Tag Archives: lbfd

Professional Firefighters Emblem was inspired by the movie poster for “The Endless Summer”

I can’t help but notice how freaking awesome the Long Beach Professional Firefighters emblem is. I had to find out the backstory, so I did some asking around and found this out:

“FF George Gentilesco came up with it. Inspired by old “Endless Summer” posters, so he took his idea to Eagle Emblems.

So there you go. The Endless Summer, a 1966 surf movie. I think I’m gonna have to watch it now.


LB Resident Calls for City Manager’s Removal

Drama came during this Tuesday evening’s Election 2011 debate, not from the candidates’ responses, but when Long Beach resident Jay Gusler hand-delivered this letter to City Council President Thomas Sofield Junior, and Council Members Goodman and Torres.

In his letter (given to this blog, Newsday, the Long Beach Herald, and Long Beach Patch), Mr. Gusler makes a demand of the City Council for the suspension and subsequent removal of City Manger Charles Theofan, by arguing Mr. Theofan has violated his oath of office.

What’s at issue here is something SBC began discussing on Monday; Mr. Theofan’s violation of a provision of the Taylor Law.  Mr. Gusler explains that violation in his letter, and also documents that Mr. Theofan has been found guilty of violating a provision of the  NYS Civil Service Law in addition.  That decision was posted here.

Mr. Gusler goes on to say that,“Mr. Theofan’s guilt in connection with these violations is not in dispute. Though it was their right to do so, the City has not appealed either ruling, thus conferring upon these decisions “final” status.”

Then, Mr. Gusler reminds the City Council of the oath of office and quotes a specific section related to general powers and duties of city officers. (Note: The City Code is available here)

It shall be his duty to see that the laws of his state and the local laws, ordinances and by-laws passed by the council are faithfully executed within the city. 

Throughout this letter, Mr. Gusler makes the comparison between Mr. Theofan’s situation and that of former Civil Service Commissioner Leary Wade.  Wade’s case is a complicated one, and I’ll leave it to the Long Beach Herald to get you up to speed here and here.  From my reading of Mr. Wade’s situation, he was removed from office because of an oath of office violation related to pleading guilty to illegally renting two basement apartments.  The amended allegations are available here.

Mr. Gusler’s argues, “the violations that Mr. Theofan has been found guilty of are of a far more substantial character than those relied upon to justify the Civil Service Commissioner’s removal.”

His argument continues that because of Mr. Theofan’s “guilt,” the City Council is “compelled to agree that these violations of the law require Mr. Theofan’s removal from office.”

Finally, he concludes by again quoting the City Code, and asking “that the Council place on the agenda for the November 1, 2011, City Council meeting a resolution immediately suspending Mr. Theofan from the performance of the duties of the position of City Manager pending the required steps to effectuate his permanent removal from office.”

The City Manager is an appointed position that serves at the pleasure of the City Council, with a majority vote being required (3 out 5) for his appointment or removal.  It will be interesting to see what steps the City Council’s members take – if any –  on this matter.  Residents are of course free to make any sort of demand they want as is was well documented during the last City Council Meeting’s Good and Welfare Session.  The question is really what the members of the City Council make of Mr. Gusler’s telling of the tale.  If there are any developments related to this in the coming days we will be sure to update.

Mr. Gusler’s full 3-page letter is available here.

Jay Gusler is a Lieutenant in Long Beach’s Professional Fire Department and a member of the Long Beach Professional Fire Fighters Local 287.  He is writing in his capacity as a private citizen and is in no way speaking for the Long Beach Fire Department or the union of which he is a part of.

LB Pro Fire Fighters: “Theofan Violates Taylor Law”

Taken verbatim from the Long Beach Professional Fire Fighters website and their Facebook page in a post titled “City Manager Charles Theofan violates Taylor Law. Found guilty of anti-union animus.”  I’ve not seen information about this posted anywhere else.

City of Long Beach Violates New York State Public Employer’s Fair Employment Act (Taylor Law)

Over the course of this administration’s time in charge of the City, it has repeatedly battled this Union, it’s leadership, and it’s members. The Union has had multiple Court actions, multiple internal administrative hearings, and multiple “Improper Practice” charges it has been forced to fight against the City. 

An Improper Practice charge, or IP for short, is an allegation, made by the Union, to the NYS Public Employee Relations Board, or PERB for short, that the City has violated certain aspects of Civil Service Law. 

While the Union has settled it’s past IP’s with the City prior to their being decided by a PERB Judge, our most recent charge was unable to be settled, and consequently went to a full evidentiary hearing for its resolution. The result of that hearing was a determination that the City, and particularly City Manager Charles Theofan, were guilty of violating Civil Service Law in that they interfered with the internal operations of the Union, and otherwise engaged in a course of action designed to undermine its leadership in the performance of its duties to the members.


They’ve posted the September 22nd decision here.

The Taylor Law is all about what unions can and cannot do and what the government can and cannot do.  You’ll often hear it mentioned when workers threaten strikes – like the 2005 transit strike, but generally it covers the basic relationship that unions and the government have and provide a way to mediate disagreements.

Page 8 of the above decision includes the “memo” issued by Mr. Theofan to “all members of the uniformed force” – which is at the heart of the matter.  Page 10 of the decision above spells out exactly what the City now had to do because of the violation.  Page 20 includes the actual notice that was required to be posted across the Fire Department.

I’d love if some of the legal experts out there could put this in context: are these sorts of violations common between the cities and their workers?  I’ve done a fairly extensive news search, but really only see the Taylor Law being mentioned in bits on Teachers’ contract negotiations, and nothing about violations.

To clarify one point: The Taylor Law is an informal name for the Public Employer’s Fair Employment Act (a state law).  This should not be confused with the Fair Labor Standards Act which is a comprehensive set of federal laws.

LBFD Needs Your Help (Hose Not Required)

A few months back I talked to LBFD Chief Rich Corbett about Long Beach’s “burning history.”  In a quick search I found most of our historic landmarks and buildings have all burned to the ground over the years.  But, over the last few decades, that doesn’t seem to be the same issue that it was earlier.  Corbett argued that one of the biggest reasons why catastrophic fire is not the problem it once was is because of better fire education.

Now, the Long Beach Fire Department wants your help.  Liberty Mutual is sponsoring a fire safety and prevention program where the fire department that gets the most residents to take this quiz, will get $10,000 to improve their department.

This is free money, and won’t be coming out of your tax dollars.  It is win/win.

Again, the link to the quiz is here.  And fill out “Long Beach Fire Department.”  It takes no time, so help out.


As of 10/4/2011, the LBFD has earned 53 credits.  Let’s help get that number up.  It takes less than 3 minutes.

Some info from Liberty Mutual:

At Liberty Mutual, we’re committed to helping families live safer, more secure lives.  And we’re proud to partner with fire departments around the country to help families learn more about fire safety and fire prevention.

Our Fire Safety Pledge program is back again this fall!  Now through October 31st, take our interactive Fire Safety Quiz to learn more about fire safety and fire prevention.  Then credit your quiz to your local fire department and your local firefighters could be one of ten departments to receive $10,000 from Liberty Mutual.

I’ve also included a link to the official program flyer here

File Under W for Weird (Man Drowns by LB Med Center)

I just got this in from our friends at the LBFD:

On Wednesday night at 10:25pm, the LBFD was alerted for a person that ran out of the LBMC ER and jumped into the water behind the hospital. FD units arrived on scene within 2 minutes and confirmed that a male in his 20’s jumped into the bay and was submerged. Firefighters entered the water with police officers and began searching the area where he was last seen. As the search began, assistance was requested from the Island Park and Pt Lookout FD’s for their light truck and for an ambulance to stand by to cover any additional aided cases. Freeport FD was also requested for their dive team to respond, assistance was also provided by the NCPD Aviation and Marine units. A short time after divers entered the water, the victim was recovered in about 20′ of water. As the victim was removed from the water, CPR was administered and he was wheeled into the ER from the dock behind the hospital. Sadly, a short time later, the victim was pronounced by the staff at LBMC.

So that makes two confirmed drowning deaths in five days, with an additional report of a body sighted in the surf.  With regards to the body sighted by surfers story, I’ve talked to the witness in that case and he was most certainly not confused about what he saw, which would add a third body to the count.  Both of the confirmed deaths are under very, very strange circumstances and I can’t help but notice we’ve had a full moon.


Tragedy Strikes Saturday at Edwards Blvd

I was on the boardwalk around 4 and witnessed an ocean rescue.  My first-hand account is followed by the LBFD’s statement.

Perhaps more than a dozen first responders were in the water searching for the missing swimmer, supported by boats, police/firefighters on the boardwalk with binoculars, a helicopter, and a plethora of other LBFD, LBPD, and ocean rescue assets.  I believe I even saw a few surfers trying to help.  The professionalism and massive response that was on exhibit by the police and fire department was incredible.  Firefighters and police that were clearly off-duty were on the boardwalk and on the beach, rushing to help in any way possible.  From my perspective, they were able to find the missing swimmer in minutes and watching the heroic first responders do everything they could to resuscitate the victim is an image that will be with me for some time.  I’ll let you read Fire Chief Rich Corbett’s statement below.

LBFD Statement follows:

Today at 4:11pm, the LBFD was notified for a swimmer in distress in the ocean at Edwards Blvd. Witnesses said that they saw a male enter the water next to the jetties at Edwards Blvd wearing long pants.

Upon conformation of the missing swimmer, other agencies were requested to respond as per a mutual aid agreement. Units from the Island Park, Freeport FD’s, Atlantic Beach Rescue, NCPD Avaition and Marine units and the US Coast Guard responded

The missing swimmer, age 39, was located approx 30 minutes later and pulled from the ocean in cardiac arrest and transported to LBMC via Island Park ambulance with LBFD paramedics on board

Even though every resource was deployed to help this person, and the staff at the LBMC ER did everything the could,he was pronounced a short time later

Is that a “Cat Dying?” (Long Beach’s New Siren)

Summer in Long Beach.  The gentle lapping of waves.  The graceful squawking of seagulls.  The car horns, the yelling, and the sirens of firefighters, police, and other emergency responders rushing up and down congested roads.It might not be everyone’s idea of a relaxing way to spend the summer, but it’s an unavoidable fact of life here.  So when a car is double parked on Broadway, I’m sure we’ve all heard a fire engine laying on the klaxon to get the otherwise oblivious driver out of the way.  But if you’re like me, you’ve heard something different latley.  From my perspective, it started around May.

It was a strange ethereal rise and fall of a noise that sounded like a mix between a car alarm whose battery was running low and some sort of Close Encounter with the Third Kind.  Immediately drawn to the sound, I looked out the window to see none of the above, but instead an ambulance zipping by.

So, I finally gave the LBFD a ring to get to the bottom of this alarming story.

When Long Beach Fire Chief Richard Corbett first heard the new alarm, he asked himself “is that a cat dying?”  He too, found the alarm quite odd, but got passed the noise quickly because of its results.

Corbett said recent studies have shown this sound to be far more effective at getting people’s attention and at cutting through other noises – perhaps a teen driver blasting the latest Ga or whatever else the  youths are listening too.  And he says he’s seen it work, “it just grabs your attention.”  And that’s the point.

The new siren starts off with the weird new noise, but can also transition into the normal alert siren we’re all used to.

Right now, the siren is only on Long Beach’s brand new primary-responding ambulance, but by the sounds of it, most ambulances and fire trucks may have alarm systems like this in the future.  At least we don’t have the new alarm system being used in other parts of the country, the rumbler.  Love it or hate it, the new sound is here to stay.

So what do you think about this siren: irritating or alerting?