New ‘Stop the LBFD Layoffs’ Blog

LBPFA logoIt looks like there is a Stop the Long Beach Firefighter layoffs blog. So for those who want to follow up and support the cause, here is the link:

This is all in response to this: The City of Long Beach – ICMA Public Safety Management- Emergency Response Study Public Meeting Documents


56 Replies to “New ‘Stop the LBFD Layoffs’ Blog”

  1. I don’t understand how by losing a hospital morphs into cutting our firefighters from 33 to 12. The current budget costs 36 cents a day per household. That’s a true bargain for safety. Since sandy firefighter crews should be going up not down. They wanna add cheaper lower quality employees to replace them. This whole report is fabricated graphs and charts, none of the numbers make any sense.
    Meanwhile the council and city manager all got raises? Overtime and spending is out is of control. The others unions got 4% raises. City is spending tons of taxpayers money on luxuries. Taxpayers are gonna be stuck with major bills for all the lawsuits.
    This is a recipe for disaster.

  2. The problem with the $.36/day per household logic is that it’s inherently flawed. The tax burden of City salaries is not borne equally or by all the residents. The salaries are funded exclusively by the already over-taxed property owners… which amount to only approx 10% of the population in Long Beach.

    Propose an “individual or personal tax” on all residents that would be funded by the entire population and you may find more community support – that is, if the majority see the value and are willing to absorb the cost.

    (FYI… as a matter of economics, the rental market is driven by supply and demand and not cost-of-living. Therefore, the burden of property tax increases in the last decade have been absorbed entirely by the property owners, without consideration from those residents who rent.)

    I’m not necessarily a fan of the way this City does or has ever done “business” (and I use that term very loosely as there is a lot of room for improvement. If our City were a private sector business, some people would absolutely be fired for their decisions, conduct and inability to do the job they were hired to do) but, whether you like it or not, the overwhelming majority of the emergency calls are EMS-based. Quite frankly, it is in the best interest of the minority who are taxpayers/property owners to hire medically-qualified individuals to meet the needs of the majority, in lieu of firefighter salaries. More fiscally responsible and less expensive does not equal lower quality – particularly when you consider it is Paramedics they are recruiting who are actually more medically qualified that the current AMTs at the CC level – which defines the overwhelming majority of LBFD members.

    Keep in mind, too, that there are firefighters who are still currently affecting the budget but are not being considered in your reference to number of active personnel. It’s important to include an accurate headcount for all personnel on payroll. The property owners are continuing to pay for them as long as they remain on the payroll, regardless of whether they are active or inactive.

    I’ve read the plan with an executive-level understanding and there is plenty of room for improvement. I also believe they could have enlisted a more qualified consulting company to conduct the analysis. However, the overall plan and numbers presented generally do make sense, as do the graphs, if you understand how to interpret them. Having personally engaged in business with all the top tier consulting firms – BCG, McKinsey et al – I can say with confidence that their approach may have been more thorough but that the outcome very likely would have been very similar.

    From the perspective of a property owner, it is upsetting to see the City Council and City Manager take salary increases and out-of-control overtime and spending, but adding to the tax burden with firefighter salaries in lieu of replacing with medically qualified personnel to handle the greater majority of calls (which ARE medical-related) is not the answer either.

    Change has to begin somewhere and, sadly for the 5 individuals affected, the buck stopped with them. But, as is the case in the private sector when an individual loses their job, they have attained valuable training and experience that can help them secure and excel in their next position. I understand as many as 4 already have plans in place for their next move.

    We can only hope that this is a step in the right direction. What it is not, is “a recipe for disaster”.

  3. Well written and very eloquent statement, but you can’t ignore the facts. Long beach needs both proper fire and ems protection. The most affordable and efficient way to do both, is with an improvement of the current employee model, and not the current way that the city intends on moving forward. There is no reason to cut fire crews. Long beach is a high risk needs community for fire protection. We are extremely densely populated, homes are 4 feet apart from each other. We have many high rise buildings all along the shore line with coastal winds, and wind is a major dangerous factor for firemen. Since sandy, all the homes are taller and made of much more flammable material. They are also at least a story higher. These are all contributing favors for proper fire staffing. The science is there, crew size and response times of trained responders is critical to minimize the emergency. Having no hospital doesn’t correlate with reducing fire staffing numbers and crews sizes. Ems is the predominant emergency nationally and locally. It’s not jut long beach. There will always be a lot of Ems. That doesn’t mean we should ignore proper fire protection.
    I don’t see how at 5 percent of a budget and 36 cents a day for proper fire and Ems protection is the reason taxpayers are overburdened. There is team pant mismanagement in other areas, look at the money spent in other areas, look at the tremendous amount of taxpayer money being lost on lawsuits.

    Realize the icma report made a lot of recommendations. But most importantly they said that the city has to fix it’s fractured management system, conduct a risk assessment and evaluate it standard of coverage needs before doing any changes. They haven’t done any of those. So yes, what they are doing is a recipe for disaster and failure. Even the report said that. These changes will not support improved care. Icma realized that alternative 1 goes against efficiency studies and safety standards. That is why the put in how the city needs to do their own diligence. While that wasn’t in the headlines of the report, the city has acknowledged they need to do them, but the city lawyers said “eh, that was just Icma covering themselves”. That is a catastrophic flaw in what is happening.
    Bottom line, you can’t completely avoid emergencies, but you can plan and prepare for them. This isn’t proper planning, it’s the opposite.

  4. Current set up is top heavy and full of entitled overpaid Aholes who only want more more more. Paid engine of 12 is fine to handle the 8 or less fired per year – and yes, we do have volunteers that can do the same job – regardless what the superhero paid men say. EMS will be better off and we save money. The argument for jobs just doesn’t cut it – especially the current Union thug mentality along with their family and friends screaming total BS. When the new system is in place everyone will see the quality coverage and better service. Welcome to 2015.

  5. It’s more than a little ironic that you would cite contract negotiations from “a few years ago.” How about the current negotiations, still zero’s? It’s more than a little ironic that you haven’t stated the union’s position re: retro, then or now. Well? It’s more than a little ironic that you (of all people) would object to the thug mentality label, given your current legal predicament.

    Keep thinking you’re smarter than everyone. You’re fooling no one.

  6. @anthony Looks like this great blog is getting adulterated by people who would rather make blanket childish statements and curse people out. Can you please monitor it, it is losing it’s quality by all these childish remarks and insults.
    Some people actually care about this city, others prefer to throw poo

  7. Junior – unfortunately it seems that all blogs relating to LB politics suffer this fate. I don’t understand why adversarial discourse has to devolve to name calling and, yet, that is what always happens.

  8. Junior. Have you experienced the city council meetings and what’s said from the union side? God forbid someone stand and make a reasonable point against them – shouted down, boo’d officials the podium. It amazes me that its ok for one side to rant on but lord help the other. So deal with it here.

  9. If you guys are so professional and have so much more training – why is it I see crews continuously responding to calls and entering the building with no gear on. No packs or helmets – too cool? Including your XO who walks right in with street clothes. How do you know what’s going on inside? And if it is a problem you have to run back out to gear up? Very professional indeed.

  10. Ted the professional Firefighters get “Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 training within the first two weeks of a 4 month fire academy. How many long beach volunteers are qualified with anything past “essentials” training?
    And Ted you are taking about false alarms where the home residents called the dispatcher and wer told prior they were arriving at a false alarm.

    But stay on topic please explain why you think the training is the same?

  11. can everyone please be aware that this topic in general has officially Jumped the Shark. one former city council president yesterday stated his simpleton position that we have $8M in designated FEMA money, yet we are laying off 4 firefighters and states his apparent confusion on how the 2 matters are unrelated. when the public is unable to decipher the nuances of FEMA moneys and its permitted uses that can be understood to some degree. when a former city council president publicly espouses that same nonsense it is time to put this issue to rest.

    rumor has it that a new website is going to be unveiled this week advocating that the surplus from the previous administration should be used to pay the fireman.

    fyi, I have been a republican for my entire life and am one of the most conservative people in LB, just i case you think this is gordie or others.

  12. Losing your job sucks. For those who remain, knowing the model you have lived with and relied on is changing, sucks. Attacking the motivations of the politicians is fair enough, but attacking residents who believe that an EMS-based model is better as jerks, idiots or puppets of Schnirman is offensive and has been a fundamental model of vocal supporters of the LBFD.

    Without question, other departments should be audited, subject to performance tests and held to budgeting. Will the current administration do that? Maybe not, but we should all demand that, and we should use what has been done with respect to the LBFD as grounds to push on every other department.

  13. I agree with Publius. There are many ways to effect cost control, perhaps best achieved through the “audit” he suggests.

    My simple remedy: reduce Overtime substantially, since it bloats budgets and pensions. Establish a metric: no overtime over x% of budget without senior manager approval.

  14. The LB fire department has been exsposed. The fActs show that it is cheaper to hire emts and paramedics to handle ambulance calls rather than use firefighters who are nedded for fires. Unfortunately this is a problem throughout New York. Actual structurals fires are down and ambulance calls are up. So fire departments i an effort to save their bureacracy deciddd to get into the ambulance business. The other bizarre component is that there are people willing to volunteer to be firefighters creating further savings. The municipal union rant is very tiresome.

  15. My one contribution to this topic will be this: the FD were dispatched to 868 car crashes (involving other cars, pedestrians, cyclists and random objects) between 2009 through 2014.

    When my head gets run over by an SUV because some dicknuckle opens their car door outside the post office, the last thing I will worry about is if the responder is a paramedic or fireman, how they were hired, if they were union or not, paid or volunteer. Seriously, just save my pretty face.

  16. Just like the beech street fire a year or so ago. Thank god you…oh wait, you weren’t there….I mean the first due paid guys snuffed that one out fast. Keep up the “world is ending” and bashing Volly side strategy–you’re doing a bang up job representing your Union. You all, and the ones who will be left, must be proud. Alternative 1!

  17. Hey Jay — shouldn’t you be in your black mask and cape atop city hall shinning the bat signal so the same angry mob can ascend on the council meeting to hit “play” on the same tired speeches —-

  18. Holy Alternative 1 batman – who will listen to us now after it proves all will be well in Gotham – as well as provide 2million a year in savings. Ah shucks batman, our time is dwindling…

  19. Hard to keep reading this. Without taking a position, it’s a sad argument. First and foremost, while the Volunteers appear to be a noble cause, they are simply a black hole of $$$$. $50K a year for a country club “Induction Ceremony.” that taxpayers pay for. FOUR vehicles, Tahoes, driven around by the never ending stream of “CHIEFS” that remarkably find themselves on trips to Oceanside, Rockville Centre, etc, in CITY VEHICLES, for no apparent reason, or to attend their kids dance recitals?. Didn’t we have this dust up about the gas pumps? Well maybe we check these guys out a bit as well. Or maybe we look at the cost of gear for over 125 Volunteers when maybe 20 show up for calls? $2000-$3000 each for gear?? Or the cost for the parties at the West End firehouse? Or maybe the “part time” work that the Commissioner gives to his “chiefs” at the building dept? Or do we look to the Police Commissioner and his endless stream of OT and costs? At some point, either we come to a real plan for this City and stop focusing in on personal affronts. Either we control how the $$$ is spent IN TOTAL, or stop throwing crap at each other. MAKE THE CITY COUNCIL AND THEIR BOSSES ACCOUNTABLE!!!

  20. I don,t see why you have to bring yourself down to the GUTTER level to express your viewpoint and I wonder about your real agenda. Obviously you have your own personal axe to grind. Did you not qualify for the job?

    Resident 49 years

  21. hi jay…johnny here…im sure we can get a vollie to ride with 43 on every know the 2 in 2 out rule….I hope you guys work this out with the city, I hate to see anybody loose there job

  22. jay, lets look at this with our eyes wide open, as 1 union firefighter and 1 vollie firefighter shall we…..the folks in city hall are your bosses like it our not. bashing them will not help your cause. like all jobs in the private sector lay-offs and reorganizing are the norm and were seeing more and more of this happening in the civil service, nobody likes it but it still happens and I for 1 don’t know what to do about it and just because someone passes a test goes to school for 16 weeks and joins a union does not guarantee a job for life… it sucks, [ I get layed off 20 weeks a year]….vollie training….yes that’s true, very few of us have ff 1 and 2..its not offerd to us from the city, but a few of us went out and got it anyway. there are about 120 vollie firefighters and rescue members on the vollie side of the dept i’d say 80 are active and like everywhere some are just tee shirt wearing guys…you have them in the union too, and in my case , I don’t want the tee shirts I don’t go to the dinners or partys I train and read so I can help the good folks of long beach and the union firefighters… and im with a large group of guys that think the same way I do and were only there to help when called out…now I’ve seen a few posts stating that the vollies are not trained to the level as the union firefighters.. in some cases that’s true..why???? well maybe because the firefighters that we did have that were trained far above anyone from the unions training was run out of the dept only because they were FDNY and were willing to help there city….long beach, and when I as a chief brought in a training group [ pl valcun [ to help get the most out of what we had the union refused there training because they were FDNY SOC FIREFIGHTERS…now lets agree that we don’t see eye to eye on most things, I get it!! im just a vollie, let me ask you this, the dept has a fire and the union and vollies are there working!!! would you feel better alone or with me beside you or behind you…now on to more serious stuff. there was a time I would do anything for you union guys, made sure you guys on holidays had pie from my family but not anymore..when you bash someone and there family for doing something that you don’t agree with you burned that bridge. and when the union supporters and family members rip us apart for not standing up for the union you can tell them why the vollies are staying out of it.. because of the spoken words from your union…the vollies amount to as much as dog crap on the soul of my shoe…answer this question, if your really worried about the good people of long beach …if the city layed off all of the union firemen, world you vollie up to protect the city!!!….I know the answer to that, so spare the good folk from long beach the doom and gloom and the upcoming apocalypse [ hope I spelled it right ] in the city…calling a spade a spade….it all about your money your contract and the union and nothing to do with serving the people of long beach…answer to it all… PUT 2 VOLLIES ON THE 1ST DUE ENGINE ON EVERY TOUR…that’s as far as I can go[ middle school eduction ]….and I speak for myself and not the vollie side of the long beach fire dept

  23. The volleys would have to be trained first. At least up to Firefighter level 2. And certified medically for interior attack. Not many Long Beach Volunteers are. How many volunteers are even at the level? Training is important. Right?

  24. I am speaking for myself….PROUD AND PISSED..when my family is attacked by there union I owe it to MY FAMILY to step up and fight back.and your right they treat us like shit and they don’t issue is the public have no idea what they do or don’t do and the only thing the public see’s or hear’s about the dept come’s from the union side and somebody has to step up and show the public …..don’t be fooled by the union…its about jobs and money….a lot of the public see this blog.

  25. John The Volunteers run the department!!! They call all the shots. They have stolen the Union companies Nozzles in the middle of the night. They have denied the professionals the equipment they need to do their job. Why are the volunteer silent when they know this report is misleading. Treated like shit? really?
    John explain how a two man engine is a good idea. Explain why volley companies constantly roll with only two men. Explain why Long Beach is not even in the top 10 in Nassau county fire spending, where only two depts have paid firefighters?
    Who are we fooling?
    Other Paid departments are licking there chops to get their hands on these laid off firefighters. They will be fine!! It is the citizens of Long Beach that suffer!!!!
    Might not be the case in other volunteer depts but the average Long Beach Volunteer does not have the proper training, and many don’t meet any physical standard. I don’t know who you want to blame for that. but is is a documented fact. stretching some hose in the city hall parking lot does not cut it. Stop kidding yourselves.

    Professional Firefighters in Long Beach are already tasked with responding to fires without a truck company full of properly trained firefighters leaving with them. The truck company in theory would gain access to the structure find the fire and vent. The professionals in Long Beach already have to do the first two by themselves. And you think they should do it with less? Now they are going to do with with only three guys??? John how can you stand for this? You know this is unsafe!!!! And you know the only time you see anything close to 107 volunteers is at a dinner or a parade.

  26. until the city goes out and hire’s enough union firefighters to fully staff all the units full time then you have to work with what ya have…some training is better then none at all.. I don’t know who run’s the dept.. it seems everybody has a slice of that pie.. i only worry about what i have to do at a fire and that is to make sure everyone goes home union or volie….dinners or parades….don’t know about that..i don’t go to them, used to…not anymore..let me ask you this….how would you fix all that you think is wrong from soup to nuts…im waiting your reply…and yes.. we have a lot of fat guys….and as far as the other depts. and what they have…..don’t know don’t care…..i work with what i have

  27. John first thing that would have to be done is change the structure if the dept. Volunteers in charge of paid is a bad idea. The results are proven. There has to be accountability at the top. A commissioner that is also the building commissioner is not so smart either. A department that is responsible for a city this size deserves and requires a real leadership. There is a new Chief almost every year. They become chief based on the votes of around 50 other volunteers. This is no way to run a dept. 100 years of this and there are still zero SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) which is disgraceful. There has to be some standards to be in the Dept. How is it, that one can be the Chief of the Department can’t even pass the standard to be on the professional force? That should not be? There needs to be min staffing for all apparatus. They should never roll with 2 members. Yet they always do. There should be yearly physicals and medicals. Violent convicted felons should be banned, not given leadership positions. There is much more but that is a good start.
    You are an ex-chief and you don’t know who runs the department? That could be a major problem as well.

  28. being a ex-chief means nothing…..medicals cost a lot of money. to have them every year means the dept will have to give up something that’s needed…SOP…..if the vollies put down sop’s would the union follow them? if the union put down sops would it be top heavy and anti vollie..and who do you think should run the dept.. there is no test for captain or chief for civil service right now so you would need to change the city charter I think!!… im asking what you would do to fix all that you think is wrong with the dept..soup to nuts!!! im not gonna blast you for what you think nor am I gonna 2nd guess what you think or give you reasons why it cant or can work.. the issues with the dept and the city need solutions real solutions…all I ever see is folks throwing out problems and never a plan that work for all… so put some time and thought into it…..what would the union do if they ran the dept…its a simple question

  29. How many other paid departments are there on Long Island?

    If the other departments are excited to hire these guys, has anyone hired Brian McNamara yet? He’s been fired for months.

  30. This had been the saddest thread I have read in awhile. As a resident I’m assuming we will never know the nuances of the LBFD, the LBPD or the inner workings of City Hall. I could FOIL till I die.

    Volunteers have been and continue to be a cornerstone of any community. To state that their value is insignificant is insulting to everyone involved. The ICMA report in its entirety cannot be picked apart and paragraphs taken out of context and used to negate Union disputes by the Administration. The damn thing is 80 pages. Most repeating itself but hey I didn’t write it 🙂

    I had the unfortunate incident of the fire alarm going off during the months post storm because of the alarm company and brown outs. Hoping to stop the LBFD from a trip I’d call saying, “Don’t come. we’re ok”. LBFD comes because they want to make sure I’m ok (and sure there’s a rule written somewhere).

    One day there were no LBFD vollies or paid. Lawrence came. Five men came in Full gear and I mean FULL. Sweat down their faces, axes on their backs with tanks and ready for any haz mat issues as the silent alarm was coming from the attic. I thanked them profusely, even the dogs stayed quiet as strangers came to save lives.

    Residents want our LBFD to be fully staffed and trained. We want you ALL to have the right equipment. Our volunteer force to be prepared. No one wants a death on their hand because a volunteer hasn’t received significant training.

    Change NEEDS to happen. It sucks. Everyone involved needs to come to the table when it comes to the safety of the City. If we can’t make that happen then we’re doomed to repeat the same poorly planned behaviors.

    Thank you for saving my life LBFD.

  31. im sorry you had to see this liz….let me assure you if NO LBFD firefighters came to your home for an emergency call its because the whole dept was working at a house or building fire….were working on it

  32. Thanks jonny. My point is it wasn’t an “emergency ” type day. We know what they are. It was a Summer month. I know that the LBFD will come save my ass at anytime. I didn’t know this “rift” existed.
    The more I think of it this instance maybe an example that we need as a City to truly ensure we come together. I’m not asking we sing Kumbaya. Just make sure we are availing every funding source possible for all involved.

    Experienced firefighters should not be used as chess pieces in a budget.

  33. very informative. the civil discourse is appreciated as well.
    I have a lot of respect for ANYBODY who straps on the gear and risks their life for LB residents. what I don’t respect is the way resident safety is used as a tool to hide fiscal incompetence by people running the City.
    go ahead and throw out five firefighters, but it’s ok to have ‘volunteers” riding around in brand new City Tahoes? filling up gas tanks to take their families to personal activities? expensive parties each year? why?
    why so secretive about publishing the $$$$ spent on all of those activities? if there is an independent expert out there, then that is who should look at this and protect the residents of LB. tell us what $$ is spent on both sides of this argument and show us where the excess is so maybe we can finally have the services that BEST serve the RESIDENTS. Come on now, FOUR CHIEFS riding around in brand new vehicles? is that truly reasonable?
    just my opinion, but isn’t time the residents got fairly treated.

  34. Who is lower quality? If your going to make such a clearly uneducated comment, please support it with your facts. Here is a fact for you, the volunteers are continuously training when the ‘paid firefighters’ refuse to do anything unless they are getting paid. So, who is less qualified? Just because they collect a paycheck does not make them better by any stretch of the imagination. As a matter of fact John Filler has said once before that he is only there because he can run his full time business from his full time city job, no ambishion to even be a firefighter.

  35. Firefighter 1 & 2 then training stops… when the volunteers continuously train and take classes from both NCFSA or Montour Falls. The LB Paid firefighters are the most unmotivated to actually be firefighters, how could you be after 99% of your runs are EMS. You guys are easily replaced, there are plenty of EMTS & Medics on Long Island starving for work and will ultimately cost the city less money. As for the fires, I would trust a volunteer who is always bettering themselves in training and not worrying about a paycheck. It was acknowledged that when the grant funding came down to hire those individuals that when the grant ran out- the city didn’t have it in their budget to keep them. Those layoffs were already anticipated by the City and firefighters union. Now the union thugs are playing dumb to try to make the City look bad. Stop the song and dance. Stop the lying to the city. The truth is finally coming out and it sucks to be you.

  36. You must be talking about another volunteer dept. That I can’t speak to but you are not talking about Long Beach volunteers. they are not even firefighter 1 and 2 trained. That is only two weeks of a 4 month academy. The training does not stop there. get your facts strait. The volunteer Chief of the Dept could not even pass the needed test to be on the job. Yet he still serves as Chief of the Dept. Backwards … no?

  37. Where in my post do I say 50 years LB?? Can I be 50 years Oceanside ? You really are a not very bright. Thanks for making up such a strong point.

  38. When there is the need the guys are always in gear. You are only talking about when there is not a need. The volleys run the show. They are running dept to the ground. There is no need for an XO the way the dept is set up. No one runs the paid guys? A professional Fire Officer has to report to a crossing guard and ask permission to end the call cause there is no fire. They are without a doubt running things. It is the building dept and glorified meter maids that are “playing Chief”

  39. Awwww. They won’t let you have a new toy…… Brian, you can’t use it anyway – fired, gone, disgracefully dismissed. Do you even realize that? Or is the fantasy in your head that good? Go away already.

  40. Trump you hide behind a fake name. You are a coward. It is not about a toy. It is about saving lives. The professionals are the ones that show up and need the tools. The volunteer company that has that tool is never there in time. NEVER !!!!! And I don’t have to be a LB fire fighter to advocate for proper safety in this town. I am not going anywhere. This is far from over!!!

  41. MacNamara is more than a tool. If you think he has messed up his job, his life and his union that’s nothing compared to what he’s done to his family. He’s a ticking time bomb that actually explodes every few years. His inability to accept the fact that he could ever be wrong is only topped by his inability to “mea culpa” himself. Move along Macnamara you’re done. Not only are you losing friends like a sieve of sand you are hurting the well being of others. It takes awhile but sooner or later they all get it-you’re just an boastful a-hole. You need to see a psychiatrist and figure out what your real problems in life are. Move along

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