Fire Commission - August 23, 2017 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
August 23, 2017 - 5:00pm

PDF iconAugust 23, 2017, Final meeting Minutes.pdf

Wednesday, August 23, 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
Dan De Cossio Bureau of Fire Prevention
Rudy Castellanos Airport Division
Jeff Columbini Division of Training
Assistant Chiefs
Kevin Burke Division 2
Tom Siragusa Division 3
Jesusa Bushong Human Resource Director
Mark Corso Deputy Director of Finance
(There was technical difficulty with no audio during the first two items)
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 as amended.  Vice President Nakajo Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes as amended was unanimous.
There was no public comment.
Rita Molloy, Academy Coordinator- Health, Biotech, and Agriculture Academies Career Technical Education SFUSD to provide a general presentation about the future academy, how it will be implemented, and how SFFD has been and will continue to be involved.
Rita Molloy introduced herself and explained the attached presentation in detail.
Ms. Molloy described the collaboration between the school District and the Fire Department.  She mentioned that the Fire Department has donated decommissioned ambulances to the Galileo Health Academy, which also has a City College EMT course, and they have requested that one be donated to the O’Connell High School EMT program.  She explained the recruitment process, the hands-on only CPR that is required of all 9th-grade health classes and the other hands-on learning experiences that are offered through the program.  She touched on the Career Technical Education that is offered, which is basically the career-themed pathways that are available in the high schools.  She introduced her co-worker, Kate Rennie who described in more detail the background of the Career Technical Education and that the State of California recognizes 15 different industry sectors and in the SFUSD, they have created pathways for 14 of the 15 industry sectors.  Ms. Molloy added that their vision for the future is to see a two-year themed public service academy featuring the first year in Administration of Justice, criminal justice and the second year to include a fire science and EMT curriculum.  Students will earn college credits taking these classes.  She also mentioned that they would like to have a mentoring component with the Fire Department.  She acknowledged Dan Nazaretta, Jon Baxter, Keith Baraka, Tony Molly, Dick Payne, Megan Corry, Megan Vernon and Jim Connors who have been instrumental in getting the word out and getting things done for the program.
Chief Hayes-White thanked and complimented the SFUSD, Ms. Molloy and Ms. Rennie for their hard work and partnership.  She mentioned that she has participated and seen the difference that it makes when members of the Department walk into a classroom in uniform to describe what EMT’s, firefighters and paramedic do.  She also acknowledged Rita’s mother, Mrs. Molloy, who was in the audience, as well as Rita’s sister, Kathy Molloy-Gilbraith, a member of the SFFD, and stated what a great long-time San Francisco Family they are.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Rita and Kate for their presentation and mentioned that he is impressed with the program.  They talked about the recruitment process at all high schools.  Vice President Nakajo talked about his high school experience at Sacred Heart.
Commissioner Covington thanked Ms. Molloy and Ms. Rennie for their interesting presentation and reminded her fellow commissioners that they have passed resolutions to donate decommissioned equipment to various high schools and stated that there will be continued support for these programs.  She asked if they have been working with any of the associated groups for the SFFD, such as the Black Firefighters, the Asian Firefighters or Los Bomberos.  Ms. Rennie confirmed that they have worked with the Black Firefighters Association and Commissioner Covington encouraged them to have more participation of the associated groups within the Department because there is so much added value when an Asian Firefighter comes in and speaks to students who speak Cantonese and that sort of thing where there is a connection that can boost the interest level of the students.  When they see someone like them who is advancing well in their career in the Fire Department it is likely to pique their interest.  In regards to equipment for the program, Commissioner Covington suggested that they also look to see what is available on a federal level as well as local foundations that are headed by people in the community who have philanthropy as a heritage in their families.  She acknowledged past Commissioner Andrea Evans for her involvement in helping to make sure that high school students were able to take CPR courses.  Chief Hayes-White added that in the coming weeks, a resolution will be before the Commission to authorize the gift of a decommissioned ambulance to the SFUSD.
Commissioner Veronese thanked them for the presentation and stated it is a very interesting program.  He added that he thinks it’s very important to get kids to start thinking about this stuff early as well as involvement with family relationships as the fire department has a long history of having family members in the department.  He suggested that people who are in the Fire Department that have kids in the San Francisco Unified School District should get involved as much as possible.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked Ms. Molloy and Ms. Rennie for their presentation and stated he was glad to see O’Connell stepping forward with the program.  He is glad to see trades back in the schools.  He acknowledged meeting the matriarch of the Molloy family and was glad she was able to see the presentation.
President Cleaveland thanked them for their presentation and for their collaboration with the Fire Department.  He confirmed that the public service academy will start in August at O’Connell High School.  He asked them to create a list for how the Department can help support the program as it’s a wonderful way for young people in the city to graduate into the Department and become future firefighters and paramedics.
There was no public comment.
Report on current issues, activities and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting of August 9, 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 August 9, 2017.  She announced that she just recently learned of the passing of active member Perry Choy, who suffered unexpectedly, a stroke about 2 weeks ago and mentioned that thoughts and prayers go out to his family and asked that the meeting be adjourned in his honor.
Chief Hayes-White acknowledged that it was the final meeting in uniform for Assistant Deputy Chief Rudy Castellanos who is retiring after a long rewarding career.  She talked about the current budget, the academy classes and vested interest in the H-23 position.  She mentioned that they had 52 people apply for the two H-23 positions and they are currently conducting interviews.  Chief Hayes-White stated that she participated in a ceremony that was arranged by the Mayor’s office to acknowledge members that responded to the June UPS active shooter incident which included Chief Siragusa and Captain Clementino Avila.  She and Chief Williams met with the United Fire Service Women to talk about department related activities, focusing on the September 23rd ceremony where they will celebrate uniformed women being in the department for 30 years.  She added that she was proud to see the large number of active and retired members at the memorial service for former SFFD Director Earl Gage, along with Commissioner Covington and Vice President Nakajo.  She announced other events that she attended during the reporting period.  She touched on the newly created Encampment Resolution Team which is comprised of DPH, DPW, SFPD, SFFD, and the Department of Homelessness to target and prioritize some of the larger encampments and making sure they are safe.  She announced that they are working with the Mayor’s Office, the SFPD and DEM to prepare for the planned protest events scheduled over the weekend.  She also announced that on September 6, 2017 there will be a promotional ceremony for members promoted throughout the Department, on September 9th the stair climb to promote PTSD support for all members, firefighters, EMT’s and paramedics, and on September 10, 2017, the annual Police/Fire Mass at St. Monica’s Church.
Commissioner Covington thanked Chief Hayes-White for her report and mentioned that her heart goes out to the Choy family, especially since they have a 19-month-old child.  She confirmed with Chief Hayes-White that the Department is prepared for the protest events scheduled for the weekend.  She also confirmed with Chief Hayes-White that there are two positions available for the H-23 classification and Chief Hayes-White anticipates announcing the selections on September 1, 2017.
Commissioner Hardeman commended Chief Hayes-White for her extensive report and congratulated her for all the efforts she put into supporting the Choy family.
Commissioner Veronese talked about his visit to Treasure Island to see the training facility and he met Chief Columbini and the troops out there and observed what they do as they were practicing and asked that Chief Hayes-White keep the Commission advised on finding a new training facility.  He briefly talked about his interesting experience the day he spent with the EMS-6.  He mentioned that they do really important work and are helping some people.  He mentioned that not all the people they encountered were homeless and that we should not confuse lawlessness with compassion because they are two very different things.  He went on to talk about the wooden shelters and tents being a fire hazard and they are not only dangerous to the people living in them but dangerous for the firefighters who have to respond to incidents.
President Cleaveland thanked Chief Hayes-White for her report and asked her to describe the H-23 classification.  Chief Hayes-White stated that the positions were created to assist with the day-to-day operations at Station 49, which is currently at 1415 Evans.  She added because they are putting more ambulances out on the street, there is more paperwork, more accountability and more administrative work that needs to be done and the new position is to assist the Assistant Deputy Chief, the Section Chief and the Rescue Captain with the day-to-day operations of Station 49.  It’s creating a promotional opportunity that didn’t exist for the H-3 Level 1 rank in the department.  President Cleaveland confirmed that it provides a ladder of advancement for people who are paramedics or EMT’s that do not wish to or cannot become firefighters.
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 July 27, 2017 to August 23, 2017.  Chief Williams stated that the Assignment Office has been working on the Station 49 schedule in anticipation of the upcoming H-3 Level 1 and H-3 Level 2 bump up academies and assignment changes have also been made for the recently appointed permanent and acting positions from Battalion Chief, Captain, Lieutenant, and Incident Support Specialist.  With regards to Homeland Security, she mentioned that Chief Francisco has been updating the Command Staff of all suspicious and or potential terrorist activities, which includes the recent terrorist attack that occurred in Barcelona, Spain earlier in the month.  He has also attended various planning meetings and training exercises for upcoming events, including the “Patriot Prayer” rally in the Presidio as well as other activities occurring over the weekend.  She touched on Investigative Services Bureau, the Physician’s Office, and Support Services, which included Banner Uniform being awarded the two-year uniform contract, updates on Station 5, and Station 16.  Under Fleet Management, she mentioned that they recently completed the final inspection of the first engine from Ferreira and it should be in route shortly and is in conjunction with the arrival of four triple combination pumpers.  Chief Williams stated that BOE is currently performing field and equipment repairs in excess of 30 calls during the month of July and they have begun organizing and consolidating the storage containers behind Station 9 in anticipation of starting the ambulance deployment facility pre-construction work.  She covered updates on NERT, and the Fire Reserves.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Chief Williams for her comprehensive report and asked Chief Hayes-White when she plans on notifying the candidates of the upcoming 123rd H-2 academy.  Chief Hayes-White stated it is her goal to give the candidate two weeks’ notice, and if she can do more she will and the next class is scheduled for September 25, 2017.  Vice President Nakajo expressed his appreciation for all the hard work that Chief Castellanos has done over his glorious career and he thinks it’s important in terms of the Department, to be able to thank him openly in a public forum for his years of service.   Chief Castellanos thanked him for his nice thoughts and added that it has been an honor to serve under Chief Hayes-White and her Command Staff as well as his former Assistant Deputy Chiefs and that it has been an honor to serve the City and the Department and he will be a part of the fraternity for the rest of his life.  Vice President Nakajo also acknowledged Chief Siragusa and Captain Avila for the awards they recently received for their involvement at the active shooter incident at the UPS building.  He also touched on matters of protocol for the Commission when they are arranging specific visitations within the Department that communication is important and he mentioned that he would like to arrange for a ride-a-long with the EMS-6 Team as well as a site visit to Station 3.  He explained his understanding and comprehension of what EMS-6 is.  He mentioned that homeless issues, needle issues, and tent issues are city wide issues, but they also fall within the jurisdiction of the Fire Department.  He gave an example where the city attorney’s office is pressing charges on a landlord for a violation of many residents living unsafely in a warehouse which was discovered by members of the SFFD.
Commissioner Covington thanked Chief Castellanos for his fire service and stated it has been a pleasure to work with him and she is sorry that he is leaving the Department.  She added that she appreciated his warmth and care and how he handled the opening of Station 3 and wished him well in his retirement.
Commissioner Veronese acknowledged the fine job Chief Castellanos does out at the Airport and he’s sorry to hear he’s going and congratulated him on his retirement.  Commissioner Veronese recommended that all of his fellow commissioners take a ride along with the EMS 6, as it is really an eye-opening experience.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked Chief Williams for her report and thanked Chief Castellanos for doing a great job and congratulated him and wished him enjoyment in his retirement.
Chief Williams responded to Vice President Nakajo’s comment on the turnaround time of notifying the candidates that are considered for an academy and how important it is to have their background packets completed properly as anything that is left out will delay the process and possibly prevent them from being considered for an upcoming academy.
There was no public comment.
Report on Commission activities since last meeting of August 9, 2017, including site visit to Station 9 to view antique apparatus and equipment.
Vice President Nakajo gave a short summery of his August 11th visit to Station 9 with Commissioner Veronese.  He mentioned the purpose was not only to meet the members of Station 9, but also take a field trip to see the antique rigs, trucks and pumpers at the back of the Station.  He mentioned that he counted 14 different pieces of equipment that are in terrible condition and brought up the discussion of the “Memorandum of Understating” between the Guardians of the City and the Department.  Mr. Corso stated that following the Guardians presentation at the Fire Commission’s July meeting, he and Chief Rivera have been working closely with the City Attorney’s office and the City‘s Risk Management office on picking up the process of formalizing an MOU and executing an MOU agreement with the Guardians of the City.  He added that it’s more complicated than how the Guardians explained it as there are a number of issues that need to be resolved pertaining to the use of city property as far as actual locations for a business, the use of property, liability and insurance.  They touched on the allocated Willman funds that were released for the repair of the antique apparatus and he looks forward to an update on the William Fund and how the released funds will be used and identify what the priorities are.  He recommended, since the issues are complicated, if they could pull together a committee with representatives from the Commission, SFFD administration, and members of the Guardians of the City, to sit down and identify the issues and try to iron those issues out.  Mr. Corso agreed it would be a great idea and thought the Department would be interested in that idea.
Commissioner Veronese talked about his visit to Station 9 and acknowledged the great crew that works out there and the very good pasta they prepared for his visit.  He described the historic pieces that are stored behind Station 9 and mentioned that they need to find a short-term goal of finding a place to put them as they are really deteriorating.  He asked that if any of the City Departments that have extra storage space to please keep in mind, these historic pieces.  He suggested getting the MOU done.  He spoke briefly on a cliff rescue incident that he went to and how a drone would have been very helpful in that scenario.  He commended the members who responded to the incident and acknowledged the unbelievable work they do.
President Cleaveland thanked Commissioner Veronese for his passion on the subject of drones and historical apparatus and stated he will put together an ad hoc committee to to deal with the issues of the MOU and locate a place that they can store the apparatus in a safe location before it starts raining again.
Discussion regarding agenda for the September 13, 2017 regular meeting.
• Education and Outreach efforts
• Drone Policy
There was no public comment.
President Cleaveland adjourned the meeting in the memory of Firefighter Perry Choy at 7:13 p.m.