Fire Commission - December 14, 2016 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
December 14, 2016 - 9:00am

PDF iconDecember 14, 2016 final meeting Minutes.pdf


Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 9:00 a.m.
City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 416, San Francisco, California, 94102
President Covington called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM.  
Commission President Francee Covington Present  
Commission Vice President Ken Cleaveland Present
Commissioner Stephen Nakajo Present
Commissioner Michael Hardeman Present
Chief of Department Joanne Hayes-White Present
Raemona Williams Deputy Chief - Administration
Dan DeCossio Bureau of Fire Prevention
Tony Rivera Support Services
Shane Francisco Homeland Security
Jeff Myers EMS
Rudy Castellanos Airport Division
Jeff Columbini Division of Training
Assistant Chiefs
Kirk Richardson Division 3
Mark Corso CFO
Olivia Scanlon Communication and Outreach Coordinator
Jesusa Bushong Human Resources Director
Clement Yeh Medical Director
Jonathan Baxter PIO
There was no public comment.
3. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES [Discussion and possible action]
Discussion and possible action to approve meeting minutes.
• Minutes from Regular Meeting on October 26, 2016
• Minutes from Regular Meeting on November 9, 2016.
Vice President Cleaveland Moved to approve the October 26, 2016 and November 9, 2016 regular meeting Minutes.  Commissioner Hardeman Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes was unanimous.
There was no public comment.
Certificates and acknowledgement of appreciation of SFFD Lt. Ronald Johansen and H-3 Firefighter/Paramedic John Drake, Coast Guard members; Chief Petty Officer III Class Megan Vanhouten, Fireman Ryan Seaman, and BM2 Petty Officer II Class Justin Lubore, K2 Radames "Ray" Rodriguez and Fish and Game Officers Ryan Henson and Scott Murtha who took swift and decisive action at a bay rescue of a young man.
Chief Hayes-White asked Public Information Officer Jonathan Baxter to give a recap of the events of the October 29, 2016 bay rescue.  Paramedic Baxter explained that on October 29, 2016, a young man fell into the bay and because of the swift and coordinated response of the above recipients, the young man will live as the recue and treatment that was given that morning led to the successful outcome.  He added that he was proud of the coordination and cooperation displayed by all responding agencies, which together formed the basis for the successful outcome.  Chief Hayes-White presented each of the recipients with a certificate and along with the Commissioners, thanked them each individually.
There was no public comment.
Discussion and review of the harassment prevention policy.
Chief Hayes-White introduced Jesusa Bushong, who oversees the Department’s Human Resource Division to make the presentation.  Ms. Bushong gave a brief background description of the Department’s Harassment Prevention Training and what currently is required of the SFFD.  She mentioned that because of budget cuts in 2003, the SFFD had lost funding for their EEO Unit which conducted its own internal investigations.  When funding was cut, the Department issued a General Order in 2003 to explain to the membership the proper procedures for filing an EEO complaint.  She added that the General Order was updated in 2005 and that the anti-harassment discrimination and retaliation provisions have always been in the Department’s rules and regulations.  She presented the attached PowerPoint Presentation:
Ms. Bushong described the two theories of Harassment; Quid pro quo, which is when a complainant is subject to a request of a sexual nature as a condition of employment and Hostile Work Environment which may be based on any protected category and may take many forms including, but not limited to verbal, visual or physical, unwelcome conduct on account of the complainant’s membership in a protected category, which is so severe or pervasive as to alter the condition of the complaint’s employment and create an abusive working environment.  She went on to read the list of protected categories.  She mentioned that this training is provided at all recruit academy classes as well as to newly promoted Lieutenants and Battalion Chiefs, with the emphasis on officer responsibilities.
Vice President Cleaveland thanked Ms. Bushong for the timely presentation and mentioned that the Golden Rule is do unto others as you would have done to yourself.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked Ms. Bushong for her presentation and mentioned that he took his online Harassment Prevention training yesterday.
Commissioner Nakajo thanked Ms. Bushong for her presentation and confirmed that the entire department, uniformed and civilian, had to complete the online harassment prevention training, even though the law only requires supervisors take it every two years.
President Covington thanked Ms. Bushong for her presentation and inquired about implicit bias training.  Ms. Bushong stated that they are exploring the option and hope to have training rolled out sometime in 2017.  President Covington asked for an explanation of implicit bias and how it is identified.  Ms. Bushong described it as something in your subconscious, you may not necessarily be aware of it and it could be based on your experiences, your upbringing, or environment.  She gave an example of implicit bias as she herself being a Filipino, making a comment in the workplace that Filipinos are always late to meetings.  President Covington thanked her for that example and stated that it is universal, that every group has something to say about its own group that is not necessarily true for individuals.  She stated that implicit bias training and annual harassment training for every member of the department is important.  She suggested that an action item with a timeframe for implementation should be on a future agenda for annual harassment prevention training.  Commissioner Covington was surprised to learn that Harassment Prevention Training wasn’t required for all SFFD employees.
There was no public comment.
Report on current issues, activities and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting of November 9, 2016, including budget, academies, strategic planning, 150th Anniversary recap, special events, communications and outreach to other government agencies and the public.
Chief Hayes-White’s report covered events since the last meeting on November 9, 2016.  .  She reported that five months into the current fiscal year, the budget for both expenditures and revenues are on track.  She stated that 51 members from the 120th Academy class graduated on November 4, 2016 and the 121st Academy started on November 28th with 54 recruits, but unfortunately, due to an injury, one recruit resigned.  She announced that the H-8’s per diem paramedic pool is at approximately 85 members, that 16 members bumped up to H-3 Level 2 Paramedic and 10 members are to be bumped up next month.  She added they are also scheduling an H-3 Level 1 entry EMT academy in mid-January.
With regards to the strategic plan, she mentioned the final draft was sent to the Committee as well as the Fire Commission on December 13th 2016 and thanked all members for their efforts and hard work, specifically Deputy Director Mark Corso.  She mentioned that the 150th Anniversary celebration events have been completed which ended with a nice celebration at the Zoo, and she thanked the volunteers, the Guardians of the City, Ms. Olivia Scanlon, Lt. Mike Day and Firefighter Larry Yup.  She thanked all the members of the 150th Anniversary Committee, and specifically mentioned President Covington who had a pivotal role, and attended every meeting and all the events.  She also thanked her predecessors who attended some or all of the events, which included retired Chief of Department Ed Phipps, Fred Postel, Robert Demmons Mario Trevino and Paul Tabacco.
Chief Hayes-White announced the promotion of nine Captains and nine Rescue Captains and said that she will be making two Assistant Chief promotions once the list is officially adopted.  She talked about the meetings she has had with MTA in regards to bike lanes and the concerns the Department has with them.  She touched on the labor-management meeting with Local 798, the excellent screening of the documentary of the Gartland Street fire, the American Legion Awards where Captain Shattuck and Firefighter Cameron received acknowledgements and awards for their service and she attended the Department on the Status of Women Conference where she offered keynote remarks.  She mentioned that she attended the turkey carving event at the Salvation Army and St. Anthony’s Dining Room, the Macy’s tree lightning event and a Strategic Planning meeting with the Mayor’s Office.  She touched on the meeting she attended, along with President Covington and Vice President Cleaveland with Local 798 on the H-23 classification which continues to be a work in progress but she is confident they will move forward on it.  She touched on the meeting with the folks at PUC that she, Olivia Scanlon and Chief Rivera had regarding the status of the ESER projects, particularly at it relates to the water supply system.  She mentioned that she was at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting where Supervisor Peskin acknowledged members of the Department, Paramedics Carla Beyer, James Litwin and Doug Mei, under the direction of Lt. Gino Adams, Firefighter Robert Wong, and Paramedic/Firefighter Matt Farris and Firefighter John Vagenus for their phenomenal efforts in saving a 13 year old boy who had collapsed from cardiac arrest near Station 28.  Chief Hayes-White concluded her report by wishing everyone a very happy holiday.
There was no public comment.
Report on the Administrative Divisions, Fleet and Facility status, Finance, Support Services, Homeland Security and Training within the Department.
Chief Williams’ report covered the month of November 2016.  Chief Williams stated that the annual vacancy bid for Suppression members has been completed and the result will be implemented mid-January along with the reopening of Battalion 5.  Under Homeland Security, she announced that Chief Francisco continues to attend various meetings and training exercises disseminating awareness to the command staff of real or potential terrorist activity.  Under the Investigative Services Bureau, she reported that they continue to conduct random post-accident and fireboat drug and alcohol testing and there have been no positive results from those tests, as well as candidate background checks for the upcoming academies.  She reported that the Physician’s Office continues to administer candidate promotional probationary physicals for Department members, as well as return to work and work-related injury exams.
Chef Williams announced that under Support Services, Pump Station 1 is complete for the most part and all ESER projects continue to move forward and are on track, members of Station 16 relocated and demolition has started.  She stated that the construction of Station 5 has been pushed back to March of 2017, pending the successful contractor bid which is opening later in the week.  With regards to Pier 26, Support Services is working close with the Port for relocation of the fireboats during construction.  She added that the pile driving has been completed and construction will resume early next year.  She mentioned that under Fleet Management, all bids have been awarded, and apparatus are either delivered or on orderd and all trucks are being outfitted with cordless extrication tools.  She said that they are installing solar panels on all the ambulances in the fleet to reduce emissions and greenhouse gases.  She touched on the current academy class, EMS Division, in service training, NERT and Fire Reserves who have assisted with Habitat for Humanity and the SFFD toy program.
Chief Williams invited Chief Columbini, Director of Training to come forward to acknowledge a member of his training staff.  Chief Columbini mentioned that instructor Lt. Tyson Lee was recognized at the Fire Symposium in Fresno and has been recognized as one of the three finalist for Instructor of the Year in the State of California.  He mentioned that he is extremely proud of the job Lt. Lee does for the academy.
Vice President Cleaveland thanked the Chiefs for their reports.  He asked Chief Hayes-White if the relationship between the Department and MTA regarding bike lanes is amenable.  Chief Hayes-White explained the dialogue is lively but generally productive, and everybody has the City’s best interest in mind.  She added that they come from different angles with various missions and for the SFFD, life safety is critical.  She stated that getting from point A to B with the size of the apparatus can be challenging, although the members do an excellent job navigating their way through winding streets and up hills, there is a lot of congestion and one of the concerns is when there is an existing condition and it’s made more difficult, it become problematic for the members.  She added that she is very proud of the team she put together to work with MTA to come up with compromises.  There was brief discussion on the recent warehouse fire in Oakland and Chief Hayes-White stated it would be helpful at a future meeting to have an agenda item concerning the City’s inspection of warehouses.  She also mentioned that the SFFD reached out to the City of Oakland and offered support and resources.  Vice President Cleaveland thanked Chief Hayes-White and wants the citizens of San Francisco to know that we want to make sure warehouses are safe.  Vice President Cleaveland asked if there was any news on finding a new training facility, in the event of having to eventually move off of Treasure Island.  Chief Rivera stated there are many different possibilities, including a shared road course the Police Department.  Chief Hayes-White added that they are continuing to explore options and looking at vacant properties and looking to the School District for vacant properties, as well as private entities that may have other ideas in mind or may be willing to move locations.  She mentioned that beyond Treasure Island, she would be concerned to go any further than that because it takes companies out of service and it’s already a challenge to get them to Treasure Island.
Commissioner Nakajo thanked Chief Williams for her excellent report.  He appreciated that Chief Williams and Chief Columbini acknowledged Lt. Tyson Yee, and anything that has to do with the positives of the Department or any issues, the Commission would rather hear about it than not hear about it.  Commissioner Nakajo also commented that he thinks a discussion on warehouse inspections should be put on a future agenda.  He announced that it was a pleasure to join the Chief Hayes-White, Chief Williams and Chief Gonzales in distribution the 150th Anniversary commemorative coins to various members of the Department.  He acknowledged the Dugan family and Original Joe’s for providing lunches to all the members working on December 3, 2016, as well as the Lyft drivers who helped deliver the lunches.  He touched on the compromises and needs of the Department when it comes to decisions of the MTA and traffic calming issues.  He also acknowledged the good work of the individuals from the Department that saved the young man who had a medical crisis, and especially Chief Hayes-White who was able to relate to the mother of the young man through the translation of member Doug May.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked Chief Williams for her report and was happy to hear everything is on schedule.  He congratulated Chief Francisco for working on the grants, and Tyson Yee on receiving his well-earned recognition.  He also acknowledged Chief Hayes-White for all her hard work throughout the year and mentioned that she is the busiest person he knows and gave her an A plus for pulling off all the 150th Anniversary events, with the help of staff, Olivia Scanlon and President Covington.  He also gave a shout out to the SFFD Toy Program and encouraged all that were watching the meeting to donate.
President Covington confirmed that the current academy class will only have the legal holidays off, no extended time over the Christmas holiday.  She also confirmed that 16 H-8’s bumped up from Level 1 EMT to Legal 2 Paramedic in November and they anticipate 10 more in January.  President Covington commented that she thought the 150th Anniversary events were fabulous and having Olivia Scanlon be the key contact for a lot of the events was an excellent choice.  She was particularly impressed with the December 3, 2016 gala, that she and her son attended, with fabulous music, good food and the fabulous members of the Department who attended.  She touched briefly on the Mayor’s strategic plan retreat that was held in September.  She mentioned that she had a discussion with Chief Hayes-White and Fire Marshal DeCossio regarding agendizing warehouse inspections in the City for this meeting and it was the feeling that perhaps they needed to allow a little more time to pass before delving deeply into warehouse inspections and how they happen and the impacts upon people who may be living in them or not and it was decided it would be placed on the agenda in January.  President Covington confirmed with Chief Williams that the main reasons the Department sought training accreditation was to be able to get many of the smaller departments in the area to train at our facility as well as to provide certified training to the members of the SFFD and gain additional funding.  Chief Williams added that once they secure instructors, they will be able to offer additional training classes.
There was no public comment.
Discussion and overview of the City’s budget instructions and process for FY 17/18-18/19.
Mr. Mark Corso gave a brief overview of both the departmental process, as well as some of the higher level city financial information.  His presentation is attached:
Mr. Corso mentioned that for the most part, the budget process is quite similar to previous years.  The Department receives targets for general fund support reductions in December and the Department’s budget is due to the Mayor and controller’s office on February 21st and the Mayor then reviews all submissions in order to process his office’s budget that is due to the Board of Supervisors June 1st or before.  He added that budget hearings commence in late June and go through early July.  He stated the City is looking at some budget deficits over the next five years related to employee costs, specifically pension obligations and benefits and other factors such as increase in services that have been incorporated into the budget over the last few years.  He also touched on some of the challenges facing the city such as growth, recession recovery and the budget deficit.
Commissioner Nakajo thanked Mr. Corso for his presentation and asked for clarification on the two year budget cycle.  Mr. Corso stated that until they move to a fixed budget, every year they are essentially reevaluating the second year, which is now fiscal years 2017/2018-2018/2019 and there will be a number of modifications that the process undergoes.   Commissioner Nakajo confirmed that the Mayor’s office is asking all departments for three percent reductions over the next two fiscal years.  He added that last year when the budget was approved for the next fiscal year, changes to the overall city financial outlook have managed some modifications and additional request for reductions, including no new positions.  Mr. Corso mentioned that he thinks the Mayor’s office is committed to the H-2 hiring plan and anything that is above and beyond what has already been approved in the budget, is what would be at stake.  It was confirmed that the Department was reconvening its internal Budget Committee.
President Covington thanked Mr. Corso for his report and was interested in whether or not there have been any conversations amongst the members of the Budget Committee regarding grant writers and acknowledged the successful job Mr. Corso and Chief Francisco have done in writing grants.  Mr. Corso confirmed that that position has been brought up in both the previous years and he anticipates that it would be one of the talking points that will be coming out of the Budget Committee.  Chief Hayes-White explained that she will not give up, but she sees it as an uphill battle with the reductions the Mayor’s Office is requesting.  President Covington agreed with most of what was stated, but she was making a public commitment to fight for monies and dig deep to come up with good strategies, not just to survive but to be able to move forward.
There was no public comment.
8. FIRE COMMISSION MEETING CALENDAR 2017 [Discussion and possible action]
Discussion and possible action to adopt the 2017 Fire Commission Regular Meeting calendar. 
President Covington proposed cancelling the November 22, 2017 and December 27, 2017 meetings.
Vice President Cleaveland Moved to adopt the Calendar as amended.  Commissioner Hardeman Seconded.  The 2017 calendar was adopted as amended unanimously.
There was no public comment.
Email from Jesse Heitz dated 11/28/16
Emails from James Corrigan dated 12/2/16 and 12/5/16
There was no public comment.
Discussion regarding agenda for the January 11, 2017 regular meeting.
• Action Item on Annual Harassment Requirement
• Commission Elections
• Strategic Plan
• Action on H23
• Budget overview
• Warehouse Inspections
There was no public comment.
President Covington adjourned the meeting at 11:44 a.m.