Friday, April 8, 2016

WDT: Keep Fire Staffing As Is

   Circulation and changing times aside, the third floor can see the second floor at 260 by looking out the window and gleaning guidance and vision on issues such as the Fire Department has been de rigueur for managers and mayors looking for validation of their actions. Today the rug got pulled on the quiet urgings and encouragement to take on the fire union.
    The WDT strongly editorialized in favor of current staffing levels and that makes it more difficult to pursue the policy encouraged last year during he campaign as Council led by Steve Jennings and to a lesser extent now Mayor Butler embarked on a policy of confrontation embodied in the hiring of a union buster lawyer who argued in favor of picking a fight and getting the courts to overturn parts of the CBA.
     While an editorial is not law, it makes it politically more difficult and ends a period of silence on city issues on the opinion page.
http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/opinion/safety-first-watertown-fire-department-must-keep-15-person-staffing-level-20160408

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't expect anything less from Perryykos, than to publicly support union thugs. I have to wonder why a talent like our city manager would put up with such idiocy. She could easily be earning 10x's the pay, working as the director of a large establishment such as a hospital or running her own business, such as a custom picture frame manufacturer.

Staffing levels should be set by city management and the city leaders, not by unions. What is ideal and what is practical, are two different numbers. And there is nothing wrong with straying from the ideal number now and again. But there is seriously something wrong with not having the flexibility to do so, due to an idiotic union contract that inept bumbling incompetent predecessors agreed to.

Anonymous said...

I think the coffin just got nailed shut. Thanks for the memories.

Anonymous said...

Do you suppose the WDT's is purposely lying or just ignorant? The study clearly said that staffing could be reduced if they quit responding to calls they shouldn't be responding to. And it could be reduced even further the department would cooperate with volunteers.

The Study did not give creditability to the self serving NFPA. The same organization that wants to make it mandatory for sprinklers in all homes and businesses. The organization which pretends to be about safety but that copyrights its standards and sues those who would make these standards public even after they are adapted as laws.

Make no mistake, the queens who write these NFPA standards use no standard of cost/benefit or risk management. The main thing they look at is how many fire jobs it will create. This is why many governments do not adapt their latest drama guidelines and often omit many of the guidelines.

Anonymous said...

The influence of the Johnson's has largely disappeared in recent years. The sooner they disappear entirely the better it will be for the community. Just go down to the castle in Henderson and shut the hell up.

Anonymous said...

Your city manager must simply carry out the wishes of the council and shes doing it. If court is the answer then so be it. The union can simply no longer be running their own schedule and dictating anything to the city, here or anywhere else.
It dosnt take a rocket scientist to be a fireman. They have to be trained, schooled and kept up to date on new techniques and have available the best possible equipment. They have this furnished by the taxpayers and through the city and its manager. The manager simply has to have control of the scheduling and the manpower needs and thats where they are heading.

Anonymous said...

The City never should have hired that high-priced union busting lawyer from Long Island. With the National Fire Protection and the consultant's report both stating that 15 firefighters are needed as the minimum number, the number should stand. Leave it alone instead of grand standing. It seems the City wants to sound like it's adamant about reducing costs, but is it all for show?
In the end the City probably will back away from changing the 15 minimum workers. What was the total cost to taxpayers for this negotiations period so far? The Times newspaper is right on this one--maintain safety.

Anonymous said...

Finally the WDT is right on a issue. They get it city, taxpayers get it, why doesn't the council? Keep wasting our money on studies and lawyers and ignore what they tell you, sounds like incompetence to me. But so doesn't how they handled the arena issue.

Anonymous said...


Another gun attack on an airforce base in Texas
Its time to quit talking and start correcting the problem.. Register all weapons and have a limit to how many one can own.. Better mental health checks. Something..
The Republican party is going to lose this election based on one thing only.. Guns..

Anonymous said...

No dialogue about Pamelia's water issues. This is the same water that Ft Drum will receive. Ft Drum is further away than Pamelia and TTHM's increase with time. The earlier post seems to be factual about the COW supplying water to the Fort. Will the WDT's investigate? It only involves peoples lives.

Anonymous said...

The WDT leaves out the part of the report that states if the dept. continues to respond as they have in the past to every fender bender, kid fell of a bicycle and cat in the tree that current staffing levels should remain. Simply stated we can't afford these unnecessary calls any longer and there are far more intelligent and cost effective ways of dealing with the calls that are important. Having a wrong sized standing army of paid staffing is not the answer.

The Times struggles for relevance as well as subscribers and this is a good example of why. They are completely out of touch with reality and the burdens placed in the way of taxes and the associated costs of living here in the city, much the same as the unionized fire company is more concerned with protecting pensions and securing jobs rather than their primary reason for being.
The fear mongering by both leaves a person thinking less of them with each passing minute.

Kudos to the city leaders who are trying to contain this monster.
Kudos as well to the volunteer departments who step up to the plate and do this job for reasons that are a bit more noble.

Anonymous said...


Why the city leadership is so focused on manning alone is beyond me. If their goal is to reduce costs in the fire department then I am sure there are many ways to do it without placing anyone in danger or diluting the excellent service that we have all come to expect.

What we have here is a hyper focus on staffing alone instead of real analysis and common sense decision making. Council is to blame along with the City Manager. She has tainted the relationship making compromise almost impossible now. As a result of her poor negotiating skills and nasty demeanor we, the taxpayer, will now have to pay to clean her mess up. She should be sent packing ASAP and a new CM should be hired to begin a process of real negotiations. She is damaged beyond repair and no good can come of it. Next, we need to continue the process of planting a fresh council with some common sense and respect for the city taxpayer and its employees. We deserve better!!!

Anonymous said...

11:17 The Republican can win on this issue, arm all personnel at every recruitment office and ALL bases.

Anonymous said...

11:53 I hope the COW or DANC are on top of this and we hear a resolution. If this ends up being true and our government is hiding this no wonder Bernie and Donald are leading.

Anonymous said...

do the volunteer fire departments need 15 firefighters minimum or does safety change at the city line. doesn't half the fire department live outside the city and I wonder how may are part of volunteer dept? You don't hear same concerns from same fire fighters in there towns. do you really need 15 guys to sleep all night or could you get by with say 13 or 14 and call people in if there is a fire?

Anonymous said...

11:17, logic would dictate that you gather facts before wetting your panties. But you go ahead and get excited. Too bad stooges like you never seem to get upset about Chicago, the home of really neat gun control, and more murders than anywhere else. Don't black lives matter to you, mr racist?

Anonymous said...

930. Your either a fire fighter or a family member of one. Time has come to quit pretending this is all in the cause of safety.. The times backed teachers for year you know all for the kids clause.. Now it dosnt work quite a easily now that people are allowed to think and we have people to run other phases of the government like City Managers.. Is the thought here that the city manager dosnt care about safety? Thats a outright lie. We could mandate thirty per shift and they would still want to run things their way.. Time has come for the reckoning.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the whole fire department and make it volunteer only! The people demanding staff cuts better be first in line for sign ups!

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1.38. All of us need to hear bough sides. We don't live in a one horse town. Also we don't see a fire every day. Most runs are wasted, due to the fact it's a large city, and every concern has to be addressed for public safety. First time they didn't go, well you know. I find it funny no one thinks there may be to many Firemen. What with most buildings having very new fire management systems in them, trucks that don't require three guys to drive them, and progress in fire equipment. Do we need them all?

Anonymous said...


Do your homework 314. People all over the state pay more per capita to support volunteer departments than the citizens of the COW. They also pay much higher insurance premiums and are assuming higher risks if they do have a fire. Like it or not, paid fire protection is an absolute necessity in urban communities.

I have been in 3 different volunteer departments and believe me, most will tell you that they have a hard time recruiting and an even harder time turning out people to go on calls. The natural movement is from volunteer to paid not the other way around.

The city runs almost 3500 calls a year and if you think that volunteers can handle this type of volume think again. We are getting good utility from the fire department but should also be trying to contain costs if there are savings to be realized. We, citizens, are opposed to unsupported, blind cuts that lack real justification and ask us to take on additional risks and higher insurance premiums.

I say listen to the experts and also try to control costs where you can. The city seems to have just shut down the conversation. They are just being stubborn and we are the ones paying for it.

Anonymous said...

You give the Times to much Credit.

Most People don't read their Paper and those that do read it, just don't read the Times Opinion.

I have a mind of my own - thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Johnsons threw Addison under the bus on this one. Now she has to explain all the money spent on O'Neill, after they encouraged her to do this.

Anonymous said...

Pretty simple close two of three department houses and staff the rest on call or volunteer. You keep your 15, that btw is the fire department association recommended number not osha or any state or federal law staffing levels. You really think Obama or Cuomo would not mandated it if they could even they cannot pass that b.s.

Anonymous said...

The change to paid from volunteer is the upward trend in many areas. If you don't think so, just look at Town of Watertown, they have added paid drivers or mechanics who are there during the day to drive because they cant get the proper turnout to make sure the trucks get on their way quick, look at the ambulance services in Town of Watertown. They too have organized their own paid organization to be on duty to respond to calls. Look at the town of Thousand Islands, they too have opened up a paid ambulance service to be prepared. Look at Massena, they too have paid drivers, and Carthage, and the list can go on.. Having people in the stations to respond "quicker" is the trend to saving lives.. The more time you delay, the more homes and tax base you burn off your tax roll not to mention put lives at risk. Look at any You-tube video on how fast fire burns and research how fast people die from a cardiac arrest, or choking and maybe you will think twice. Its not about who is doing what, its about having the jobs, and protection. I agree with a post which says the tax rate is much cheaper in the city of Watertown than the town or other areas.. How can you crab when you are getting quick 3 minute responses to your emergency if you have one, than a much longer delay in other areas and paying more for it. It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out if you can get a gallon of milk from the store for 2.00, why would you want to pay 4.00 and have to walk to the farm and milk it yourself??? Thank you Mr. Johnson for proving the city wrong on their actions and wasting our city taxpayers money. Maybe if they stopped the studies and high priced lawyers they wouldn't be in the hardships they put themselves into.

Anonymous said...

The City of Watertown has an over-priced city manager! She managed computer operations prior to being named city manager. Where is her work experience in financial management? If the city needs to cut back, start with her dept. WHY did she need to hire an assistant first thing when she took the job? ... oh because she couldn't DO the job alone.

She obviously has a vendetta against the city fire dept and has caused disruption in the water dept. The city should keep fire staffing exactly as it is.

5:30 poster is correct. Volunteer is not the way to go for a municipality the size of the city. You can not put a price on human safety. It's terrible when we have to listen to our volunteer dept being called out for the 3rd time in order to get manpower to respond.

How the city council can give this woman a passing grade on reviews is beyond my comprehension.

Anonymous said...

Addison does not know how to disagree, she is a puppet?

Anonymous said...

It is hilarious and sad to see all the union fire employees commenting here and referring to themselves as tax payers, when it is so obvious who they are and the math tells us they are tax takers.

12:05's comment was so spot-on, it warrants repeating:

The Times struggles for relevance as well as subscribers and this is a good example of why. They are completely out of touch with reality and the burdens placed in the way of taxes and the associated costs of living here in the city, much the same as the unionized fire company is more concerned with protecting pensions and securing jobs rather than their primary reason for being.
The fear mongering by both leaves a person thinking less of them with each passing minute.

The WDT leaves out the part of the report that states if the dept. continues to respond as they have in the past to every fender bender, kid fell of a bicycle and cat in the tree that current staffing levels should remain. Simply stated we can't afford these unnecessary calls any longer and there are far more intelligent and cost effective ways of dealing with the calls that are important. Having a wrong sized standing army of paid staffing is not the answer.

Kudos to the city leaders who are trying to contain this monster.
Kudos as well to the volunteer departments who step up to the plate and do this job for reasons that are a bit more noble.

Anonymous said...

Just have the police respond to cat in the trees, fender benders, kids falling off bikes, etc. The CM should be able to direct them to take on these tasks. Now you have less WFD responses. What do you think 9:20?

Anonymous said...

9:52, I think they could still respond to all of those calls even if they had only ten firefighters on at one time.

Its also worth noting that there is no service business in the known universe that has the same staffing level on every hour of the day and every day of the year. In business, MANGMENT uses data to determine when staffing is needed and creates schedules to cover demand.

Another thing not being discussed is that any shift longer than 8 hours is proven to be less safe and involves more accidents and mistakes. And the same is true about rotating shifts. If the fire union wanted some credibility to back up their claim that their concerns have anything to do with safety, they should be talking about moving to 8 hour shifts and make sure they rotate very infrequently.

Anonymous said...

Dumbest line in the article:
"But unless they have developed a new minimum standard that has proven to be just as effective as the one now in existence, city officials should stop calling for the 15-firefighter minimum staffing level to be eliminated."

Anonymous said...

We should be boosting emergency services not cutting them. The population and building in this area has increased, why shouldn't the first responders numbers? The police Department is so stressed that they don't even have time to enforce traffic safety. Arsenal Street is like a drag strip most of the time. And forget about public square, people running red lights, not letting people walk at crosswalks and just tear-assing around like it's a race track! I almost got hit by a car blowing through a no turn on red!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the WDT has finally had their fare share of NO SHOW Addison. I do believe the worm has turned in this relationship. It's going to be hard for her to save her job by continuing to play the "not available for comment card."

Danny M. Francis (Eyepublius) said...

Former NSA employee - case closed.

Anonymous said...


A few things need to be clarified. First, volunteer does not mean free. They still need to be recruited, trained, equipped, drilled, and educated on a regular basis. You would still have to maintain and purchase equipment and some staffing would be needed no matter what. Also, since they do not get paid for their service they are forced to maintain full-time jobs. This makes them unavailable much of the time. Anyone who abdicates moving to a volunteer agency just doesn't understand the fire service. This would never work, period. Also, if you look at the COW's current ISO they are a 2. Compare this to volunteer agencies that are 5, 6, 7, and 8. This translates to very real increased costs for insurance. If you are a homeowner or a business like Home Depot this could translate into thousands of dollars in increased premiums. For small businesses that are already struggling these increased insurance costs could make the difference and cost us local jobs and erode the tax base. The City told us they they needed to hire consultants and that they would do what the consultants recommended. After spending almost 60,000 taxpayer dollars they decided that they didn't like the fact that the study told them to maintain 15 so they choose to ignore the study. Now they are heading to an expensive arbitration process without any bullets in their guns. The arbitrator will undoubtedly give more weight to a professional study than their uninformed opinions. This is just a huge waste of time and money to obtain something that most city residence do not even want. When are they going to listen to us?

Secondly, you can not compare staffing levels in an emergency service to those in a business climate. The main difference is the predictability of the work flow. Businesses operate on a predictable lag in production that allows them to expand and contract the labor component. Since emergency services is by nature unpredictable you need to staff for the possibility of a service need occurring at any time.



Anonymous said...

8;14, We get it. You want your OT and you want to pad your pension and you don't want anyone talking common sense because it threatens both of those things.

It certainly is completely valid and logical to compare emergency services to any other service business. The existing department is exactly the result of such predictions and before that when there were more stations, they too were the result of predictions. The only difference is that they never predicted by the day and hour before. but they certainly could. It is well known that Dec/Jan/Feb are the deadliest months for fires. An intelligently run department would take that fact into account and many other statistics, when determining staffing schedules. I am sorry you cannot comprehend that.

Anonymous said...

If the council supported this and you do not like it, then ask them their position before voting next time.

Anonymous said...

The NFPA is a self severing association that promotes more jobs first and foremost. They do not have anything but recommended levels not mandated. Many cites run with 10-12 most are abandoning 15.

Here IS an exercise NYC has how many fireman per citizen VS. H20town - far less. The price per capita is also much less in NYC.

Star looking at comparable cities and we are out of whack.

Anonymous said...

757 I appreciate your point of view but unfortunately your are misinformed. NFPA is a very respected agency and 1710 is just one standard. You need to consider NFPA 1 (National Fire Prevention Code) that the city has chosen to completely ignore and NFPA 101 (the National Life Safety Code) and see how these 2 important life safety codes fit into their recommended staffing and deployment models. NFPA includes some of the best minds in the world concerning fire safety issues and they are worthy of their place at the table.

NYC has the largest fire force in the world and turns out 80-100 firefighters to all working fires; The COW 15. Before you talk you need to get informed first. NYC has over 10,000 uniformed firefighters and can, and does, use manpower numbers as their primary defense against fire. AS far as comparable cities you need to look not only at numbers but other statistics such as dollar loss per fire, injury rates, mortality etc....

Anonymous said...

7:57 please offer your services to council on staffing, do not forget to add your qualifications.

Anonymous said...

7:57, you are 100% right. NFPA is in favor of making sprinklers mandatory in all homes and businesses. That is just one example of countless examples, where they take positions in favor of the fire industrial complex, rather than in favor of safety. NFPA, Knox Box, the fire union, homeland security, CO detectors, 10 year batter, smoke alarms, AFCI manufacturers, they are all in bed together. The entire industry is dishonest.

Anonymous said...


In 1976 the US Government published probably the most comprehensive study on the US fire problem "America Burning". This study contained many recommendations and predicted a steady rise in fire deaths if the the industry failed to embrace national standards and make fire prevention a priority in all communities.

Because of this study, a focus on prevention and efforts of the IAFF, IAFC and NFPA the US has seen a dramatic decline in fire deaths and injuries since 1976. How people can criticize an organization that operates non-profit and with the sole purpose of promoting fire safety and innovation is beyond me. Tens of thousands of lives have been saved because of these efforts. Are you trying to tell me that you do not support smoke detectors or sprinkler systems? Bet you have them in your house tho huh? GET INFORMED YOU MORONS!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I worked on the Emergency Response Plan for the COW. This was accepted at the time. Staffing was in compliance at this juncture. No more no less, wished I still lived in the COW to separate fact from fiction but you paid someone big bucks. Glad I moved!

Anonymous said...

NYC has less people on duty per person than COW. The have 8 million protected by 10,000 do the math. Your blowing smoke no one said to smoke detectors. Staff with 10-12 and bring in on call or mutual Wildcats needed. Quit rolling more manpower than needed to every fender bender.

Last why has no one not brought up how white and male the department is? Needs a bit of diversity do you not think? What does NFPA mandate on that.

Anonymous said...


304. The department and city embrace diversity. There is an openly competitive process that all genders and races are free to participate in. Over the years many women have attempted to pass both he written and physical agility portions of the testing but so far none have been successful. I am sure that there will eventually be both women and non-whites in the department. I can assure you; there is no discrimination. It is just wrong of you to point fingers and make accusations of this nature. Shame on you.