Fire Commission - February 22, 2017 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
February 22, 2017 - 5:00pm

PDF iconFebruary 22, 2017 Final meeting Minutes.pdf


Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 5:00 p.m.
City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 416, San Francisco, California, 94102
President Cleaveland called the meeting to order at 5:03 PM.  
Commission President Ken Cleaveland Present  
Commission Vice President Stephen Nakajo Present
Commissioner Michael Hardeman Present
Commissioner Francee Covington Present
Chief of Department Joanne Hayes-White Present
Mark Gonzales Deputy Chief – Operations
Raemona Williams
Dan DeCossio Bureau of Fire Prevention
Tony Rivera Support Services
Rudy Castellanos Airport Division
Shane Francisco Homeland Security
Jeff Columbini Division of Training
Assistant Chiefs
John Cremen Division 2
Dave Franklin Division 3
Olivia Scanlon Communication and Outreach Coordinator
Jesusa Bushong Human Resources 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 Regular Meeting on February 8, 2017.
Commissioner Hardeman Moved to approve the February 8, 2017, regular meeting Minutes.  Vice President Nakajo Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes was unanimous.
• Minutes from Special Meeting on February 9, 2017.
Commissioner Hardeman Moved to approve the February 9, 2017, special meeting Minutes.  Vice President Nakajo Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes was unanimous.
There was no public comment.
Report on current issues, activities and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting of January 11, 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 February 8, 2017.  She acknowledged the presence of former Deputy Chief of Operations, Raymond Balzarini who was in attendance at the meeting and mentioned that she excused Deputy Director Mark Corso from the meeting.  She reported that the budget for this fiscal year remains on track for both revenues and expenditures and thanked the Commission for their support and involvement and that they were able to submit the budget in a timely fashion, along with a joint letter signed by her and President Cleaveland recognizing the three-percent reduction to the City’s budget and the Department’s concerns about creating an adverse impact on the Department’s operations.  She mentioned that the 121st academy class is its thirteenth week with 49 members and the date of graduation is April 14, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. at Riordan High School.  She stated that in regards to the 122nd academy, she is working with HR and they have a number of alternates that were selected for the last process which they will move into the conditional phase, in addition, backgrounds will be sent out to a larger applicant pool for consideration for the April and September academy classes.  She touched on the recent internal promotions, including seven H-8’s who became full-time H-3 Level 2’s, 18 former H-3 Level 1 EMT’s are now H-3 Level 2 paramedics and 2 H-2 firefighters who became H-3 Level 3 fully cross-trained Firefighter Paramedics.  She commended the good work of HR and the Department of Training under the leadership of Chief Columbini.  Chief Hayes-White announced that they are in the process of selecting an EMS Division Chief and she anticipates that interviews will take place next week and that the H-40 Battalion Chief list was adopted February 22, 2017.
Chief Hayes-White touched on events that she attended including on February 9, 2010 celebration for the Year of the Rooster at City Hall, hosted by Mayor Lee and his staff, the High-rise drill at 525 Market Street on February 10th and 11, 2017, which was also attended by Chief Gonzales, Chief Columbini and Vice President Nakajo, the Chinese New Year’s Parade on February 10, 2017, along with President Cleaveland, Vice President Nakajo and Commissioner Covington.  She acknowledged the Asian Firefighter’s Association for the dinner they provided following the parade.   On February 13, 2017, the ambulance working group reconvened which President Cleaveland and Vice President Nakajo participated in and she announced her appreciation of their support.  She mentioned that the goal is to have a transport unit on the scene of a Code 3 emergency, within a 10-minute timeframe in the 90th percentile so that they can get the critical patient to one of the nine receiving facilities, and with call volume up and other challenges, they are seeing response times creeping up and they want to get suggestions on how to get back to the 90th percentile.  On February 14, 2017, she, along with Chief Raemona Williams had the opportunity to attend a ceremony put on by the Rotary Club where they acknowledged longtime member Firefighter Derek O’Leary, who served the Department from 1969 until 2001.  She acknowledged that it was Assistant Chief Dave Franklin’s birthday and he put on a luncheon for the 150th Anniversary Committee members, and she attended the swearing in for City Administrator Naomi Kelly at City Hall on February 16, 2017.
An announcement was made that because of the large attendance at the meeting, the Sherriff was opening up an overflow room.  The standing audience was asked to move to room 421.
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 February 2017.  She mentioned that the Assignment Office is working with the Division of Training in scheduling probationary firefighters, as well as the H-3 Level 1 and Level 2 ridealongs.   Regarding Homeland Security, she reported that Chief Francisco continues to attend various meetings and training exercises as well as updating the Command Staff on real and potential terrorist activities.  He has prepared the event action plan for the Chinese New Year’s Parade, met with various vendors regarding the FDOC update project and updating the Department’s continuity of operations plan, as well as the tsunami plan, which are all works in progress.  Chief Williams reminded the public that if you see something, say something.  With regards to the Investigative Bureau, she announced that during this reporting period, the bureau has conducted various background testing for candidates for upcoming academies, as well as 39 random drug and alcohol tests which were all negative.  She mentioned that the Physician’s Office continues to administer promotional probationary pre-employment physicals for Department members, as well as job-related injuries and return to work exams.  Under Support Services, she announced that Pump Station 1 has been extended due to the current testing of the fuel tanks and pumps on site, and are near completion and she added that all ESER projects continue to move forward and are on track.  She mentioned that Chief Rivera is working with Central Shops and are in the process of outfitting Hose Tender 18 with Gleason valves and should be in service next month.  Chief Williams added that they are working with MTA to standardize residential parking permits for fire stations and members.  With regards to Station 5, she announced that the contract was awarded to Alten Construction and they are tentatively scheduled to begin in April and anticipated to complete the project by the summer of 2018.  Station 16 is behind schedule due to inclement weather and other permitting issues that have since been resolved, and the contractor believes the project will still be completed on schedule.  She acknowledged the Training staff and the good work they do as they are preparing for an upcoming fire behavior building construction training module as well as all the training and specialized training they perform, including the high-rise building drill which was conducted over the weekend.  She stated that PG&E is working with the Department for training on how to respond to various utility type emergencies, as well as BART and Muni, which is an annual training that is conducted where members train on how to perform rescues with regard to BART and Muni, including auto extrication.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Chief Williams for her comprehensive report and wished Chief Franklin a happy birthday.  He also welcomed former Chief Ray Balzarini.  He asked for more information on the active shooter drill and Chief Columbini stated that the training will start on March 6th for a week at the airport, working with Chief Castellanos.   Vice President Nakajo commended the Asian firefighters for the Chinatown parade and the dinner that followed and acknowledged the large contingent that showed up to participate in the parade.  He also commended Chief Columbini and Chief Postel for the great job they did at the high-rise drill.  Vice President Nakajo suggested that when the time comes for promotional ceremonies, he would like it to occur during a televised Commission meeting as it is a good way for the public to acknowledge the members.  He added that he was looking forward to attending the EMT graduation on Friday on Treasure Island.  He announced that the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation is having their fundraiser on Saturday, March 4, 2017, and the entire commission supports the work that occurs through that foundation.
Commissioner Hardeman stated he was out of town at his daughter-in-law’s soccer tournament during the Chinese New Year Parade, and he was sorry he missed the parade.  He also commended Derek O’Leary on his recognition from the Rotary Club and mentioned that he and Mike O’Leary, Derek’s dad, were on the same 8th-grade basketball team and they won the city championship.  He thanked retired Chief Balzarini for coming to the meeting and wished Chief Franklin a happy birthday.  He mentioned that on his way to the meeting, he ran into Mayor Lee and had a nice conversation and Mayor lee wanted everyone to know that he is working on getting a 5th Fire Commissioner and that he’s following the Fire Department closely and appreciates all that happens here and appreciates all the commissioners.  He added that he was happy to see that the recent promotions are causing a is known effect for near future promotions.
Commissioner Covington thanked Chief Hayes-White and Chief Williams for their reports.  She asked Chief Hayes-White if she could provide further information concerning the dialogue she is having concerning the budget and if it included the most recent addition of the 59-million dollars that has been discovered.  Chief Hayes-White stated it was her understanding the figures would be adjusted, but she has not had that discussion one on one, the city is still projecting a deficit but she believes they are making some readjustments and anticipates it will be part of the ongoing dialogue.  Commissioner Covington suggested lobbying as much as possible to have some leeway in terms of cut backs that the Department has been requested to make.  Commissioner Covington remarked that with the news of the loss of members from the current academy class, it is very important that they start with robust numbers in academy classes so that they can have the numbers that are needed going forward, with upcoming retirements, so the Department is not caught flat-footed.  Chief Hayes-White added that it is not realistic to assume that everyone who starts the academy finishes.  She mentioned that she attended the SFPD graduation on Friday and they started with an academy of 50 and graduated 35.  She added that it is always difficult losing even one person, it’s a rigorous schedule and there is a lot of expectations.  The Division of Training Staff, meets the candidates more than halfway and they put their heart and soul into it and they work very hard for everyone to succeed.  They touched on the medical and physical requirements for members being promoted and the Physician’s Office role in that regard.  Commissioner Covington thanked everyone who participated in the high-rise drill and mentioned that the New Year’s Parade was fabulous along with the food and thanked the Asian Firefighters Association for hosting the event.  Commissioner Covington asked if the Friday and Saturday slower response times are due to traffic congestion or higher call volume.  Chief Hayes-White answered that it is a combination and they are looking at a number of things including the time the ambulances have at the hospitals, the nine receiving hospitals, how long they are waiting to transfer care of the patient, shifts of the private agencies as well as to make sure they’re compatible or staffing up during peak periods.  She added that the controller’s office agreed to recalculate the number of FTEs that we have and provide an analysis and when they reconvene, they can review the data.  She thanked Chief Franklin for hosting the 150th close out luncheon and mentioned that the 150th was a busy year and a good year for the Department.  Chief Francisco briefly spoke about the tsunami plan, stating that it is a city wide plan not specific to the fire department.
President Cleaveland mentioned that he thinks the annual high-rise drills are critical and very important and he appreciates the Fire Department working with the private high-rise sector of the community.  He also suggested that the ambulance working group focus on the patient delivery to the hospitals and see how to cut down on wait times for the patient care transfer so they can get the ambulances back into service.  He thanked everyone involved with the Chinese New Year’s Parade and Chief Rivera for getting a nice ride for the Commissioners, as well as the Asian Firefighters Association for the nice dinner they put on.  He was glad to hear there was talk on the residential parking as there have been numerous letters and complaints about members illegally parking at fire stations and confirmed that the firefighters pay for those permits, not the Department.  Commissioner Hardman made brief statements on emergency flood outfits for the SFFD.
There was no public comment.
Discussion regarding responsibilities assigned to the Port Fire Marshal.
Port Fire Marshal introduced himself and gave a brief history of his time with the Department.  He’s been the Port Fire Marshal for almost five years.  He explained the makeup of the Port and mentioned that there are no addresses, everything is known either by pier or seawall lot.  He presented the attached PowerPoint:
Vice President Nakajo mentioned that he appreciated Port Fire Marshal Cofflin’s presentation and that in his 21 years on the Commission, it’s the first time he’s seen the Port update or presentation with this kind of detail.  He asked where Pier 1 was.  Port Fire Marshal Cofflin answered that it is at the Embarcadero and Washington Street.  There was brief discussion on the advocacy for a new fire protection engineer to design the sprinkler and standpipe system on Pier 31.  Vice President Nakajo mentioned that he has noticed a lot of development and activity at the Port and that he remembers historically there had been some very large pier fires.  Port Fire Marshal Cofflin reports directly to Fire Marshal Dan DeCossio.
Commissioner Hardeman mentioned that there is a huge group of construction workers located at Pier 50.  Port Fire Marshal Cofflin stated that Pier 50 now is the Maintenance Division.  Commissioner Hardeman confirmed that the new Warriors Arena will not fall under the jurisdiction of the Port.
Commissioner Covington thanked Port Fire Marshal Cofflin for his report and thanked Commissioner Hardeman for suggesting this as an agenda item.  She mentioned that she had attended many of the listed events and that she’s a great America’s Cup fan, having taken classes regarding America’s Cup history.  She confirmed that the fire protection engineer is supported financially by the Port, but the Fire Department advertises the job, accepts the applications and hires the engineer.  There was brief discussion on the Port becoming a historic district.  Commissioner Covington asked if the state provides any money for upkeep.  Port Fire Marshal Cofflin responded no, the state does not provide money for upkeep.
There was no public comment.
Discussion, expectations and overview on H-2 recruit training.
Assistant Deputy Chief Columbini introduced Captain Sato and Rescue Captain Nick Payne who are extremely dedicated to the recruits and the Division of Training.  He mentioned that he would give a brief overview of the academy and the changes that took place from the beginning of 2016 to now.  He mentioned that they made changes to the curriculum due to the State Fire Marshal’s office many changes, connecting with the national NFPA standards.  They knew if they didn’t make changes, it could affect grant eligibility, mutual aid, industrial standards and training levels and most importantly the opportunity to improve the future of firefighters that they were ready to train.  Chief Jeff Columbini presented the following PowerPoint.
Commissioner Covington thanked Chief Columbini for the update and stated that these are exciting times for the Division of Training and a lot has happened in a year.  She asked how many academies are in the State of California.  Captain Sato responded that there are 12 accredited local academies through the State Fire Marshal’s office, but he didn’t know how many different departments have their own academies that are not accredited.  She commended Lt. Yee for his achievements and asked him to tell a little about himself.    He mentioned that he has been at the Division of Training on and off since 2010, he was born and raised in San Francisco and went to Cal.  He added that working for the SFFD was the best job in the world.  Commissioner Covington asked if other departments would be using our training facilities.  Chief Columbini stated that they have done that in the past, but unfortunately, because of the tight training schedule they have for the next three years, they are unable to offer that.  He added that he is excited about the news regarding the search for a new training facility and that he has been fortunate to be attending meetings with Chief Rivera, meeting with DPW on a weekly basis and the ball is rolling.  Chief Hayes-White added they are exhausting all avenues related to replacing the Treasure Island training facility, which she thinks they will be occupying into the early 2020 decade, but have had ongoing discussions with Brian Strong of Capital Budget and talking to the San Francisco Unified District board and possibly partnering with the PD to do some combined training.  She also stated they’re looking at placing a state of the art training facility on a bond.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Chief Columbini for his excellent report and acknowledged Captain Sato and Lt. Yee.  He also acknowledged Mayor Lee for his support toward the Department with funding the H-2 classes.  He commended EMS Rescue Captain Nick Payne.  He also acknowledged Chief Hayes-White for her support toward the Training Division.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked Chief Columbini and asked when the State Fire Marshal put out notice of new requirements, what is the time limit to comply?  Chief Columbini responded that with the backing of the Mayor’s Office and the Chief, working with Captain Sato, they try and make the changes as quickly as possible to make sure they fit into the curriculum and firefighting in San Francisco and once they do that and it is a good fit, they put it in.  Commissioner Hardeman also commended Chief Columbini on his delegating skills, and that delegating is the most important quality of a leader.
President Cleaveland asked how may state master instructors does the Department have and what does it take to be a state master instructor.  Captain Sato answered that he believes they have four master instructors in the Department, him being one of them and it takes three different classes, and you have to meet the background requirements of being a training officer for a certain amount of time and having taught so many hours in the classroom either during basic firefighting or state fire curriculum.  President Cleaveland also expressed his appreciation to the Mayor for supporting additional funding for the classes that have taken place under the leadership of Chief Columbini.
There was no public comment.
• Emails from James Corrigan dated February 12, 13, 14 and 15, 2017.
There was no public comment.
Discussion regarding agenda for the March 8, 2017, regular meeting.
• Airport Update
• EMS-6 Update
• Emergency Communications
• Fire Reserves
• Tsunami Plan update
• Solar v. Green update
There was no public comment.
President Cleaveland adjourned the meeting at 7:09 p.m.