Wednesday, June 15, 2016

WDT: No Plan Yet on How to Implement New Staffing Model

       Government is a little different than the private sector, or so it seems. The Fire Chief technically works for the City Manager, but when you read the news coverage it seems he openly questions her policies.
       Fire Chiefs are civil service and not at-will employees, so I guess there is little you can do about it.
        The heads of police and fire are management technically but their selection process and the culture means they are usually advocates for the way things are, and at odds with a Council seeking to reduce manning.
       Chief Herman is fiercely dedicated to his craft, but you definitely get the impression he is not on board with the plan to ditch eight captains.
        July 1st marks two years without a contract, so the heat is on to either go to arbitration which just kicks the dispute down the road or a compromise settlement where both sides can save face. The demotion of the captains was a bid to force the latter as it gave the city some leverage it wouldn't have in standard arbitration.
         The public is tired of their own wages stagnant while taxes go up and I think the Council feels emboldened, but the politics of the fire service is still difficult, so how this ends up is anyone's guess.
           One question begged by this article is why wasn't there consensus on a staffing model when Council approved the change ?   
Watertown Daily Times | Fire chief, city manager still working on fire captains plan

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

It doesn't help to come up with a staffing model until the union min staffing demand is officially removed by the court. Once that happens then the city is free to do what is sensible.

The city manager can give direct orders to the Chief and if he doesn't follow them he can be punished up to and including termination. The Chief is currently using his position to undermined the city tax payers and city management, so it warrants a disciplinary hearing already.

Anonymous said...

God Forbid you let a truck go out without a captain. How will the other firefighter in the truck know what to do. Take away the captain stripe they become blithering buffoons who can not accomplish anything

Anonymous said...

I say, make them all admirals, double their pay, give them a ten year retirement, and provide free healthcare to them and their family members for life. I don't want some old lady or a child dying in a fire.

Anonymous said...

12:41, can you add 72 hour days too? It will save the city much money. Plus it would save the union guys from having to call in sick none times instead of just once.

Anonymous said...

And Yet the Assembly is proposing the very same minimum staffing in Hospitals and Nursing Homes,.............WOW.

Anonymous said...

Your all nuts.. this is a public safety thing for all of you who live in the City. Where else does the Fire Chief not select the best model for the safety of his/her men/women. I have never heard of such a thing. What is her credentials in Fire Service? Is she going to serve as the leader on the street when the model has to be implemented? Where will she be at 0200 or 0400 when the weather is stormy or the cellars are being pumped out?? I'm sure at her home outside the city.
And yes, you are RIGHT Jeff: How do you make such a drastic decision as council when you dont know how it will change things or how your decision will affect what you are changing..?? Where is the common sense?

Anonymous said...


THE FACTS: The city hired ICMA to do a study(60K) to advise them what staffing is needed. They came back and said 15. The city choose to ignore the study and embarked on a road that will ultimately end with them loosing, and have stuck us taxpayers with the bill.

This is a total disaster and someone should be held accountable!!!!!! Chief Herman was hired beaches he was the "expert" on fire protection. Now they choose to totally ignore him. Is he really problem, or is it them?

Anonymous said...

No 5:14. The administration should control the departments. Your interpretation of common sense is anarchy. Very expensive anarchy.

Anonymous said...

You need to read the study 9:19, which clearly you have not. It said, clearly, that the administration and Council have the authority to control the fire department, and that the manning provision should be removed. How is this current situation a disaster, other than for the taxpayers?

Anonymous said...


1011 where are you getting your information? I have read the study have you? What page states your point? You give the page and the quote please. Did you read the part that said not to change operational staffing? When you provide me the page and the quote then you can get on your high horse.

Danny M. Francis (Eyepublius) said...

Maybe Ms. Addison will try and fire the good Chief for insubordination over his views of managing the WFD, you think - seems to be her style, which BTW: sucks.