Fergie Seems Determined to Degrade Fire Service
WE LAST HEARD FROM CHICAGO's Inspector General back in August when we wrote HERE about his attempts to instruct the Fire Commissioner on how to discipline his firefighters and how to organize his department. We led off that posting, as we will again today, by saying:
THE CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, INSPECTOR GENERAL Joseph Ferguson has it in his mind that he should be running the fire department, even though his office has no responsibility for it at all. In fact, he doesn't run any department. According to the Office of Inspector General's own website, his mission is:
…. to root out corruption, waste, and mismanagement, while promoting effectiveness and efficiency in City government. The IGO is a watchdog for the taxpayers of the City, and has jurisdiction to conduct investigations and audits into most aspects of City government.
He's an auditor. That's it. He doesn't manage anything (except his own office) and he doesn't plan anything. He audits.
Well, I.G. Joe is back and telling the City Council that they should reduce staffing levels on fire engines and ladder trucks from five to four. He told the council that the cash-strapped city could save $57 million annually if they follow his advice.
Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff fired back yesterday (Tuesday) telling the council and everybody else, in no uncertain terms, what would happen if this were done. The Chicago Tribune reports:
Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff said Tuesday that fire-related fatalities would rise if the city reduces the number of firefighters per truck.
Hoff said he is "adamant" in his opposition to lowering the minimum staffing on all trucks to four — a five-person minimum is now in place on most trucks and engines — to save money in coming years.
"Number one, it affects our performance," Hoff said, explaining his opposition to the change at a hearing on Emanuel's proposed budget. "And number two, it (affects) the lives of firefighters and paramedics and the people that we serve. Our fire deaths will go up."
Hoff also said he opposes a host of other potential changes that could be the subject of union negotiations.
"Any decrease in manning, any decrease in fire companies, ambulances or closing of firehouses, I'm literally deathly against," said Hoff, a decorated Fire Department veteran who was appointed by then-Mayor Richard Daley in June 2010.
The current contract between the city and the firefighters' union specifies minimum-manning requirements for all units, but it expires in eight months and negotiations will be starting soon on the new contract.
IAFF Local 2 WEBSITE.
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