Fire Commission - January 25, 2017 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
January 25, 2017 - 5:00pm

PDF iconJanuary 25, 2017 final meeting Minutes.pdf


Wednesday, January 25, 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 5:00 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
Jeff Myers EMS
Rudy Castellanos Airport Division
Jeff Columbini Division of Training
Assistant Chiefs
Dave Franklin 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 January 11, 2017.
Commissioner Hardeman Moved to approve the January 11, 2017 regular meeting Minutes.  Vice President Nakajo Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes was unanimous.
There was no public comment.
5. FIRE DEPARTMENT ADMINISTRATIVE BULLETINS [Discussion and possible action]
Discussion and possible action regarding Fire Department Administrative Bulletins.  
Assistant Fire Marshal Brown introduced himself and gave a brief update on the proposed Administrative Bulletins.  He mentioned that they were last updated in 2010 and his proposal is to repeal the 2010 version and update the bulletins with the proposed 2016 version, which is attached below.  He touched on the bulletins that had major changes, including 2.01, 2.11, 3.02, 3.04, 3.05 and 5.08 and stated they are now consistent with the city family.
The draft bulletins were posted on the Department’s website for over 30 days in accordance with San Francisco Fire Code requirements, and the Department scheduled a public hearing on December 14, 2016 to allow the public to provide input on the proposed bulletins.  The bulletins under consideration at this meeting have been posted on the Department’s website since November 14, 2016.
Commissioner Covington asked if there were any changes in the air replenishment systems section.  Assistant Fire Marshal Brown confirmed that there were no changes to that section.
Commissioner Covington Moved to approve the proposed Administrative Bulletins as submitted.  Commission Hardman Seconded.  The motion 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 January 11, 2017.  She announced that the current budget is on track for both revenues and expenditures and that the Budget Committee has reconvened as they formally prepare the budget submission which is due the third week in February.  She mentioned that the 121st academy class is its ninth week with 52 members and the targeted date for graduation is the morning of April 14, 2017.  She acknowledged the great work being done at the Division of Training, including recruit training, in-service training and special operations training.  She touched on the H-3 Level 1 six week academy, which was welcomed on January 17th and currently has 29 members.  She stated the 122nd academy is scheduled to begin on April 24, 2017 with 54 members.  Chief Hayes-White stated she met with Supervisor Peskin, along with President Cleaveland and Vice President Nakajo to discuss the trend where the call volume is rapidly increasing and the impact on response times of the ambulances.  She mentioned that it was recommended to reconvene the workgroup similar to what they did 2 years ago and work collectively with representatives from the department, the Controller’s Office, Mayor’s Budget Office, Local 798 and other employee groups, to analyze the data, look at the call volume and try to come up with ideas to better manage the situation.  She added that they would also include the private partners, King American and AMR as well as two members from the Commission.
With regards to events, communications and outreach, she mentioned that on Janay 13, 2017 she and Assistant Deputy Chief Jeff Columbini attended the basketball game between SFFD and the residents at the Youth Guidance Center.  She added that the SFFD members were great role models for the young men.  She mentioned that in honor and memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., Deputy Chief Raemona Williams and Deputy Chiefs’ Columbini and Ribera, along with the Black Firefighters Association marched in the parade on January 16, 2017.  She touched on the monthly labor management meeting with Local 798, the meeting with DHR regarding the Battalion Chief’ Civil Service examination and the public safety fair which will be hosted throughout the year by each Battalion.  She mentioned that they had their first one on January 18, 2017 at Battalion 1, Station 2 and according to the records, over 500 people attended and over 70 smoke detectors were handed out.  Many of the volunteers were students from CCSF, NERT, two officers from SFPD, the Fire Prevention Education Team, Firefighter Baraka, PIO Jonathan Baxter and EMS medics.  Chief Hayes-White stated that she was invited to the British Consul General’s residence for a breakfast for public safety individuals, including the Police Chief, President and CEO of the Red Cross and the head of Department of Emergency Management.  She mentioned that on January 19, 2017 she had a discussion with the San Francisco Unified School District to explore further potential school sites or school properties that may be considered for potential Division of Training Facilities, once the Treasure Island Facility is no longer available.  Chief Hayes-White and President Cleaveland attended the swearing in of the new Police Chief, William Scott, and she looks forward to working with him.
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 January 2017.  She mentioned that the Assignment Office completed their vacation ADV process for the staff at San Francisco Airport stations and acknowledged the hard work the staff at the Assignment Office had done staffing extra and specialized units for the New Year’s Eve events.  She mentioned that under Homeland Security, Chief Francisco continues to attend various meetings and training exercises as well as submitting various grants so that the Department can acquire equipment, gear, vehicles, training and other needed resources.  She reminded the public to stay vigilant and if they see something to say something.  She reported that there were 34 random drug and alcohol tests performed and all had negative results.  She mentioned that The Physician’s Office continues to administer promotional, probationary and pre-employment physicals for Department members as well as return to work-related injury exams.  She touched on Pump Station 1 stating that it is near completion, and that ESER projects continue to move forward and are on track.  She added that Station 16 has been delayed due to the inclement weather as well as acquiring additional permits that were needed to dispose of hazardous materials.  She reported that construction at Station 5 has been pushed back to March due to a protest in the bidding process, which the city upheld.  She touched on Pier 26, relocations of the fireboats, the delivery of the final three ambulances, rescue squads currently in service and the two aerial trucks to be ordered.  She added that the ambulance fleets are having solar panels installed to reduce the emissions and greenhouse gases.  She announced that Captain Ramon Serrano is the new Captain at the Bureau of Equipment.
Vice President Nakajo thanked the Chiefs’ for their reports and commented that there is an upcoming NERT drill and announced that he has been named to a task force in the City and County of San Francisco that deals with aging and folks with disabilities and they will be looking for particular needs for those people in the community and trying to strive for a better system.  He mentioned that it was a great opportunity to talk about the NERT program and the resilience it offers to citizens to support the Fire Department in times of disasters.
Commissioner Covington thanked them for their reports and commented that she liked the format of the handout with fire safety tips and asked how many languages they come in.  Chief Hayes-White stated that she would have to check, but believed they came in English, Spanish and Cantonese.  Commissioner Covington also mentioned that the Department has a very good presence on the web, but she thinks the Department would be well served to have relationships with the various broadcast stations, as a lot of the city’s population is aging and still get their information from broadcast outlets.  She also thanked Chief Columbini for putting together the basketball event at the Youth Guidance Center as well as the people who participated in the Martin Luther King Day Parade.  Commissioner Covington asked if the Budget Committee had any new members on it as she wants to ensure that opportunities are available for new people who might want to be on the Budget Committee.  She mentioned that having served on numerous boards, if a new board is being constituted, and a new board of directors, generally, you put your hand in the hat and you get a term of two or three years, and then the next person gets a term that is a little longer so that you can either re-up once your term expires or stay on, but you know that there will be some replenishment of the directors as you go forward in an orderly fashion so that at any given time, there are people who have been on the committee or on the board for quite some time, and then you have newcomers as well.  She suggested that it might be a model to consider.  Chief Hayes-White responded that the same members who were previously on the committee have showed an interest in remaining on the committee and that they represent all ranks as well as a member from Local 798’s Executive Board and that they may have added one or two new members.  She added that there is no formality in terms of length that those member can serve, but it is something they can consider.  Commissioner Covington asked Chief Williams if the members of Station 5 were still living there.  Chief Williams responded that they have not relocated yet but were due to move out by February 1, 2017 and the estimated date for completion of Station 5 is approximately June of 2018.  Commissioner Covington asked how many of the new stations will have solar panels.  Chief Rivera spoke briefly about the push to have more green roofs as opposed to solar panels and that they are working closely with Department of Public Works to reach a happy medium on the facilities.  Commissioner Covington suggested the Commission have a presentation at a future meeting giving comparison and contrast between green roofs and solar roofs.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked the Chiefs for their reports and acknowledged Chief Burke on getting the fire out quickly at 15th and Cabrillo.  He stated that it was great that the apparatus are all on schedule, that Chief Francisco is pursuing his grants, that Chief Columbini is doing a good job at DOT and that Captain Ramon Serrano is at BOE.  He stated hopefully, with the budget forecast that the Department gets all the new H-2’s they have budgeted for.
President Cleaveland stated that the fire safety tips for San Francisco is a great document and he hopes that it is on the Department’s website so every citizen can download it.  He also mentioned that he thought having monthly public safety fairs was a terrific idea.  He asked Chief Hayes-White if there has been any progress on the H-23 classification.  Chief Hayes-White answered that it remains a work in progress and Deputy Chief Gonzales will report on it at the February 8th Commission meeting.
There was no public comment.
7. DRAFT OPERATING BUDGET – FISCAL YEARS 2017-2018/ 2018-2019 [Discussion]
Submission of draft operating budget for Commission review and discussion.
Mark Corso gave a brief update on the status on the Department’s budget submittal and presented the attached PowerPoint:
Mr. Corso talked about the process, time lines, progress and challenges facing the Department.  He mentioned that due to the uncertainty surrounding the federal government and federal funding, there are a lot of unknowns and as a result of these projected deficits, all City departments have been instructed to propose ongoing reductions to their general fund support, equivalent to three percent in the first year and three percent in the second year.  For the Fire Department that equates to approximately 1.7 million dollars in the first year and a cumulative amount of 3.4 million in the second.  He added that no new net positions could be added to department submittals.
Commissioner Covington thanked Mr. Corso for his report and wished the news was better.  She added that there are so many challenges facing the Department, and now the City, as a sanctuary city, has even more challengers that will be coming our way in terms of our fiscal needs and requirements.  She suggested the need for all of us to put our heads together and figure out how we’re going to do this, how we’re going to get this done, and how we’re going to do more with less coming from the city.  She added that we need to find alternate means of funding the things that we need as a department and to get out in front and do the necessary fundraising, grant writing, proposal writing, and whatever else it is going to take.  She also mentioned that she would really like the procurement process to go well and that those monies we currently have, be spent down to the very last penny.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Mr. Corso for his report and stated he was fortunate enough, along with President Cleaveland to attend the Mayor’s Budget Office meeting and it gave him a real clear picture beyond projections, it was a stone-cold wake up of reality of the fiscal outlook of the City.  He added that the budget process is not for the weak minded, it’s a process by which some hard cooperative decisions are going to have to be made.  He stated that he thought it was important to reconvene with the Budget Committee and to come up with recommendations and needs of the department, and it should come from the Command Staff, Assistant Chiefs and Battalion Chiefs in the Department as to what realistically is going to work for us as we face these dilemmas.  He added that he looks forward to participating in the Budget Committee with President Cleaveland and looks forward to trying to address the needs within this very challenging situation.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked Mr. Corso and stated he always does a great job in giving big, bold and brief presentations.  He acknowledged EMS Chief Myers who with the increased volume is fighting the uphill battle on being on time with the ambulances.
President Cleaveland asked Mr. Corso if the Department has any direct exposure to federal funding cuts.  Mr. Corso stated that in his opinion, he would say yes, both directly and indirectly.  From the direct side, there’s a number of grant programs that the Department applies for annually and has been fortunate to receive funding for, but he does not know how they would be impacted by some of the proposed discussions.  He added that indirectly, the city is a recipient of millions of dollars of federal funding and if the city itself reduces that inflow, it will trickle down to departments all over the city, whether they directly receive funding from the federal government or not.
Recap on article prepared by Coffey Consulting LLC on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor, Chief Evaluation Office in 2016
Human Resource Director Jesusa Bushong provided a brief recap on the attached article “Promising Practices for Increasing Diversity among First Responders”:
She proceeded by giving the background of Coffey Consulting, which was the agency retained by the Department of Labor, who reached out in early March of 2016 informing the SFFD they were selected as a respondent for the study and providing the department with the framework of the study, including what questions they were intending to ask, what topics they were planning to discuss and who the other respondents were.  She added that they immediately recognized that being selected for this study was definitely an honor and also recognizing that whatever input the department provided, they would be able to help other first responder jurisdictions throughout the country.  The Department agreed to participate and scheduled a meeting with the American Institute of Research Staff on April 5th and 6th of 2016.  She stated that Deputy Chief Williams coordinated the participants which included Command Staff, Senior Staff, representatives of Employee Groups and NERT.  At the end of the two days, the consultants were also given a tour of the training facility.  She continued that the SFFD was among the respondents found to have a diverse leadership, an emphasis on diversity within the organization, open discussion about diversity and its workforce impact, and employee groups that are representative of the workforce and provide support and advocacy for the members.  She added that the Department was also highlighted as having notable diversity statistics and as one of the top five departments in the nation in the area of diversity.  She touched on the 1988 consent decree and changes that have been made since, including in 2016, the department had 51 percent minorities and a 15 percent female workforce.  They also identified the unique practices in the SFFD that contribute to diversity, including the school outreach at all levels as well as the various employee groups that actually represent employees, not only across race and gender lines, but also involving sexual orientation and military experiences.
Chief Hayes-White thanked Jesusa for her comprehensive report and added that it was a pretty huge honor for the Department and SFFD was the only fire department that was featured in the study as a model department.  She added that it’s value added to have a workforce that reflects the community that we serve.
Commissioner Covington thanked Jesusa for her report and pointed out that the reason she asked for the item to be on the agenda is so that more fellow citizens will be aware of what is going on in the department.  She added that the Department is being recognized on a national level after having a rocky period of some 30 years ago to where it is now.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Ms. Bushong for her excellent report and mentioned that it covered every particular area that was highlighted.  He went on to describe the Consent Decree under the direction of Judge Patel when he was on the commission during that time and how gratifying it is to see that the Department currently reflects the citizens of San Francisco and that ethnicity, as well as culture and language, are so important for the Department as well.
Commissioner Hardeman stated that he’s been on the commission six years and doesn’t take much credit for this, but he’s a part of it and he is delighted to be on a commission that received such an honor.  He also acknowledged Chief Hayes-White for taking time to interview candidates individually prior to selecting them.  He also thanked Jesusa for her excellent report.
Commission Cleaveland stated that we have much to be proud of in the Department and mentioned what a great report it was.  He suggested putting in on the website so that everyone out there can read it.
There was no public comment.
Email from James Corrigan dated January 12 and 14, 2017
There was no public comment.
Discussion regarding agenda for the February 8, 2017 regular meeting.
Commissioner Hardeman acknowledged Kevin Starr who recently died and stated that Mr. Starr was a San Francisco native that was orphaned and became one of the greatest journalists in the history of San Francisco.
President Cleaveland adjourned the meeting at 7:01 p.m.