Fire Commission - August 24, 2016 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
August 24, 2016 - 5:00pm

PDF icon August 24, 2016 final Meeting Minutes.pdf


Wednesday, August 24, 2016 – 5:00 p.m.
City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 416, San Francisco, California, 94102
President Covington called the meeting to order at 5:02 PM.  
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
Jeff Myers EMS
Dan DeCossio Bureau of Fire Prevention
Jeff Columbini Division of Training
Ken Lombardi Staff Services
Shane Francisco Homeland Security
Rudy Castellanos Airport Division
Assistant Chiefs
Kevin Burke Division 2
Kevin Smith Division 3
Mark Corso CFO
Olivia Scanlon Communication and Outreach Coordinator
There was no public comment.
4. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES [Discussion and possible action]
Discussion and possible action to approve meeting minutes.
• Minutes from Regular Meeting on July 27, 2016
Commissioner Hardeman Moved to approve the July 27, 2016 regular meeting Minutes.  Vice President Cleaveland Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes was unanimous.
There was no public comment.
Discussion pertaining to the Civil Grand Jury Report “Fire Safety Inspections in San Francisco: A Tale of Two Departments: Department of Building Inspection & San Francisco Fire Department.
President Covington announced that the Commission’s response to the Grand Jury Report is due on September 16, 2016 to the Board of Supervisors.
Vice President Cleaveland stated that he read the report and he believes that there is serious work to be done to address the issues of inspections, although he thinks that some of the recent legislation that has been passed will move the Department in the right direction.  Chief Hayes-White responded that the Department’s responses would be ready in draft form to discuss at the next Fire Commission meeting and that a number of the items that are recommended are already in play.  Fire Marshal DeCossio explained what has been done in regards to inspections, fire complaints, tracking inspections, and writing notice of violations since the report came out and the strides that the Department has taken to address those issues.  He also mentioned that he did not have the opportunity to give input to the Civil Grand Jury on the Department’s complaint and inspection practices, and if he had, he would have been able to tell the Grand Jury that they already have a process in place, framework laid out that they are working on right now, and an end to end process.  He added that at least 90 percent of the recommendations in the report have been addressed and are already underway.  Fire Marshal DeCossio went on to explain the Fire Departments responsibilities compared to the Building Inspection Department with regards to R-1 and R-2 inspections.  Chief Hayes-White wanted to make clear, that the Department does not agree with all their findings, and took personal offense to the allegation that company captains were not familiar with fundamental fire prevention codes and compliance requirements.  She added that the Bureau of Fire Prevention has a lot more expertise than she or anyone else that’s not in fire prevention, but at a basic fundamental level, every company officer has that expertise and the men and women of the Fire Department are very well trained.
Commissioner Nakajo stated that he read the CGJ report and digested it and noted that it is a complex document.  He appreciated the Grand Jury process, but he also knows that a lot of the findings have limited real participation and answers in terms of departmental level.  He added that he has confidence that the Department will address each and every issue raised in the report.  He strongly believes that the department has internal mechanisms in place to be able to have the units, engines, trucks and personnel to implement the recommendations outlined in the report.   He believes that they can live with the recommendations on the inspections and improvements but he is concerned with the item of transparency and he doesn’t feel the Department should withhold any kind of information.  Fire Chief DeCossio responded that they have always been transparent, but unfortunately, members of the public have to come to Headquarters to get the information, so they are working on getting the information online for people to access.
Commissioner Hardeman supported Commissioner Nakajo’s comments and agreed that the report was done on limited knowledge of civilians of the Building Inspection and Fire Department and they are doing the best they can.  He added that before he asks questions of the Fire Marshal and Chief of Department, he would like to see the draft responses that Chief Hayes-White put together and if the Department feels they can get the economics to do what they are recommending, then the Department will do it.  Fire Marshal DeCossio agreed and mentioned that he is confident that with the plan they have and the structure and framework they have developed, they will be successful in addressing all the concerns in the CGJ report.  Chief Hayes-White added that she reached out to the foreperson of the CGJ as she thought they missed an opportunity by not interviewing the Fire Marshal, who has the most expertise related to the topics raised.  They didn’t interview the Chief either because they had run out of time.
President Covington complimented the Civil Grand Jury, who are all volunteers for putting together a very comprehensive overview and she thought a lot of the recommendations are valuable.  She suggested that the responses should include projections of what it’s going to take to handle all the issues and to make sure we have met our own excellent standards.  She acknowledged that one of the recommendations was for the Fire Commission to form a task force with the Building Inspection Commission to work on a code enforcement processes and make recommendations on how to coordinate efforts and to make it more of a transparent process.
There was no public comment.
Update on the Department’s current obligations and policies for providing and receiving mutual aid and overview of recent strike team deployments.
Deputy Chief Gonzales gave an update and overview of the Department’s Mutual Aid Strike Team.  He described the deployment of personnel to the Cedar Fire, with Assistant Chief Franklin and Chief Velo as Strike Team Leaders, along with the OES State Rig.  He went on to describe the origins of how Mutual Aid is conducted.  That presentation is attached:
Chief Gonzales mentioned that California Disaster and Civil Defense Master Mutual Aid Agreement was established on November 15, 1950 and revised on November 23, 1970.  He described the acronym “FIRESCOPE” as Fire, Resources of Southern California Organized for Potential Emergency which developed the Incident Command System.  He went on to describe the Mutual Aid Agreement and each party that has signed the agreement agrees to furnish resources and facilities to every party of the agreement to prevent and combat any disaster in accordance with mutual aid operational plans  He explained the coordination, the organizations and training involved with Mutual Aid. 
Vice President Cleaveland thanked Chief Gonzales for his report and asked who in the Department has the ability to deploy the Strike Teams.  Chief Gonzales stated it’s covered in a General Order and that if the Chief is not available it would go to next in command of the Department and in accordance with the Agreement that was signed.  He confirmed that the Department has 158 personnel trained to participate as a strike team.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked Chief Gonzales for his report.  He confirmed that when a Strike Team is sent out for Mutual Aid, the members are obligated to stay for at least 10 days.
Commission Nakajo thanked Chief Gonzales for his report and asked who the incident commander is.  Chief Gonzales stated that it would depend on the agency that calls for mutual aid.  He confirmed that besides the State rigs the Department bought, they also have 5 predesignated engines.
President Covington thanked Chief Gonzales for his report and asked if the State Rigs are used locally in San Francisco or reserved for State use.  Chief Gonzales answered that they are not used on a daily basis, but if there was a big disaster, they would be used locally.  She mentioned her concern for making sure all rigs are equipped and for budgetary reasons, she suggested going forward, to making sure there is a line item in the budget to equip all rigs.  She recommended that a follow-up on the plan to equip the rigs be scheduled for the end of January.  President Covington asked who pays for the wildland firefighting training.  Chief Columbini stated that they provide the training at the Division of Training.  There was brief discussion on the State rigs and how the Department would like to obtain more of them.
Sylvia Johnson gave public comment where she talked about personality and impersonators and installing walls that go up and down.  
Report on current issues, activities and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting of August 10, 2016, including Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget, academies, 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 August 10, 2016.  She announced that the budget has been signed and was formally approved by the Mayor on August 2, 2016 and they are moving forward with the purchase of replacement equipment which includes the purchase of eight new fire engines that she hopes to have ordered by the end of the month.
She touched on the 120th academy, who are in their 10th week with 54 members and they are preparing for the 121st academy class.  She also touched on the 150th Anniversary, which included an overview of the First Responder Volunteers Day at Washington Square Park, the upcoming 9/11 ceremony to take place at the Public Safety Building, the September 24 and 25th Parade at the Wharf, the October 17, 2016 fire boat commissioning, the November 5th and 6th Film Festival at the San Francisco Main Library and a December 3, 2016 official celebration.  She mentioned that she sent out an invitation to all employee groups in the continued effort to keep the lines of communication open but some have not availed themselves of that opportunity.  She heard back from the newly formed Veterans Group and met with them on August 15, 2016 along with the Rescue Group and Paramedic Association.  She announced the revitalization of Pier 80 which will soon be occupied by the Pasha Group.  She added that she and the Deputies met with Local 798 as part of the monthly labor management meeting to discuss current activities and issues.
Vice President Cleaveland thanked the Chief for her report and was happy to hear that the City will be importing cars at Pier 80.  He asked if the SFFD was responsible for protecting the Port.  Chief Hayes-White stated that it is part of the SFFD jurisdiction, but they have their own Fire Marshal that works under the direction of Chief DeCossio.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked the Chief for her detailed report.  He described a visit he had prior to the 9/11 events in New York and mentioned he’s glad automobiles will be sold from Pier 80.
Commissioner Nakajo thanked the Chief for her report and acknowledged the great event that took place at Washington Square for the fire and police reserves 75th anniversary.
President Covington added that she thought the event at Washington Square Park was very nice and thanked the Guardians of the City for putting it together.
Public Comment:
Ms. Johnson spoke about the National Guard and wanted an explanation on the October 21, 2016 event at Washington Square Park and Washington D.C. and her experience in D.C.
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 August.  She mentioned that the assignment office is currently working on the Department’s annual seniority list in anticipation of the upcoming vacancy bid for members of Suppression, Station 49, and the Airport.  She added that Homeland Security was awarded a fire investigation grant for air monitors, accelerant detectors, and 3-D modeling equipment.  She mentioned that Chief Francisco attended the Korean War Memorial Dedication Ceremony, the 9th Civil Support Team Change of Command Ceremony and the International Association of Fire Chiefs Conference in San Antonio, Texas.  She touched on Investigative Service Bureau and Department Physician, Support Services, In-Service Training and NERT.
Vice President Cleaveland thanked Chief Williams for her report and asked about the rebuild of Station 16.  Chief Williams stated that Station 16 is scheduled for demolition the first week of October.  The current members of Station 16 will be relocated to other firehouses.
There was no public comment.
7. END OF THE YEAR CALENDAR [Discussion and possible action]
Discussion by Commission Members to make changes to the current meeting calendar.
Vice President Cleaveland moved to cancel the regular commission meetings scheduled for November 23, 2016 and December 28, 2016.  Commissioner Hardeman Seconded.  The motion was unanimous.
Commission Secretary Conefrey will post an updated meeting calendar on the Commission website.  President Covington pointed out that the meetings in January will be lengthy.
8. RESOLUTION 2016-06 [Discussion and possible action]
Discussion and possible action regarding proposed Resolution 2016-06, recommending that the Board of Supervisors authorize the San Francisco Fire Department to accept and expend a grant in the amount of $134,858 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase fire investigation equipment.
Mark Corso gave an overview of the resolution which is attached:
Vice President Cleaveland moved to approve Resolution 2016-06.  Commissioner Hardeman Seconded.  The motion was unanimous.
There was no public comment.
9. RESOLUTION 2016-07 [Discussion and possible action]
Discussion and possible action regarding proposed Resolution 2016-07, recommending that the Board of Supervisors authorize the San Francisco Fire Department to donate a retired pick-up truck to San Francisco Firefighters Local 798 to be used for their toy program.
Mark Corso gave an overview of the resolution which is attached:
Vice President Cleaveland moved to approve Resolution 2016-07.  Commissioner Hardeman Seconded.  The motion was unanimous.
Vice President Cleaveland congratulated Local 798 for their toy program.
Ms. Johnson spoke on truck experience and 798 when she was younger.
• Letter from Leif Johan Veimoen
Commissioner Hardeman commented on a copy of a letter that was in his packet from Chet Spirlin, Coordinator of Flame Athletics and he encouraged member of the public to support the Flame program because it’s donations that keeps it going for thousands of kids.
Discussion regarding agenda for the September 14, 2016 regular meeting.
• Civil Grand Jury Report
• Fire Boat Pier 35 update (9/28/16)
• Establishment of H-23 classification
• Update on Station 49 EMS new building
• Presentation from Michael McDowell on Volunteers Then and Now.
President Covington adjourned the meeting at 7:12 p.m.