for anything else. Chief 2 informed me that he is exploring the idea of us stocking the common bulbs with FD funds.

Craig Sellers

Anonymous said...

Craig, you're so right. Your crew's fate is really in your hands, but you cant order a bulb or two without getting your PP smacked. I bet I know one specific shift and staion that can without anyone saying anything.

Anonymous said...

In a recent required class for my second job, we were required to watch a video clip that had an officer personnel (chief if you will) speaking to another office personnel (chief if you will) about where to place directional signs to relieve some of the confusion by it's customers. No big deal you say. Well, the person that is actually familiar w/ the building & everything about it made a logical suggestion from things he had observed (firefighter) but was overlooked by one of the businessman simply b/c he thought that just b/c he was a big time office man & this was just a janitor. My point is, if other businnesses can recognize that you need to listen to the people actually "doin' work", why can't the stubborn bull-headed individuals that we call "chief" do it. Word of advise Mr. Hoback, you're about to lose alot of good fireman that you will never be able to replace, no matter how many you have on your applicant list. Even though you were never a fireman & only served on an ambulance, surely you can understand that you can never replace experience. It's time to put the "I'm the chief" attitude aside & have a little bit of humility so you can actually open your ears & listen to the men protecting the citizens!!!

Anonymous said...

Even with all this BULLSHIT, we will still do what we do best. If its 4 on a truck or 2 on a truck we will still do our best to protect the citizens of Rke.City. So keep on cutting manpower, it will not affect anyone in Admin. or the CITY until someone gets really hurt. I just wish the people living in The CITY really could understand the crap that is going on, not just that we are bitching about money and so on. To the tax payers living in the city, if you have a fire and it burns to the gound, make you find out why. To the non tax payers living in the city, get out or get a JOB and start paying taxes your part of the problem also!!!

Anonymous said...

Craig your meeting late this afternoon 061108 on the radio wasn't about your post i hope. Keep on standing up, need more like you.

Watch House said...

During my travels around the city I heard that a Capt. was hit by a hose because a nozzle was put back together wrong, just checking to see if there was any truth to this, and if it was lets be a little more careful putting things back together. Forward is off, pull back is ON.

Anonymous said...

No troubles for me. Even Chief 2 stated that after he heard me mark out on the radio that he hoped he hadn't forgetten a meeting where I had to be "counciled" again. We had a man working with us that had transferred in from another station who had to meet with his Captain over an evaluation issue. No big deal. In reference to the nozzle issue, I did see it happen. We are VERY lucky that no one was seriously injured. To see a live line loose and 2 Firefighters on the ground is scary. 1 FF OK, the other just "dusted up" a little bit. The bale on the nozzle indeed was backwards. Don't know the specifics of how it got that way.

Craig Sellers

Anonymous said...

I got that way cause the person in charge of working on em' is too buisy kissing ass to pay attention to the work at hand. Hell, you got a 50/50 shot at getting it right when you put it back together?

Anonymous said...

I want to put my name in the hat for the committee you discussed.

Baron Gibson

Anonymous said...

if you could put a committee together I don't think only old guys should be on it. What I mean is the ideas of some of the newer guys should be put on the table as well. I don't know any new guys that would want to do it but I have a few ideas. I just think it would be good to get a point of view from both ends of a career and then a few in the middle.

Joshua Pruitt

Anonymous said...

Josh, your comment starts off bad but I believe you corrected yourself. It's my opinion that all committies should have a mixture of old school, middle of the road, and new school. I think that we all could contribute. McFall

Anonymous said...

yeah that was what i was trying to say. I was not trying to step on anyones toes. I guess I didn't use the right words. I know that having more years of service can make you wiser but the newer guys may bring a fresh point of view. The more seasoned guys could giude the new guys and all could learn. The biggest thing is that the newer guys will have to work here longer than the veterans. The decisions made today affect tomorrow

pruitt

Anonymous said...

Why do we need a committee when Big Red is the ultimate say so, and it will not matter how good of a plan you come up with, she will just force Hobbie to do whatever she wants.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget MEDIC!!!

OOS for TRAINING said...

Yes put some new guys on the committee, but make sure they know what they are talking about. Just because you have been here for a year or two doesn't make you a seasoned Vet. I know some think right after rookie school they are ready to ride the seat. I think we all know, we always have tooooooooooooo many chiefs and not enough indians!!!

Anonymous said...

Its time to call for a vote of no confidence. If Hoback thinks that there are no more than 5% unhappy firemen, lets go ahead and enlighten all. Rodney and Rett and all other brothers and sisters do you agree or am I out of line please does anyone have a silver lining, I hope am wrong.
FRANK RIZZO

Anonymous said...

You can fix tomorrow, they must really teach well in medic school.

Anonymous said...

THE CITY HAS STRUCK AGAIN
Now the city is taking away retirement benefits. The new change in health care for retirees. Basically you will be charged 1200$ 1800$ or 2400$ hundred per year plus the full premium of the active employee rate. These prices will also be raised with the times. This is TREMENDOUS, take just this new premium at current rates, 10years at 2400$ per year 24,000$ on top of the regular cost. These are tragic times when even our retirement is not safe. After they take out for your wife and insurance is there any left for the person who worked for 30 years. WTF X FOREVER

Anonymous said...

The city is at it again. Taking away retirment benefits, but if you ask, they tell you they were never promised anyway, (like they been doing us a favor.) what can't the city do..

Anonymous said...

No confidence, none, zero!

Anonymous said...

Can any of our citizens that are watching give us a good reason we should continue to serve them?

Year after year our approval ratings continue to outshine every other department in the city. We save lives and property at a higher rate every year. We continue to take budget cuts in stride and 'make do' with less daily.

So, johnny citizen, why are your firefighters so unhappy? Look into it.

Anonymous said...

Every day it seems I wonder when the next bad decision will come, it didn't take long. The new idea that has come from Hoback. yes it's a cut DA, station 14 reduced to 3. the reason to have more people in your core stations. That makes great sense lets leave one of the farest away stations with less men, not to forget that when people take vacation or get sick somebody will have to travel out there all the time. What does Hoback care he don't have to pay for his gas, this man is so far out of touch with the fire department it is joke.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Can any of our citizens that are watching give us a good reason we should continue to serve them?"


We serve the citizens because it is our job. When you start talking about having someone justify why you are going to do your job, it is time for you to get out. The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department is one of the best fire departments around. We do what has to be done, we do it well and we do it with whatever manpower and equipment we are given.

Get your head out of your butt and do your job.

It is fine for us to be concerned about budget and manpower cuts, declining equipment and fewer stations, but to say or even insinuate that the citizens need to justify why we should do our job is rediculous.

Fight the fight with the people that make the difference, even though the citizens elect council and Mayors, the council and Fire Admin are the ones that make the decisions affecting our department.

We WILL ALWAYS protect the citizens of this city, even with our lives is that is required. That is our job, that is what we do.

Anonymous said...

I'm done. Check please!

Anonymous said...

Look pal, when I said the citizens should give us reason to continue I was making reference to why we should stay. By no means do I suggest we would, could, or might think of stopping our well above average service. I was meaning we are the best at what we do, why do we stay here?