Fire Commission - April 12, 2017 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
April 12, 2017 - 9:00am

PDF iconApril 12, 2017 final meeting Minutes.pdf

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 416, San Francisco, California, 94102
President Cleaveland called the meeting to order at 9:02 AM.  
Commission President Ken Cleaveland Present  
Commission Vice President Stephen Nakajo Present
Commissioner Michael Hardeman Present
Commissioner Francee Covington Present
Commissioner Joe Alioto Veronese Present
Chief of Department Joanne Hayes-White Present
Mark Gonzales Deputy Chief – Operations
Raemona Williams Deputy Chief – Administration
Dan DeCossio Bureau of Fire Prevention
Tony Rivera Support Services
Andy Zanoff EMS
Shane Francisco Homeland Security
Rudy Castellanos Airport Division
Jeff Columbini Division of Training
Assistant Chiefs
Bob Postel Division 2
David Franklin Division 3
Mark Corso CFO
Olivia Scanlon Communication and Outreach Coordinator
Clement Yeh Medical Director
There was no public comment.
3. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES [Discussion and possible action]
Discussion and possible action to approve meeting minutes.
• Minutes from Special Meeting on March 16, 2017.
• Minutes from Regular Meeting on March 22, 2017.
• Minutes from Special Meeting on March 22, 2017.
Commissioner Hardeman Moved to approve the above meeting Minutes.  Vice President Nakajo Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes was unanimous.
There was no public comment.
Chief of Department, Joanne Hayes-White will present Ms. Ginny Franklin with a certificate of appreciation and recognition for her outstanding and dedicated service as an SFFD employee over the past 37 years.
Chief Hayes-White introduced Ginny and praised her for being one of the most dedicated civil servants, not just with the San Francisco Fire Department, but probably in the city’s history.  She went on to present Ginny with certificates acknowledging her for honorable and distinguished service over the past 37 years, from the Department, the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor’s Office.  Ginny accepted the certificates and thanked everyone for acknowledging her and stated that she really enjoyed working fort the Fire Department.
Commissioner Covington thanked Ginny Franklin for always being diligent and positive and shouldering quite a heavy load and wished her a great retirement.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Ginny for her years of service and was honored to be on the commission for 22 of her 37 years as the secretary to CD2 and reminisced that when he was a new commissioner, her face was the warm and friendly one he remembers and thanked her again for all of her giving and heart.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked Ginny for serving the City and mentioned that she has a great family tradition and that she’s a shining example of what’s best in a public servant.
Commissioner Veronese thanked Ginny for her service even though he just met her and thanked her for her 37 years of service.
Fire Reserve Commander Phil Buckley to provide an update and overview of the SFFD Fire Reserve Program.
Commander Buckley introduced Deputy Commander of Operations, Nate Norris, and Deputy Commander of Administration Steve Dong, Captain Veronica Pena and Lieutenant Andres Marks.  He stated that the Fire Reserves is a sworn volunteer organization of San Francisco, dedicated to servicing the people of the City and County of San Francisco and their primary mission is to provide training and support for the San Francisco Fire Department during large-scale emergencies, including greater alarms, as well as natural and man-made disasters.  Their secondary mission is to provide training and experience for San Franciscans interested in a career in firefighting.  He added that the fire auxiliary reserves was created under Section 37-11 of the San Francisco Administrative Code in 1950 and they are governed by the San Francisco Fire Commission.  He reports directly to Assistant Deputy Chief Jeff Columbini and all SFFD regulations apply to them. He added that they use the same training curriculum as the San Francisco Fire Department does in their training academy, which includes having to have an EMT license, CPR card, and they need to be San Francisco residents, which is vital if there is a disaster, as they need to be able to respond quickly.   He presented the attached PowerPoint:
Commander Buckley acknowledged dedicated Fire Reservist Ioanna Stergiades, who recently moved to LA and made a generous donation to the fire reserves.  Deputy Commanders’ Norris and Dong thanked the Commission for their continued support and for the opportunity to present at the meeting.
Commissioner Covington thanked them for their presentation and the rest of the reserves for volunteering. She mentioned that during the huge Mission Fire a couple of years ago, how wonderful it was to see so many reservist deployed to help with that fire.  She asked how the Department supports the reserves.  Commander Buckley stated that they support them with training officers that meet with them every Thursday night at the training facility either on Treasure Island or Folsom Street and offers support through drills and expertise.  He added that they are funded through Grants and Donations.  He is very grateful to the Department for the donations of equipment.  Commissioner Covington confirmed that the SFFD Reservist Program is very unique in California, with only one other in Sacramento that they are aware of.  Deputy Dong went on to explain the history of the fire reserves and their relationship with the Commission, which began in 1950 as part of the city’s administration code and requires the Commission to have control over their uniforms, rules and regulations.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Commander Buckley for his comprehensive presentation and the command force, members of the fire reserves and stated he really enjoyed the booklet they passed out containing all of the historical content and what an accomplishment it is to have recently celebrated their 75th anniversary.  He added that he appreciates all the work and support the reservist provide to the Department, particularly at greater alarm fires and has great affection and respect for the folks in that program.  Vice President Nakajo also acknowledged all of the community volunteerism that they do, including for the Japanese American community, and members of the Kimochi Senior Center, and at the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked Commander Buckley for his 18 years of dedicated service.  He mentioned that the program he runs is like having interns for the SFFD in many respects, with 16 reservists being hired by the Department recently.
Commissioner Veronese asked how many reservist there were in the 1940’s.  Deputy Commander Dong answered that because the war was likely going to be inevitable, it was quite impressive at the time that the city had the foresight to organize and create the fire reserves which was about 10,000 volunteers who wanted to be a part of it, especially after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Commissioner Veronese stated that he would like to attend one of the trainings as he has a special interest in the reservist programs.  He confirmed that the members are sworn volunteers but with no compensation.
Chief Hayes-White acknowledged and thanked Commander Buckley for the wonderful reserve program he runs, as well as all the members that volunteer and dedicate their time to make the Department a better one.  She mentioned that as a former Director of Training, she had the pleasure to work very closely with the fire reserves from 2000 to about 2004 and stated they are dedicated and professional.  She also acknowledged the great job her Division of Training does training the new recruits every Thursday night.
President Cleaveland complimented the amazing reserve program and asked what percentage of the reservists go on to getting a job in the fire service.  Commander Buckley responded that it is somewhere around 90 percent.  President Cleaveland added that if you want to be a firefighter, going through the Fire Reserve program is an excellent way to make it happen.  He asked Commander Buckley to submit an operating budget and see if in the future, they can adjust the budget.
There was no public comment.
Report on current issues, activities and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting of March 22, 2017, including budget, academies, special events, communications and outreach to other government agencies and the public.
Chief Hayes-White’s report covered events since the last meeting on March 22, 2017.  She started off by welcoming new commissioner Joe Alioto Veronese.  She acknowledged that the city is rich in history and tradition and how his family played role in that.  She also announced that Deputy Directory Mark Corso would not be at the meeting as his father passed away unexpectedly last week and respectfully asked if the meeting could be adjourned in his honor.
Chief Hayes-White announced that the budget is on track for revenue and expenditures and they will be presenting to the Budget and Finance Committee on April 27, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.  She mentioned that the 121 academy will be graduating Friday at 10:00 a.m. at Archbishop Riordan High School and everyone is welcome.  She acknowledged Assistant Deputy Chief Columbini and his staff for the great work that they did with the recruit academies.  She added that they will be starting the 122nd academy on April 24, 2017 which will be comprised of 54 members, 42 off the National Testing Network exam and 12 members from Station 49.  Chief Hayes-White announced that they are looking at offering a promotional opportunity to eight H-3 Level 2 paramedics and four H-3 Level 1 EMTs.  She also made 22 acting appointments, promotions in the ranks of battalion chief, rescue captains, captain and lieutenant as well as seven permanent H-20 lieutenant positons.
In regards to recent activity, Chief Hayes-White stated she participated in a fireboat design review panel that was very interesting, the Airport/Station 3 Grand Opening event, under the direction of Assistant Deputy Chief Rudy Castellanos, the Mayor’s women’s history event at City Hall, the SF Chronicle’s Vision Awards where Dr. Pricilla Chan received the final recipient award, the Cesar Chavez breakfast, a meeting with the Department of Human Resources on the H-23 classifications and H-20 lieutenants exam.  With regards to the H-20 lieutenants’ exam, she explained that many of the employee groups have sent letters addressing the minimum qualifications in order to sit for that exam.  She added that historically, it was a one-year period in order to sit for the promotional exam and in 2008, it was extended to three year, and in 2012, to five years.  She added that being the collaborative person she is, after hearing from the employee groups and their preference to go with a five-year minimum qualification, they are currently in discussions to work that out.  She also presented at the Department of Emergency Management three-day Epi-center Conference to talk about in the event of an earthquake, what the contingency plans are in terms of working collectively and collaboratively with other department agencies, and also with third party folks like the Interfaith Counsel, Red Cross and Salvation Army.  She participated in the Walk to Work day and she met with Supervisor Fewer regarding the role of the Fire Department.  She discussed other meetings and events she attended during the reporting period.
Vice President Nakajo thanked the Chief for her comprehensive report and suggested getting creative on the minimum qualifications for the H-20 exam, that it would be nice for the members who have served more than three years and less than five to have the opportunity to at least take the exam.  He also touched on the ongoing outreach to the San Francisco Board of Appeals referring to Section 17975, Article 2.5, the tenants’ relocation appeal process, and the information contained in the new safety packages, distributed by Lt. Jonathan Baxter.
Commissioner Hardeman congratulated the Chief on all the promotions,  He stated that in regards to the issues of the H-20 exam, he is on the side of experience as you’re going to be responsible for more lives and he agrees that the five years is a good amount of time.  He mentioned that he was amazed at how many people Chief Castellanos had at the Station 3 Grand Opening and it was a fantastic event and he really enjoyed the tour.  He also acknowledged dispatcher Janet Atchan, who was honored for her outstanding skills the night Police Officer Downs was shot.
President Cleaveland added his congratulations for a job well done to Chief Castellanos for the opening of Station 3 at the airport and commented that it was a very nice ceremony and nice crowd.   He also commented on the H-20 lieutenant exam and said he believes that if you have at least three years of experience, you should take the exam, but you need to have five years’ experience to actually be promoted to lieutenant.
There was no public comment.
Report on overall field operations, including greater alarm fires, Emergency Medical Services, Bureau of Fire Prevention & Investigation, and Airport Division and update on H-23 classification.
Chief Gonzales’ report covered the month of March, 2017.  He welcomed new commissioner Veronese.  He mentioned that during the reporting period, there were 13 working fires, one of which was a second alarm located on 39 Waverly Place with one civilian transported.  He stated the cause of the fire is still under investigation and the incident commander was Assistant Chief Burke.  He mentioned the big rig rollover off Highway 101 on March 4, 2017, the first alarm fire on March 9, 2017 at 390 Valencia where they rescued a 41-year-old female, a first alarm fire on March 9, 2017 at 457 30th Avenue and on March 25, 2017 a first alarm fire at 152 Langton.  He described other incidents that occurred during the reporting period.
Chief Gonzales acknowledged the great job Chief Zanoff is doing and mentioned he’s doing a lot of positive things at Station 49, such as he met with the ER director for SF Sutter Health Hospitals, is doing ride-a-longs at least once a week with the ambulance units and he’s planning a ride-a-long next week with EMS-6.  Chief Gonzales also acknowledged Paramedic Dan Nazzareta who participated in a program for health academy students at Galileo High School.
With regards to the H-23 issue, Chief Gonzales stated they are very close to finalizing the agreement.  With regards to EMS, he stated the response times for Code 3 transport units are on scene 94th percentile under 10 minutes and they are doing a great job and the ALS units are also under the seven-minute mark.  He touched on Division of Fire Prevention and Investigations and Fire Prevention Community Outreach, where they made it to eight neighborhoods the month of March.  The Accelerated Code Enforcement held nine administrative hearings for violations that were issued to 68 properties and the next hearing is scheduled for April 6, 2017.  He touched on Plan Check, TASC, and the Bureau of Fire Investigation where there are currently 117 open active fire investigations.
Chief Gonzales gave a shout out to his assistant Ginny Franklin, who will be retiring on April 21, 2017 and stated that she is a fabulous person, and does a fabulous job.  He said he couldn’t thank her enough for the job she’s done for him the past five years.  He told her to enjoy her retirement.
Commissioner Covington suggested continuing to distribute the Pet Fire Safety Tips to the public as she thinks it’s essential for people to have.  She also congratulated all the folks for the six-minute response times.  She also wanted to make sure the H-23 issues does not disappear as a line item in the budget as she really would like to see those positions filled.
Commissioner Hardeman commented that the report was a wonderful, well written and needed report and he appreciates all the effort that goes into it.  He also congratulated those responsible for the response times.  He touched on the automated signals in San Jose that he saw on the news.  Chief Gonzales responded that San Francisco has the capability to do that as well, but the problem is traffic conditions downtown, especially during the rush hour, that just because there’s a green light, if there’s nowhere to go, there’s nowhere to go, its gridlock.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Chief Gonzales for his comprehensive and detailed report.  He added that he appreciates the detail of the community outreach section that Lt. Baxter is responsible for.  He also commented on the great response times and touched on items listed in the Chief’s report, including Fire Prevention Community Outreach Presentation, Transportation Advisory Committee, and the Airport Division.  He announced that he enjoyed the Grand Opening at Station 3 and confirmed that the initial issues regarding the new Station 3 had been resolved, including the dormitory style rooms that the members preferred.  Chief Hayes-White added that regarding the layout of the new firehouses, they heard loud and clear from the members that the preference is to have a dormitory open style, even though the industry standard now a days is not that, and moving forward, to be consistent, they came up with a sort of playbook of what works best for the San Francisco Fire Department.  Commissioner Covington added that the subject of dormitories versus private rooms,, the firefighter have been very forth coming and very frank in what it is they want and they feel the dormitories are more collegial, and have more of a community feeling.  She added that some of them spend 30 years in the dormitories and get used to them and it is part of the San Francisco firefighter culture.  She stated that she thinks it’s wonderful that the members are canvassed and late accommodations were made.
President Cleaveland was amazed that there were over 8,500 medical calls and 5,800 transports in just one month.  There was brief discussion on the method of intubations.  He acknowledged the Fire Marshal, Dan De Cossio for putting together neighborhood outreach meetings to talk about fire safety, as it has been a concern in the city, particularly in certain communities and the outreach is so important.
There was no public comment.
Report on Commission activities since last meeting of March 22, 2017, including Vice President Nakajo’s recent ride-a-long with Station 49 Ambulance Crew.
Vice President Nakajo talked about his ride-a-long at Station 49 on Friday March 24, 2017.  He stated that he had the privilege of riding with Medic 79, Paramedic Chris Couch and EMT Leslie Fong.  He explained his observations and experience in detail including what it takes to get the members out in the field to provide the services for the public and the amount of time it takes to do every segment.  He added that the load up by the storekeeper is a very efficient system and was impressed by the professionalism of the members he came across during his ride-a-long.  He mentioned that the experience was invaluable, in terms of getting a firsthand point of view of what goes on.  He encouraged the Commissioners to take a site visit to Station 49 and see how much it has changed.  He mentioned how the experience reinforced the importance of Station 49 and the importance of the members that work long hours and how well rapid deployment works.  He concluded by thanking Chief Zanoff for his time.
Commissioner Hardeman commented on the recent NERT presentation he recently attended and acknowledged seeing Captain Erica Arteseros, Eli Thomas and his K-9 Vander.  He mentioned that it was a wonderful presentation.  He also acknowledged Commissioner Veronese and his mother, Angela Alioto and her father Joe Alioto.  He asked if Commissioner Veronese would like to give a little background on his self.
Commissioner Veronese thanked Mayor Lee for appointing him to the Fire Commission.  He stated that he comes from a long history of public service in the City and is proud of the service that his family has given to the City.  He mentioned that he attended school at UCLA, the Los Angeles Police Academy and was hired as a reserve police officer in San Francisco.  He joined the San Francisco District Attorney’s office as law enforcement officer, as a district attorney investigator.  He became an attorney while at the D.A.’s office, was on the Police Commission under Mayor Newsom and served as a senate appointee to the Criminal Justice Commission for seven years.  He provided additional information and concluded by stating that he is looking forward serving on the Fire Commission and working with the Commissioners, staff and Chief Hayes-White.
President Cleaveland thanked Commissioner Alioto Veronese and Vice President Nakajo for taking the ride along.  He added that most people know that 70 percent or more of the 9-1-1- calls are medical emergencies where the ambulances respond.  He added that he was delighted to hear that new Chief Zanoff is doing weekly ride-alongs just to understand what the rank and file are doing every day.  He also urged the Commissioners to do ride-alongs.
• Email from James Corrigan dated March 29, 2017.
• Letter from Janelle Caywood, Esq., dated April 5, 2017.
• Letter from United Fire Service Women dated March 22, 2017.
Discussion regarding agenda for the April 26, 2017 regular meeting.
• Vision Zero/TASC report
• Dedicated Marine Unit discussion
• Tsunami Preparedness update
• Solar Panels on Department Property
• Aerial Ladder Inspection
• Training Facility
There was brief discussion to put the April 26, 2017 back on calendar.  Brad Russi entered the room and stated that there was enough time to re-notice the meeting.  It was announced that the April 26, 2017 meeting would occur at 5:00 p.m. in room 400.
 Section 2004 – Restricted Passengers
 Section 3905 – Familiarity with the Rules
 Section 3907 – Safety Rules
 Section 3909 – False Reports
 Section 3919 – Proper Behavior
 Section 3921 – Inattention to Duty
 Section 3923 – Acts Detrimental to Welfare of Department
 Section 3941 – Use of Vehicles
The Commission is now considering proposed Findings of Fact in relation to that decision.
This case may be heard in Closed Session pursuant to Government Code Section 54957(b) and San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.10(b). 
A. Public Comment on Agenda Item 11; Possible Closed Session
Members of the public may comment on Agenda Item No. 11, including whether to consider the matter in Closed Session.  [Government Code §54954.3(a), Administrative Code §67.15(b)]
President Cleaveland called for public comment.  No member of the public came forward and President Cleaveland closed public comment.
B. Vote on Closed Session:
1. Vote on whether to conduct deliberations on proposed Findings of Fact in Closed Session.   [Action]
Commissioner Hardeman made a motion to conduct deliberations in Closed Session.  Commissioner Covington seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved.  (4-0; Cleaveland, Nakajo, Hardeman, Covington)
The Commission went into closed session at 11:15 a.m.
C. Deliberations and Possible Action 
1. Deliberations and possible action on proposed Findings of Fact (in Open or Closed Session, per the Commission's vote).   [Action]
D. If Closed Session is held, reconvene in Open Session
The Commission reconvened in Open Session to report action taken at 11:54 a.m.
1. Report on any action taken in Closed Session as specified in California Government Code Section 54957.1(a)(5) and San Francisco Administrative Code section 67.12(b)(4).
The Commission approved the findings of fact in this matter.
2. Vote to elect whether to disclose any or all discussions held in Closed Session, as specified in San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.12(a).   [Action]
Commissioner Hardeman made a motion not to disclose discussion held in Closed Session.  Commissioner Covington seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved.  (4-0; Cleaveland, Nakajo, Hardeman, Covington,)
President Cleaveland made a motion to disclose to the Fire Department’s Human Resource Division, the closed transcript of the evidentiary hearing and the Findings of Fact, but not disclose discussions held in Closed Session for the purpose of responding to the Civil Service Appeal.  Commissioner Covington seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved.  (4-0; Cleaveland, Nakajo, Hardeman, Covington,)
President Cleaveland adjourned the meeting in the memory of Claude Corso, Father of Director Mark Corso and Commissioner Hardeman acknowledged Brian Henning who recently died,  The meeting adjourned at 11:57 a.m.