Fire Commission - July 26, 2017 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
July 26, 2017 - 5:00pm

PDF iconJuly 26, 2017 final meeting Minutes.pdf

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 5:00 p.m.
City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 400, San Francisco, California, 94102
President Cleaveland called the meeting to order at 5:02 PM.  
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
Raemona Williams Deputy Chief – Administration
Tony Rivera Support Services
Rudy Castellanos Airport Division
Andy Zanoff EMS Division
Assistant Chiefs
Jose Velo Division 2
William Storti Division 3
Mark Corso Deputy Director of Finance
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 July 12, 2017.
Commissioner Covington Moved to approve the meeting Minutes.  Commissioner Hardeman Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes was unanimous.
There was no public comment.
James Lee (SFFD ret’d) and Al Casciato (SFPD ret’d) to provide an overview of G.O.T.C. activities and the status of antique Fire Department apparatus.
Retired Captain James Lee introduced the Board of Directors and Trustees of the Guardians of the City, which included Deputy Chief of the SFPD Michael Connelly, Retired SFPD member Ray Favetti, Tom Escher, Paul Barry, Michael Braun, Dave Ebarle, Leanne Corrales, Commander Greg McEachern, Assistant Deputy Chief Tony Rivera, Paul Miyamoto, Carl Kohler, Bernie Murphy, and Jackie Martin.  He gave an overview from the wild days of the gold rush, the Barbary Coast, to the chaos of the 1906 earthquake and fire.  He stated that the primary objectives and purpose of the Guardians of the City is to provide stewardship, preserve and conserve the City and County of San Francisco’s own collection of irreplaceable artifacts that celebrate the heritage and history of San Francisco’s first responders for the benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of San Francisco and beyond.  He gave a brief history of the Guardians of the City and stated that the administrative offices are located at 1152 Oak Street.  He provided the attached photos:
He explained that as apparatus are retired from active service and are transferred to the San Francisco historical collection, secure storage was always found at San Francisco Fire Department surplus properties, which were covered and secure.  Unfortunately, the redevelopment of Treasure Island and Hunter’s Point, along with the sale of surplus Fire Department properties, they were forced to find a new home for the collection.  He added that arrangements were made through a generous offer from the Academy of Arts to store the historical apparatus indoors, secure, and out of the weather with the caveat that Guardians of the City would move and relocate apparatus upon a request from the University.  Academy of Arts needed the indoor space and offered the Guardians outside storage, and with no other alternatives, it was accepted gracefully.  He mentioned that efforts to protect the collection with tarps and tie downs was attempted but with limited success and they are asking for help to find a solution to save the antique apparatus and find a new indoor home to store and preserve San Francisco’s antique historical fire apparatus.  He added that Guardians of the City receives no financial or logistical support from the City of San Francisco and the Guardians of the City does not have the financial ability to supply and finance the needed storage requirements.  He concluded his presentation by thanking John Hanley, Local 798, and Gary Delagnes, president of the Police Officers Association who gave them the seed money and support to set up the nonprofit to preserve San Francisco’s history, along with Mike Delagnes, who graciously gave his time to do the legal work associated with setting up the nonprofit corporation.  He also thanked Dr. Stevens, who offered the space when no others would.  He asked Paul Barry to give a few words from his perspective.  He talked about the history of the Historical Society and the creation of an MOU that they have been trying to put forth for years to gain momentum on behalf of the Guardians of the City.
Commissioner Veronese confirmed that the equipment that is on display at the Pioneer Museum at 9855 Presidio Avenue is secure and most of the equipment was horse-drawn, pre-motorized vehicles.  Their concern are the pieces that remain outside at the Academy of Art yard and are in bad repair.  Commissioner Veronese asked how many square feet does the GOTC need to house the equipment.  Captain Lee answered around 30,000-square feet would be a conservative estimate.  Commissioner Veronese asked if he’s reached out to other city departments for space.  Captain Lee answered that he has made inquiries to the Port and Muni.  Commissioner Veronese mentioned that he thinks it’s a crime that the City doesn’t step up when it comes to the history of the City and he thinks the City owes at least efforts to save this equipment.
Commissioner Hardeman mentioned that Captain Lee is a real stalwart in this issue and knows he’s been talking about trying to get storage for the equipment for a while and he agrees that it is a crime that the City has not found space to store this part of San Francisco History.  He suggested trying to get a bond measure in front of the voters.  Captain Lee responded that they need a short-term solution immediately to get the equipment indoors, but they do have strategies they are trying to develop for long term solutions.  He added that in order for it to be a functional museum, they are going to have to partnership with another entity other than the City.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Captain Lee for his presentation.  He added that he knows this didn’t happen recently, that it has been a long-term situation and there was discussion on the inventory of what is stored outdoors.  He mentioned the meeting he had with the Mayor and President Cleaveland about a year ago regarding this issue.  He asked to see a copy of an MOU and what the terms of an MOU would contain and if they had a budget for rent and restoration of the equipment.  He added that the Commission would like to support the long-term goal for storing the historic equipment, but at this point, it’s not clear to him as to what they are supporting.  There was discussion on the Willman Trust account and how that money will be spent to restore some of the historical equipment.  Mr. Barry suggested that in the efforts of time conservation, he would like if one of the commissioners could champion the cause and sit down with the Board of Directors or some of the Board of Directors and fill in the gaps of any questions, identify the solutions, the potential solutions to do with funding and space requirements, and things of that nature.
Chief Hayes-white echoed the efforts of the Guardians of the City in preserving the rich history, not only for the San Francisco Fire Department but for the Sheriff’s Office and the San Francisco Police Department, as well as the EMS Division when it was under the Department of Public Health.  She thanked the individual Board members as well as retired Deputy Chief of Operations Richard Kochevar and she acknowledged their hard work and contributions.  She touched on the 501(3)(c) by which they are able to raise funds and she hopes someday when she retires, that she will be able to put some energy into volunteering for the organization.  She added that the MOU is still being revised and she thinks it’s now being reviewed by the City Attorney’s Office.
Commissioner Covington thanked Captain Lee for his presentation and she mentioned how she admires the work of the Guardians of the City.  She described the excitement during the 150th Anniversary Parade, seeing the historic apparatus, pumpers and other equipment on display.  She asked Captain Lee who the higher authority would be to inquire about property to relocate the historic equipment.  Captain Lee responded Department Heads.  Commissioner Covington suggested following up on President Cleaveland’s idea of forming a “Friends of the Fire Department” where donations can be made to help their cause.  She added that she sees problems with push and proactive efforts coming from the Commission or the Department itself.  She also stated that it was unfortunate that during the time the Redevelopment Agency existed that they didn’t approach that agency as she served on that Commission for seven years and they gave millions and millions of dollars to museums.  She also suggested that they present a budgetary breakdown in order to get this going because the question from Commissioner Nakajo is one of the first questions people are going to ask is how much can you afford to pay for space, or are you looking for the space gratis.  Captain Lee explained that they don’t have the wherewithal to sign a tenancy for a lease and they also don’t own the equipment, all they do is curate it and protect it as best they can.  She suggested that they figure out who on their Board has good connections, good lobbyist skills and is good at fund raising to spearhead this effort as they would have the facts and figures at their fingertips and they know what’s going on.  There was discussion regarding the Willman fund and that there is approximately 85 percent of the $146,000.00 that was released to Guardians left to preserve and restore the historic apparatus and about $200,000 left in the original account.  She asked that the Guardians provide an updated report and accounting of the Willman fund at a future meeting as well as an update on the MOU.
Commissioner Veronese confirmed with Chief Hayes-white that the historical apparatus is owned by the City and County of San Francisco and there currently is not a signed MOU.  He added that something has to be done or they’re going to lose a part of history in the next six to seven months if they continue on this path of having presentations and talking about it and doing nothing and he suggested finding out who in the City is in charge of underutilized property assets and get a commitment of some kind to store the historical apparatus and to get the MOU finalized and signed.
President Cleaveland appreciated Captain Lee for making his presentation and acknowledged the article in the Examiner by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez pertaining to the lack of space for the historical apparatus and getting the word out.  He added that the City has a proud history but they don’t have a museum that reflects that and they don’t have a place where they can put everything on exhibit and he thinks that is something they need to look at.  He added that the Commission is very dedicated to that and they are interested in protecting the history of the Fire Department and they want to do it through the Guardians of the City.  He acknowledged everyone on the Board for spending the time and effort to preserve and protect the Fire Department history.  He added that the Mayor is also committed to preserving the Fire Department’s heritage and they need to continue to work on this and make it happen.  He invited Tom Escher to add to the presentation.  Mr. Escher introduced himself as one of the new members of the Guardians of the City and that he works with the Red and White Fleet on Fisherman’s Wharf.  He’s hoping that the Commission will find a home for the historic equipment.
Commissioner Hardeman commended Mr. Escher as being a fearless leader who loves the Fire Department and he added that he agreed that the Commission support the Guardians in finding a home.
President Cleaveland added that he reached out to the Port and they are required to charge market rate rents and therefore cannot give the Guardians rent free space but perhaps some of the other city Departments can look and see if they have any space that they can give the Guardians at least temporarily so they can get these apparatuses out of the weather and then find a way to raise the money to have a permanent home to display them for the entire City.
There was no public comment.
5. RESOLUTION 2017-02 [Discussion and possible action]
Discussion and possible action regarding proposed Resolution 2017-02, recommending that the Board of Supervisors authorize the San Francisco Fire Department to accept and expend Fiscal Year 2016 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program funding in the amount of $785,762 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase thermal imaging cameras and resources for the Department’s Stress Unit.
Mark Corso gave a brief overview of the Resolution.  He stated that the award is primarily for two separate projects, one being firefighting equipment, specifically an upgrade and expansion of the thermal imaging camera inventory in the sum of approximately $675,000.00 and the other is for resources for the Stress Unit, consisting of professional coaching sessions, critical incident response training and mental health insurance and together, the total project award is approximately $864,000.00 and there is a matching component of $78,000.00 that has been incorporated into the recently approved 2017-12018 budget.
Commissioner Covington Moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors authorize the Resolution.  Commissioner Veronese Seconded.  The motion was unanimous with the members present.  Ayes: Nakajo, Hardeman, Covington, Veronese.  (President Cleaveland was out of the hearing room during the vote)
There was no public comment.
Assistant Deputy Chief Shane Francisco to provide an overview of the Drone Policy as it relates to the San Francisco Fire Department. 
Chief Francisco gave an update on the drone program and policy and mentioned that the current state right now is that the city has approved a drone policy for the five identified city departments to have a pilot drone program for one year and those five departments are now tasked with developing their own department policy for use of drones.  He added that once that is complete, they’ll have to take that policy and have it approved by their department administration, their department commission, and the COIT staff.  In addition to that policy development, he’d like to engage with the ACLU and the privacy advocacy groups of the city to get their approval and get them on board ahead of time.  He stated that once the program gets up and running for all the city departments, there will be a Drone Advisory Committee, comprised of the Mayor’s Office, the City Administrator, and, COIT staff and they will review and evaluate the program, the effectiveness of the programs based on the use cases that have been authorized, and provide recommendations to COIT on the continued use of the drones and see if there’s any modifications that need to happen.  He showed the attached presentation:
He explained the different types of drones and robotics and how the fire department would use them, including cliff rescues, fires, water rescues and potential collapsed buildings.
Commissioner Covington thanked Chief Francisco for his presentation and for helping her when she attended the Menlo Park Fire Department’s symposium on drones in the fire service, which she thought was very informative.  She confirmed that the policy is going through the process and a first draft is in internal review before they send it to the City Attorney for their input.  Chief Francisco compared costs of the different types of drones ranging from $2,000.00 to as high as $60,000.  Commissioner Covington asked if he has gotten any feedback from Bay Area Departments that are currently flying drones.  Chief Francisco responded that he has gotten feedback, and what works for one department may not work for another.  Commissioner Covington asked how essential it is the Department’s operations to have a drone program and Chief Francisco responded that technology is changing the way first responders are conducting business and he anticipates that the time will come very soon where the Department will have to justify why they aren’t using it, especially in the cliff and surf environments, to actually save a life.  Chief Francisco added that there were about 30 cliff rescues last year.  Commissioner Covington asked for more information on the robotics team that he mentioned from the Austin Fire Department.  He explained that they are one of the better programs in the country, they have ground robots, a fixed wing, a quad copter, remote boat and they are able to deploy any one of those vehicles according to the situation that’s needed.  There was brief discussion on the privacy concerns.
Commissioner Veronese thanked Chief Francisco for the work that he is putting into this subject.  He added that he thinks it is very important to have drones in the department and mentioned that he gets text messages about twice a week about somebody that’s stuck on a cliff and he thinks we need those tools to save lives.  He mentioned that he is familiar with the dispute that’s going on between COIT’s policy and the Sunshine Task Force in regards to what can and cannot be redacted and he doesn’t think that’s a question the Department needs to answer because there is no need for the Fire Department to record data on these devices, especially the cliff rescues, where the Department would be using the information in real time.  He suggested that they come up with a timeline for the public to comment on the proposed drone policy and get it to the Commission within two months.  He offered to help in any way to get the draft policy done and he would like to see the drones deployed by the end of the year.
Commissioner Hardeman commended Chief Francisco for the good report and asked if he reviewed the New York policy.  Chief Francisco confirmed that he did and mentioned that they operate under one policy.  He supports the Department having drones and added that the Department should get it done and get it over with, as they will save lives as well as the benefit the health and safety of the members of the department.
President Cleaveland thanked Chief Francisco for his report and asked if the Drone Advisory Committee is something that will be ongoing.  Chief Francisco introduced Matthias Jaime from COIT to answer the question.    Mr. Jaime, Director of the Committee on Information Technology stated that the advisory committee will be the basis of evaluation for the end of the year, and will be composed of the Mayor’s Office, the City Administrator, and COIT staff and they will review the different authorized use cases, some evaluation criteria and the data collected throughout the year to see how the drones have been used, and verify that they’ve been used accordingly to the authorized use cases, and then expand to additional use cases as necessary.  He confirmed that the committee is basically an oversight committee for the individual departments that have been authorized to use drones.  President Cleaveland supports Chief Francisco and his efforts 100 percent and requested that when he comes back in a couple of months to update the Commission, that he have a draft proposed budget for what he thinks he needs in terms of money to get the program up and running for the Fire Department as well as the number of people that he thinks he’ll need to certify to operate the drones.
There was no public comment.
Report on current issues, activities and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting of July 12, 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 July 12, 2017.  With regards to the budget, she announced that it was officially adopted today.  The mayor had a signing on the balcony of City Hall surrounded by many of the supervisors, including the chair of the Budget Committee, Malia Cohen.  She added they are currently in the process of closing out the 16-17 budget with the Controller’s Office, and they don’t identify any concerns related to that close out.  In regards to academies, she announced that the 122nd academy is their 14th week and had final testing last week.  She added that they are conducting backgrounds for selection for the 123rd class and had about 40 interviews with potential candidates and they have another 60 potential candidates that they are meeting with next week for consideration for the 123rd class and possibly the 124th class.  She stated that she will be announcing some permanent promotions in the ranks of H-40 battalion chief, H-33 rescue captain, H-30 captain and H-20 lieutenants by the end of the week, as well as a number of acting assignments in those various classifications.  She acknowledged the fact that they sent, once again, at the request of the state, 27 members to the Detwiler fire, and they all returned safe on Monday.  She touched on events that she attended over the reporting period including meeting with SFPD command staff to discuss active shooter and working collaboratively with a command post at major incidences; she attended the memorial service of retired Chief Dave Haberlin, she watched the three-on-three Mayor’s battle of the departments basketball tournament; the funeral of retired member Larry Conrad; the San Francisco Black Firefighters Association youth academy graduation, and she attended a department head meeting with the new Chief of Staff at the Mayor’s Office, Jason Elliot.  She added that she and Chief Zanoff flew to Long Beach yesterday to attend the California Metro Chiefs inaugural EMS Task Force meeting.  She asked President Cleaveland to consider adjourning the meeting in memory of retired Lieutenant Lawrence Conrad, retired Firefighter Joseph Ward and retired Deputy Chief of Administration John Bascacci.
Commissioner Hardeman asked if Chief Siragusa would come to the podium to talk about the Detwiler fire.  Chief Siragusa explained that nearly five thousand firefighters from around California were at the Detwiler fire in Mariposa County to deal with the problem at hand and he acknowledged the State of California’s mutual aid system for the incredible job of putting together, in an organized fashion, the strike teams to get control of the fire at hand.  He thanked the Chief for supporting this program.  He went on to explain how they worked hand in hand with other strike teams all over California to control the fire in a successful manner, with only a couple minor cases of reported poison oak.
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 period from June 29, 2017 to July 26, 2017.  With regards to Homeland Security, she mentioned that Chief Francisco has been working with the drone workgroup, on developing a policy and he also attended the Fleet Week planning meetings, which are ongoing as well as other events that have taken and will take place throughout the year.  She touched on Investigative Services Bureau, the Physician’s Office, and Support Services, which included updates on Pump Station 1, Station 5, and Station 16.  She mentioned that at the Division of Training, staff continues to oversee driver, pump, and aerial operations testing for probationary firefighters.  She covered updates on NERT, the Fire Reserves and thanked President Cleaveland, Vice President Nakajo and Commissioner Alioto Veronese for attending the fire reserves graduation.
President Cleaveland thanked Chief Williams for her report and announced that he’s been given notice that a protest involving about 600 people are approaching City Hall in case anyone in the audience needed to avoid being caught in City Hall.
There was no public comment.
Discussion regarding agenda for the August 9, 2017 regular meeting.
Commissioner Veronese announced that a stair climb fundraising event will be happening on September 9, 2017 and encouraged everyone to support it WWW.SFSTAIRCLIMB.COM, and the proceeds will go directly to fund PTSD programs for first responders.
• Report and accounting on the Willman Trust
• MOU Guardians of the City
• H-23 update
• Presentation from Department’s Education and Outreach Division
President Cleaveland adjourned the meeting in the memory of Lieutenant Lawrence Conrad, retired firefighter Joseph Ward and retired Deputy Chief of Administration John Bascacci at 7:40 p.m.