Fire Commission - January 13, 2016 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
January 13, 2016 - 9:00am




Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 9:00 a.m.

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 416, San Francisco, California, 94102

The Video can be viewed by clicking this link:


President Evans called the meeting to order at 9:03 AM. 


1.         ROLL CALL

Commission President

Andrea Evans


Commission Vice President

Francee Covington



Stephen Nakajo



Michael Hardeman



Ken Cleaveland





Chief of Department

Joanne Hayes-White



Raemona Williams

Deputy Chief – Administration


Ken Lombardi

Support Services

Shane Francisco

Homeland Security

Dan DeCossio

Bureau of Fire Prevention

Richard Brown

Bureau of Fire Prevention

Jeff Columbini

Division of Training

Tony Molloy


Jeff Myers


Assistant Chiefs


Tom Siragusa

Division 3





Mark Corso


Clement Yeh

Medical Director




Michael Petrelis, stated he was glad the Fire Commission was finally on SFGOV TV and thanked the Commission for advocating for the move.  He showed a video that he took of a Fire Department vehicle, in his opinion, causing a hazard.  He stated his dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency of how the Department handled his complaint.

Tom O’Connor, Shawn Bufford, Keith Baraka, Gerard Cooper, Kathy Gilbraith and Norm Cava, of Local 798 and United Employee Groups, presented President Evans with an honorary fire helmet and thanked her for her years of service, dedication, and advocacy and for standing by them during the darkest of times.

Adam Wood also thanked President Evans for her years of service.  He also talked about a recent incident in Alameda involving an SUV that drove into an estuary and SFFD deployed the mutual aid policy and sent a dive team to assist in the recovery efforts.

President Evans thanked everyone for their kind words.

3.         APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES [Discussion and possible action]

Discussion and possible action to approve meeting minutes.

  • Minutes from Regular Meeting on December 3, 2015

Commissioner Cleaveland Moved to approve the December 3, 2015 regular meeting Minutes.  Commissioner Hardeman Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes was unanimous.

  • Minutes from the Regular Meeting on December 17, 2015

Commissioner Hardeman Moved to approve the December 17, 2015 regular meeting Minutes.  Commissioner Cleaveland Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes was unanimous.

  • Minutes from the Special Meeting on December 17, 2015

Commissioner Hardeman Moved to approve the December 17, 2015 special meeting Minutes.  Commissioner Cleaveland Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes was unanimous.

Public Comment:  Michael Petrelis stated his desire to have the Chief’s reports submitted in writing.


4.         FIRE COMMISSION ANNUAL STATEMENT OF PURPOSE 2016 [Discussion and possible action]

Discussion and possible action to adopt the 2016 Annual Statement of Purpose.

Public Comment:  Michael Petrelis stated he doesn’t see a copy of this document available to the public.  Commission Secretary stated that there was a copy in the binder on the desk and that it will be posted on the website once approved.  Chief Hayes-White gave him her copy.

Commissioner Cleaveland Moved to adopt the 2016 Annual Statement of Purpose.  Commissioner Hardeman Seconded.  Motion to adopt the Annual Statement of Purpose was unanimous.


Presentation from Fire Marshal Daniel DeCossio on Calendar Year 2015 Fires, including status of investigations.

Fire Marshal Daniel DeCossio shared his remarks from the last meeting and gave an overview of working fires for the calendar year 2015, with a total of 191, including 18 working fires in the Mission District.  He touched on currently known causes, statistics and outreach ideas.  He gave an overview on current and outstanding investigations and how those numbers are arrived at and the step process to close those investigations.

Commissioner Cleaveland thanked Fire Marshall DeCossio for the information and asked how long investigations take.  Fire Marshall DeCossio stated it depends on the circumstances of the fire.  He added that Captain Brown has been tasked with outreach on fire prevention in the various City communities.

Commissioner Nakajo appreciated the information from the last meeting and from today and was happy to see that the numbers are actually down in reference to working fires in the City.  Fire Marshall DeCossio stated he believes they are down because of awareness of causes of fire.


Vice President Covington also thanked him for his presentation.  She asked if they were beefing up code enforcement efforts.  Fire Marshall DeCossio answered yes, that code enforcement is driven by complaints filed.  They are becoming more efficient in processing the complaints.  Specifying causes of fires is part of the outreach they are conducting.

Commissioner Hardeman thanked Fire Marshall DeCossio for the information.  He added that smoke alarms are important to have and they now have a 10 year battery life.

President Evans suggested developing Public Service announcements to get important information out the members of the public.  She also thought they should change the definition of “backlog” when dealing with investigations, break it down better, such as recent fires should not be included in the “backlog” data, but maybe fires that happened many months ago, a year ago would be in that category.  They touched on data of structure, car, outside, and portable toilet fires.

Further questions and answers ensued.

Public Comment:  Michael Petrelis suggested having a Commission meeting in the Mission District.

6.         REPORT ON FY 2016-2017 CAPITAL BUDGET [Discussion and possible action]
Report from the Department’s Chief Financial Officer on the Department’s 2015-2016 Capital Budget.

Mark Corso, CFO for the Department, presented the attached Fiscal Year 2016-17 and 2017-18 Capital Budget Request:

The Commissioners thanked Mr. Corso for his detailed report.  The 89 million they are asking for in the budget, realistically will not be funded, and they will have to rely on ESER funding to address some of the projects outlined in the budget.  They talked about infrastructure and prioritizing the list.  Liability was mentioned as something to consider when having to wait months to order and get necessary supplies, equipment and other needs of the Department and there should be a fast track that the Fire Department should be on.  It was suggested that the Industrial Hygienist take a look at the Stations needs and health ramifications and present it to the budget analyst in a health and wellness argument so they can see that the items we are asking for are real operational needs so that our members can do the job they were hired to do.  The Commission volunteered to send a letter to the BOS and Mayor’s office in support of the SFFD’s budget requests.

Vice President Covington Moved to approve the FY 2016-2017 Capital Budget.  Commissioner Cleaveland Seconded.  Motion to approve the FY 2016-2017 Capital Budget was unanimous.

7.         CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT’S REPORT [Discussion]


Report on current issues, activities and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting of December 17 2015, including Fiscal Year 2015-2016 budget, staffing changes, academies, strategic planning, 150th Anniversary update, special events, communications and outreach to other government agencies and the public.

Chief Hayes-White announced that the Budget Committee has reconvened.  She gave a brief update on the staffing changes, including Chief Guzman requesting to go back to the field as a Battalion Chief, Assistant Deputy Chief Raemona Williams filling the position of Deputy Chief of Administration and Captain Jeff Columbini filling the position of Assistant Deputy Chief of Training.  She touched on the graduation of the 118th Academy and the upcoming 119th Academy which is scheduled to start on January 25, 2016.  There was brief discussion on the H-8’s, strategic planning, 150th Anniversary plans and Super Bowl 50.  She asked that the Commission adjourn in the memory of Firefighter Lauifi Seumaala.  She concluded her report by thanking President Evans for her service and complimented her on her achievements as a Fire Commissioner.

Public Comment:  Michael Petrelis stated his desire to have the Chief’s report in written form.  He stated that he thinks the Commission should meet in the Mission to chat with the community and that more information and signage should be posted on fire stations in regards to the use of fire station public restrooms access and there should be more discussion at the next meeting about how the Department has prepared for the Super Bowl.

Commissioner Cleaveland applauded the Chief for the budget consensus project she instituted last year and he hopes she continues to do so in the next budget cycle.  He asked her when the Strategic Plan would be final.  Chief Hayes-White answered that they are targeting for spring time.

Commissioner Nakajo congratulated Chief Jeff Columbini on his new position as Assistant Deputy Chief of Training.  He asked if Airport Chief Dales Carnes has been replaced.  Chief Hayes-White stated that they are currently conducting interviews and she anticipated an announcement for that position hopefully next week.  Regarding the H-8’s, the goal is to have a pool of 50 positions.

Vice President Covington thanked the Chief for her report and asked for clarification on the amount budgeted to the Fire Department for Super Bowl Week.  Chief Hayes-White broke down the numbers and stated that she thinks they can stay within the budgeted amount.  There was brief discussion on the next three year academy schedule.  Vice President Covington thanked President Evans for her 8 years of service on the Fire Commission and extended many compliments for her leadership and dedication to the Department.

Commissioner Hardeman thanked the Chief for her report and for having the last academy graduation at Balboa High School.  He touched on the relocation of Station 3 at the Airport and acknowledged John Martin, Director of the Airport for his many years of service and support he has extended to the Department, as he heads into retirement.

President Evans congratulated Chief Columbini on his promotion.  She mentioned that with regards to the timing of the strategic plan, they are in conversation with Mark Corso to make sure that the needs that they currently anticipate will be shared with the Budget Committee and to assure everyone that if there's something that they see on the horizon now and needs to be funded this year or the next year, they will share with the budget committee.  She added that they won't lose an entire year in that process.


Report on overall field operations, including to greater alarm fires, Emergency Medical Services, the Bureau of Fire Prevention & Investigation, and the Airport Division.

Chief Myers gave the Operations Report.  It included three greater alarms.  The first was a 2nd alarm on December 3, 2015 at 2533-2535 Lombard Street.  The cause of the fire was accidental.  The next was on December 10, 2015 at 3045-03047 Mission Street.  There were no injuries and the cause of this fire was accidental.  The third fire was also a 2nd alarm on December 29, 2015 at 253 Lincoln Way.  There were no injuries and the cause of the fire was accidental.

Chief Myers touched on the EMS operations which included Super Bowl 50 planning, New Year’s Eve EMS response planning, review and update of H-8 task book and Field Evaluation completion process and the H-3 Level 1 selection for a February class.  He touched on end of year review, plan check and an update on Transportation Advisory Staff Committee.

The Commissioners thanked Chief Meyers for his report and follow-up questions and answers ensued.


Communications to the Commission received since the last meeting of December 17, 2015.

  • Email from Jim Connors dated 12/29/15

Discussion regarding the agenda for the January 27, 2016  regular meeting.

  • Vision Zero task force update/MTA/ISCOT

  • Presentation from Code Enforcement

  • Budget Discussions

  • Resolution to accept donations received

  • Progress report on Mission District outreach
  • Bayview Hunter’s Pot Development update

  • Training facility update

  • Report on retrofitting SRO’s with sprinklers


            a. Nomination and election of Commission President.

President Evans nominated V.P. Covington for Commission President.  Commissioner Nakajo seconded and the nomination for Commission President was unanimously approved.

b. Nomination and election of Commission Vice-President.

Vice President nominated Commissioner Cleaveland for Vice President.  Commissioner Nakajo seconded and the nomination for Commission Vice President was unanimously approved.


President Evans adjourned the meeting in the memory of Firefighter Lauifi Seumaala at 11:50 AM.