||04-20-2007 05:10 PM
Originally Posted by McCall St. Brewer
Aaaaah... isn't politics fun? So, let me get this straight: the outgoing cheif is no good, so he basically got canned, but then they're hiring a new chief who not only seems to have been a complete f*ck-up at his old job, but also is probably an affirmative action hire? And this is a guy who is going to be in charge of making sure than when people have major fire and medical emergencies that they are taken care of properly?
Yeah basicly you got it right. I just cant believe that out of the 33 aplicants for the job and I know just about every chief in the department now applied for the job that Holton is the best man. Basicly they are bringing him in to cut even more positions from the fire department even though over the last 5 years we have lost the 3rd paramedic on the paramedic rigs, we have lost the 5th man on the single engine companies, and now we have lost the 5th man on most of the trucks so we can "be in line with NFPA standards" . . . never mentioning that those standards are THE BARE MINIMUM and politcally designed to maintain the lowest possible staffing for small rural and suburban departments to meet the absolute basic safety standards. Also thos cuts we have taken have reduced our capability on our fire engines and trucks by 80% based on the federally mandated "2 in 2 out" safety requirements. Not only does it limit what a company can do while they are on scene but it also forces the dispatchers to send more companies to make up for the loss in manpower further reducing service to the rest of the citizens.
EXAMPLE: When i first started we would send 3 engines 2 trucks, and 2 chiefs to all house fires (24 - 27 guys) now we have to send a minimum of 4 engines, 2 trucks, 2 chiefs and a med rig (28 - 30 guys) for the exact same fire and rutinly special call for an additional engine and truck (8 - 9 guys). So instead of having basicly 3 areas with reduced fire/ems protection due to a house fire now we have at a minimum of 4 areas with reduced protection more then likely 5-6 areas.
Here's a little bit more on the new Chump . . .
St. Paul fire chief headed for Milwaukee
Weeks after a scathing no-confidence vote from firefighters, Doug Holton lands the top spot in his hometown.
By Curt Brown and Mary Lynn Smith, Star Tribune staff writers
Last update: April 20, 2007 – 8:10 AM
Halfway through his first term as St. Paul's fire chief and weeks after a stunning no-confidence vote from his firefighters, Doug Holton will be returning to his hometown of Milwaukee as that city's new fire chief.
The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission selected Holton for a four-year term as chief Thursday night, and Bobbie Webber, president of the Milwaukee firefighters' union, said that he has accepted the job.
"We have concerns about his history with the union up there, but we're prepared to work through the issues and move forward," said Webber, who leads the Firefighters Local 215.
It was Holton's third try for the chief's position in Milwaukee, where he built his career before coming to St. Paul in 2003. This time he beat out the other four finalists, including Milwaukee's current chief, William Wentlandt.
He was also chosen over chiefs from Dayton, Ohio, and Des Moines, and a deputy chief from the District of Columbia.
"Although it was a difficult decision, it's an opportunity for me to go back to the fire department where my career began," Holton, 50, told the Associated Press. "I'm looking forward to being a little closer to family and friends."
He said he wasn't sure when he will start his new job.
The Milwaukee department is roughly double the size of St. Paul's.
Holton will be leaving the St. Paul Fire Department at a time when many firefighters and supervisors say morale has never been lower. Relations between Holton and the city's firefighters' unions have soured dramatically in the past year. Last month, union officials reported that their members returned a scathing indictment against Holton's leadership in a 366-6 vote of no confidence.
Holton was St. Paul's first black fire chief, and only the second to be appointed from outside the department. Black leaders in St. Paul said they believed the no-confidence vote was influenced by his race. Union leaders said opposition to Holton was based not on his race but on a management style they described as heavy-handed.
'We can all move on'
Both critics and supporters said Holton's departure will offer everyone a fresh start.
"I hope everyone is happy now -- the chief, the city administration and [firefighter union] Local 21," said Nathaniel Khaliq, president of the St. Paul NAACP chapter and a former firefighter. "We can all move on."
But Khaliq also said he was disappointed it had come to this, noting that he had served on the search committee that recommended Holton's appointment in 2003. "We had high hopes that he would be our chief for a long time," he said.
Pat Flanagan, president of Local 21 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said Holton's departure will be "perfect timing" for the department, which is seeking to make changes following the recommendations of a recent independent audit.
"We need someone we can work with," Flanagan said. Holton's "autocratic style," he said, was "not a good fit for St. Paul."
Moved up ranks
Holton has argued that, since he became chief, staffing and equipment have improved and more overtime has been available for firefighters.
But in the midst of the turmoil last month, it was announced that Holton was one of five finalists to lead the Milwaukee Fire Department.
Less than a week later, a 326-page independent audit of the St. Paul Fire Department recommended that officials find a solution to the department's "internal crisis," a reference to the poor relations between labor and management.
Mayor Chris Coleman, who was unavailable for comment Thursday, said after the audit that both sides shared the blame for the department's tattered morale but that it was Holton's responsibility "to set the tone and direction."
Holton became a firefighter with the Milwaukee department in 1978 and steadily rose in the ranks. He was a deputy chief in Milwaukee in 2003 when former Mayor Randy Kelly appointed him fire chief in St. Paul.
"When we first met him, we were filled with optimism and found him to be a friendly, articulate, charismatic guy," said Tim Wirth, an engine captain and 27-year veteran of the department.
But the widespread belief among union members that Holton was merely carrying out Kelly's orders led to disappointment, Wirth said.
City Council President Kathy Lantry said she agreed with Flanagan that the impending changes in the department will be easier to implement because the mistrust between the union and chief will be gone.
But she said she's convinced Holton applied for the Milwaukee job mostly because it was a chance for him to go home.
"There's a big draw to go back to where you came from," she said. "Even if things were going swimmingly here, he would have gone back home because it's a natural draw for people."
We have a website that will allow you to view what companies are out and what they are doing that is for internal use only. It's a map of the city with all the locations of the fire houses and who occupies those houses. You should see the gaps in coverage when a house fire is going on, and if there are 2 OMFG . . . half the city is f*cked. I wish the general public could get to this site:mad: