Fire Commission - October 12, 2016 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
October 12, 2016 - 9:00am

PDF iconOctober 12, 2016 final meeting Minutes.pdf


Wednesday, October 12, 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 9:01 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
Mark Gonzales Deputy Chief – Operations
Shane Francisco Homeland Security
Dan DeCossio Bureau of Fire Prevention
Jeff Myers EMS
Assistant Chiefs
Kevin Smith Division 2
Mark Corso CFO
Olivia Scanlon Communication and Outreach Coordinator
Katherine Alba-Swanson, 17 year member of the SFFD, spoke in regards to additional pending allegations at Station 2 that have not been addressed or investigated.  She requested that the administration address the elephant in the room and the management practices, which are the bigger picture.  She mentioned that women of the SFFD are not victims and they stand up for themselves and have worked hard to get where they are today.
Julie Desjarlais, Lieutenant in the SFFD and member for approximately 14 years, stated she worked hard to get respect and even harder as a female because she did not want to be considered the weak link.  She stated that they want to be considered just like everybody else, a strong firefighter.  She described her time working at Station 2 and she is offended by what’s going on and how female firefighters are looking and she’s upset by what’s going on at Station 2, because right now it looks like her family is being attacked by someone who is new and it is wrong.
Adrienne Sims introduced herself as someone who has worked at Station 2 off and on for the last 12 years as an incident scene specialist, and she thinks that as the story goes on without getting factual details, they not only allow the reputation as a department to be tarnished, but more importantly, it is hurting the bond that had grown between the Department’s brothers and sisters over the last 30 year.  She added that distorted accounts and inaccurate information builds distrust within the members and hurts the Department and if it’s allowed to go on without stepping up to defend themselves, they are betraying their own and damaging the traditions that make the Department so great.
Jason Caldwell, public relations officer for the Curran Theater, acknowledged the presence of Carole Shorenstein Hayes, who under her leadership, are doing a major renovation of the Curran Theater before it opens in January with the Tony Award winning musical “Fun Home.”  Ms. Shorenstein Hayes, invited 50 uniformed public safety folks to join them in opening the Curran Theater on January 26, 2017.
3. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES [Discussion and possible action]
Discussion and possible action to approve meeting minutes.
• Minutes from Regular Meeting on September 12, 2016.
Commissioner Hardeman Moved to approve the September 12, 2016 regular meeting Minutes.  Vice President Cleaveland 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 September 28, 2016, including academies, strategic planning, 150th Anniversary update, special events, communications and outreach to other government agencies and the public.
Chief Hayes-White’s report covered events since the last meeting on September 28, 2016.  She mentioned that the 12th academy class is nearing completion and graduation will be on November 4, 2016 at USF with 51 recruits that will be graduating.  She announced that the 121st academy will begin on November 28, 2016 and will be comprised of 54 members, 42 from the list and 12 members coming from Station 49.  With regards to the H-8 per diem paramedic classification, she stated that they currently have 40 members going through field training and in the early part of 2017, they intend to have an H-3 Level 1 entry level EMT Class.
Chief Hayes-White stated that the draft strategic plan is still being edited and she plans on having it presented to the Commission sometime in November.  She stated that she attended the Mayor’s Strategic Planning retreat on September 30, 2016, along with most of the City Department Heads, which was held at Pier 27.  She acknowledged everyone in the department who participated in the Fleet Week activities, specifically, Assistant Deputy Chief Shane Francisco, who has put together an overview of the Department’s participation, as well as Assistant Deputy Chief Jeff Myers.  She also touched on various events she attended including, the press conference with the Mayor on October 3, 2016, the cross training on Treasure Island, the senior leadership seminar at the Marines’ Memorial and the parade of ships at the St. Francis Yacht Club.  She also attended, along with Fire Marshal DeCossio and Olivia Scanlon, a meeting with Supervisors Yee, Breed, and Peskin in preparation of their meeting with the Government Audit and Oversight Committee.  She also met with the NERT Advisory Board.  She thanked President Covington, Fire Marshal Dan DeCossio and Olivia Scanlon for representing the Department on October 4, 2016 at the Government, Audits and Oversight Committee hearing.  She mentioned that she was unable to attend the Italian Heritage Parade on October 30, 2016 but thanked her Command Staff under the direction of Deputy Chief Gonzales for attending.  Chief Hayes-White acknowledged and congratulated Commissioner Nakajo for his dedication and 45 years of service at Kimochi and his upcoming retirement from his position there.  She announced that on October 15, 2016 she will be traveling to Sacramento to pay tribute and respect to five members of the Department who are deceased and will be honored at the California Firefighters Memorial Wall.  The five members are Firefighter Lauifi Seumaala, Firefighter/Paramedic Richard Faust, Firefighter David Amituanai, Firefighter Clyde Waterai and Lt. John Murphy.  She also announced that during Fire Prevention Week, all firehouses will have an open house on Saturday, and they will continue to pass along fire prevention messages.  She stated that on October 17, 2016 at 10:30 a.m., the Commissioning of the new fireboat will take place and that they will also unveil the name of the fireboat and Senator Diane Feinstein will kick off the ceremonies.  The event will also be joined by Mayor Lee and many other dignitaries, active members from Station 35, as well as a number of retired members.  She touched on the November 5th and 6th 150th Anniversary Film Festival at the main library and acknowledged President Covington who has worked diligently on the event.  She concluded her report by announcing the upcoming premier of the Gartland Fire on November 15, 2016 in the Mission and the 150th Birthday celebrations planned for December 3, 2016.
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.
Chief Gonzales’ report covered the month of September 2016.  He mentioned that during the reporting period, there were three second alarm fires.  The first was on September 6, 2016 at Hayes and Octavia and the incident commander was AC Kalos.  According to the Bureau of Fire Investigations, it was a deliberate fire, and is still under investigation.  The second fire was on September 21, 2016 at Vermont and 19th Street and the incident commander was temporary Assistant Chief Rubenstein.  The cause of this fire was determined to be accidental.  The third fire was at 157 Prospect on September 23, 2016 and the incident commander was Assistant Chief Burke.  The fire was determined accidental and was started by a malfunctioning heater and 8 residents were displaced.  Chief Gonzales commended incident commander Assistant Chief Postel, Battalion Chief Hickey and all crews at a working fire at 555 Clayton Street on September 28, 2016, for saving the victim.
He read some public responses that were received on social media regarding the fire on Prospect.  He announced that during the 150th Anniversary event at Fisherman’s Wharf, 480 smoke alarms were given out, approximately 2,100 children’s fire helmets, approximately 1,500 photo books, badge stickers and fire safety tip sheets were handed out.
Chief Gonzales announced that seven new inspectors have been assigned to the Bureau of Fire Prevention, and two investigators have been assigned to the Bureau of Fire Investigation, which includes one to Community Outreach.  He stated that the Warriors arena is still currently under review and that the project sponsors have a timeline that both Department of Building Inspection and Fire Department are meeting.  Also under review is the Central Subway and Moscone projects.  With regards to Bureau of Fire Investigation, he proudly reported that they are doing a great job and the number of open fire investigation reports is down to 91.  He announced that Battalion Chief Storti is leaving Bureau of Communications and is being replaced by Battalion Chief Hayes.  He touched on EMS, stating that for the month of September, the Department responded on scene 89.17 percent of the time under 10 minutes, and EMS 6 had 233 encounters with clients.  The Airport had a large scale airport drill going on this morning led by Assistant Deputy Chief Rudy Castellanos and Assistant Chief Dave Franklin.
Vice President Cleaveland asked Chief Hayes-White what the most valuable thing she learned at the Mayor’s retreat was.  Chief Hayes-White responded that she thought it was  a good opportunity for Department Heads to get together and talk about overarching goals for the city that don’t just impact one department but multiple departments, such as homeless issues, affordability and livability in the city as well as safety and she feels it would be better to address the solutions and resolutions as a team.  Vice President Cleaveland asked how the meeting went with the supervisors when she had to discuss the Department’s response to the Civil Grand Jury report.  She stated that Supervisor Breed was not able to make the meeting but her aide, Conor Johnston met with them.  They basically reviewed the highlights, the cover letter and provided them with the matrix.  They didn’t have a lot of questions because they were well versed in the report that had been given to them ahead of time.  Vice President Cleaveland asked how many fire inspectors does the Department have and what the average time is to conclude a fire investigation.  Fire Marshal DeCossio answered that they currently have a total of 42 investigators and the target is to close out investigation reports within 60 days.  There was brief discussion about plans for Fire Prevention Week, including open houses at all fire stations, as well as continuing to provide fire safety information packets, and working with the PIO in sending electronic safety information and messages out.
Commissioner Nakajo thanked Chief Gonzales for his comprehensive report.  He mentioned that he saw on the national news that there was a boating accident in San Francisco that could have been catastrophic had it not been for members of the public as well as members of the Department under the leadership of Assistant Chief Postel.  Commissioner Nakajo confirmed with Chief Hayes-White that the 121st Academy class is scheduled to start on November 28, 2016, that graduation for the 120th will be at USF on November 4, 2016 and the 122nd Academy class is scheduled in April of 2017.
Commissioner Hardeman asked Chief Gonzales to explain what happened with the jet fuel spill at the airport.  Chief Gonzales explained that there was jet fuel spillage that caught fire, but was put out before any explosion could happen and members did a good job containing the fire and preventing runoff.  Commissioner Hardeman asked Chief Hayes-White how she picks the vacant inspector positions and what shifts they work.  Chief Hayes-White explained that they come from the rank of H-2 or H-3 classifications and work typically 4 10-hour shifts.  Commissioner Hardeman was glad to hear about all the items that were given out at the Fisherman’s Wharf event and that his grandson got a little helmet.  He congratulated Chief Hayes-White and Chief DeCossio on getting the Grand Jury Response finished.  Chief Hayes-White stated that she anticipates follow up on the CGJ report and announced that another CGJ has convened and is looking specifically at the Training Division and Treasure Island facility and she welcomes the CGJ as often times they have very good feedback to review.  Commissioner Hardeman commented that it would be great if they demanded we keep the training center there.  He concluded by congratulating Commissioner Nakajo for all his years on the fire commission but also all the time he put in at Kimochi, Inc.
President Covington thanked the Commissioners for their comments and the Chiefs’ for their reports.  She mentioned that the appearance before the Civil Grand Jury went extremely well.  She stated that the chair of the Civil Grand Jury for the repot on DBI and the Fire Department, a tale of Two Departments began his comments by apologizing for running out of time and not being able to interview the Chief or Fire Marshal and going forward, they would make sure that would not happen again.  She also mentioned that the CGJ pointed out a number of things that were good in the Department and that Supervisor Peskin had a good idea by suggesting that DBI and the SFFD should use the location maps that are available for the City in general.  Fire Marshal DeCossio explained that Supervisor Peskin’s suggestion is beyond his scope and he would need to consult with the Departments IT folks.  President Covington acknowledged the amount of time and effort the Grand Jurors put in to writing the voluminous reports, and like Fire Commissioners, they are also volunteers and they love the City and want the City to improve.  She asked Chief Hayes-White to talk a bit more about the Strategic Planning retreat she attended with all the department heads.  Chief Hayes-White explained that the Mayor’s Budget Office had been convening smaller meetings regarding the future of various departments in the City and decided to have a retreat and discuss city wide issues that affect all of the departments and ways they can endeavor to work more closely together.  She added that it was kicked off in the morning by Mayor Lee who left after and came back in the afternoon for a debriefing on what had been discussed throughout the day and that there will be a follow up meeting.  President Covington asked if there was discussions about specifics that each plan should have going forward for the entire city since all of the department heads have gotten together.  Chief Hayes-White explained that it was more subject oriented rather than detail oriented about a plan and that specific ideas that were put forward will be outlined in a report that they can work off of.
President Covington offered a heap of praise upon Commissioner Nakajo for his forward thinking along with Ms. Sandy Mori in terms of creating Kimochi, which is a wonderful institution in Japantown and the 45 years of service he provided.
There was no public comment.
Update on recent discussions regarding establishment of H-23 classification.
Chief Gonzales explained a lot of issues are intertwined with the H-23 classification and the intention is to get it done as soon as possible.  He added that they have made progress on the recuse captain rotations and are awaiting President Tom O’Connor to agree to it as the EMS Officers Association has already agreed to, which is tied to the 12-hour shift of the rescue captains at Station 49.  Once that is implemented, there is one final hurdle that needs agreement on with the Union, DHR and the City Attorney with regards to a pay issue. Once that issue is resolved, discussions will start regarding the H-23.  Vice President Cleaveland asked if the definition of a job description of the H-23 has been agreed on.  Chief Gonzales stated they are still working on it with President O’Connor, although the shifts in place are really the primary thing that they are working on with DHR and City Attorney. 
President Covington stated that she and Vice President Cleaveland have attended numerous meetings regarding this position and she said that time is of the essence because the road to advancement is actually blocked without this position for a number of people.  She added that they want to make sure that people on the EMS side have opportunities just as people on the suppression side to move their careers forward and if there is a need to attend another meeting, they are happy to do that as she and Vice President Cleaveland are vested in seeing that the issue moves forward.
There was no public comment.
Update and discussion on upcoming activities and events planned for Fleet Week.
President Covington stated she invited Chief Francisco to present at the meeting following receipt of what she described as a book on the incredible activities related to Fleet Week and that the SFFD was an integral part of the opportunities to share experiences, to learn new skills and such.   Chief Hayes-White added that it was another successful week and she appreciated President Covington’s remarks acknowledging the Department for the good work into making sure all aspects were covered and she thanked Chief Francisco and Chief Myers for the excellent job they did throughout the week.  She also thanked the newly formed employee workgroup, the San Francisco Firefighters Veterans Association.
Chief Francisco introduced himself and showed the attached PowerPoint presentation highlighting events that took place during Fleet Week:
Chief Francisco mentioned that weather-wise it was probably the best Fleet Week to date.  He stated that since 2010, they have changed the focus of Fleet Week from an air show and parade of ships to a Defense Support of Civilian Authorities.  In essence it captures how the military provides humanitarian aid in the event of a catastrophe, who they can provide food and water and get supplies to an area that has been affected by a major disaster.  It has become a model for the entire Country.  He went on to explain training exercises that took place, drills, K-9 demonstrations, and learning about firefighting systems and capabilities.  He mentioned that Local 798 provided the fire engine barbecue and members of the San Francisco Fire Department Veterans Association cooked lunch for the Marines and Navy Sailors that participated at the Treasure Island Urban Search and Rescue drills.  He concluded his presentation by describing the capsized boat with 30 people tossed into the bay.  He mentioned that they called for a red alert on that incident and about 11 ambulances responded.  Assistant Chief Bob Postel took command of the incident and the crews did an outstanding job of managing the incident and they had the best possible outcome.  He acknowledged Rescue Captain Andy Thomas, Rescue Captain John Cavanaugh, Paramedical Sebastian More and Acting Battalion Chiefs Clyde Cristobal and John Rocco as well as the SFPD, Marine 10, Captain Lazar, Us Cost Guard, South San Francisco Fire Department, Oakland Fire Department and all the civilian boats that came to the rescue of the 27 adults and 3 children.
Vice President Cleaveland praised Chief Francisco for the wonderful job and mentioned we should all be proud of the Fleet Week participation that our fire department has with the Military, especially the Marines and Navy.
Commissioner Nakajo stated his appreciation for the presentation.  He also thanked Local 798, the Veteran members and all the participants that were noted within his report for their participation.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked Chief Francisco and complimented him on what a great week it was and how he enjoyed being out on the new Fire Boat and watching the Blue Angels.  He mentioned it was very impressive.  He acknowledged Senator Diane Feinstein for her involvement years ago in getting the Blue Angels to participate in Fleet Week as well as all the wonderful people that serve our country protecting us and allowing us to have a wonderful life.
President Covington thanked Chief Francisco for his overview of Fleet Week.  She mentioned how important it is for the citizens of San Francisco to know that there is much more to Fleet Week than the Blue Angels.  She stated that the training opportunities and formation of interpersonal relationships will all go well for us when we have the earthquake that we know is coming but don’t know when and the more people that can chip in and help us the better.  She stated that the Urban Search and Rescue is very essential.  She talked about the K-9 heroes at Duboce Park and lots of intellectual folks that were there to answers questions.  With regards to the boat incident, President Covington asked if there would have been occasion to use the mass casualty bus.  Chief Francisco stated that the mass casualty bus was positioned at the event, but it depends on the level of severity and number of the patients.  Chief Myers added that the use of the mass casualty bus would be a resource that the 9-1-1- system could utilize in several different formats.  He went on to explain the different scenarios and concluded by saying it’s a balance between the number of patients, criticality, available resources within the system, and what is the availability of surge units from the private partners.  President Covington asked how long it takes to deploy the mass casualty bus.  Chief Myers answered the greatest time period to get the bus is generally 20 to 25 minutes maximum, that currently Muni drivers are operating the bus for the Department and they’re housed at one of the major Muni repair facilities, so the availability of the municipal Muni driver is the only real self-limiting factor.  President Covington concluded her comments by thanking everyone who worked on Fleet Week and they did a fabulous job.  She stated that it takes so much creative thinking and energy and over a long period of time to put together such a comprehensive event, especially on the safety side.
There was no public comment.
Discussion regarding agenda for the October 26, 2016 regular meeting.
• Review of the Sexual; Harassment Policy
• Update and review on Controlled Substance Policy
There was no public comment.
President Covington adjourned the meeting in the memory of retired Assistant Chief Ray Landi at 10:28 a.m.