I’m going through this audio file from Saturday’s audit and finance commission meeting. It makes me angry, it disappoints me, and frankly, it’s surreal. Folks, these Trustees can say I am just trying to frighten you … sure, it’s a possibility that I am that devious. OR, I’m actually telling the truth, and we are as bad as every single firefighter has said. That is why the facts are so important – that is why transparency is so important. This site is filled with village documents for a reason – data matters. It’s why the Village routinely denies access to documents, it’s why what the Trustees say have NO supporting documentation – and when asked for it with FOIA – denied. Lies can’t be proven true, that’s why they are lies.
Hopefully everyone is familiar with Trustee Rehberg’s speech on the reduction of the response times by 45 seconds, if not, check it out here: Trustee Rehberg slightly misinformed. So that all our residents can hear from DPS Popp about what this new system does and how it works, here is the audio for that section of the meeting:
So, before anyone accuses me of more “misinformation” … basically, exactly as I explained it in the article on Trustee Rehberg’s comments.
But it doesn’t end there. Here is the audio clip of the discussion about staffing and manning. Pay close attention to what is said, and who is talking. And pay close attention to what a Carpentersville Firefighter has to say about this, and how quickly he is cut off by Manager Rooney… after all, wouldn’t want any pesky facts to cloud the issues… Listen to how Manager Rooney, Trustee Shultz and Trustee Humpfer just berate the firefighters and Humberto Garcia. After listening – do you wonder why we don’t want to show up and offer our opinion?
I apologize, but this is gonna be long – it’s a long clip. OK, I’m not sure that my Village Board has been listening, but allow me to say this again: ITS NOT ABOUT HOW MANY FIREFIGHTERS ARE ON THE PAYROLL!!! ITS ABOUT HOW MANY FIREFIGHTERS ARE IN THE STATIONS EVERY DAY PROTECTING THE RESIDENTS. So, as I’ve said already, we are undermanned and improperly protected. That is a reality. Yes, the Manager is right, because of attrition, in 2010, we had 33 full time firefighters (of course he doesn’t mention that we had 40 part time firefighters, while today we have only 25) and today we have (after Tuesday’s swearing in) 33 full time firefighters. But NO, the staffing was reduced – September 15th, 2013, we had 12 firefighters (both full and part time) manning our stations 24 hours per day. September 17th, 2013, we had 11 firefighters (both full and part time) manning our stations 24 hours per day. As of today, our minimum manning is 10, but most days is 11. Out of the first 73 days in 2015, 19 of them (25%) we had 10 firefighters in the station. I’m sorry Chiefs – you are technically right that our total payroll is the same – you are wrong that are manning is the same. Perhaps if Mr. Rooney was more open to anyone else’s opinion but his own, he’d allow his Chiefs to tell the whole story instead of only half-truths. So, I’ll say it again, I believe we need 5 firefighters in each station to properly protect the town, so 15 on duty each day. This is exactly in line with what the Village said we needed in it’s SAFER Grant, it’s what we’ve asked for in every grant we’ve ever applied for, and it’s what our Fire Chief had been asking for for nearly a decade. EVERY single firefighter in Carpentersville, both full and part time would agree with that statement.
Let’s also hit on what Firefighter Parker was trying to say before being rudely cut off. First, our department doesn’t “number stack.” That occurs when some departments (like Elgin) assign a run number to each vehicle that is dispatched to an event. So for a single event, there could be multiple tickets. It appears then that there are more calls than actual events. We do not do that in our town. Each event gets one call, and all vehicles, including mutual aid vehicles, are placed on that one call. So the Manager clearly has no concept of what he is saying. 82 structure fire calls is 82 structure fire calls. If we count the standard response those 82 calls required 7 vehicles for the initial alarm response. So, under the Manager’s theory of numbers, we had 574 “calls” that should have been reported.
Next, last year we had 82 structure fires. Yes, 7 had a fire loss over $10,000.00. It’s unfortunate that our Manager doesn’t understand one simple truth: If the other 75 hadn’t been handled properly, there would have been 82 structures with high fire loss. That is a win for the Fire Department. If we are setting our manning based on how many houses we lose, we will lose more year after year. We have to set our manning to ensure that we have 0 structures with a fire loss over $10,000.00. This concept isn’t too hard – the less structures with significant fire damage – the better insurance rates will be due to decreased risk. The more, the higher the insurance. The fact is he proved what they did was wrong: Under Chief Schuldt, we had 3-4 significant fire events with loss, under Director of Public Safety Popp – 7. Time is loss, Manning is loss, Time and Manning is money – your insurance rate money. All the numbers proved is that we are worse than we were before.
I’d also like to comment that Manager Rooney, who certainly does a lot of talking has NEVER had any training in, NOR has he had any education in, NOR has he had any experience in running a fire department, fighting fire or performing EMS. Neither has our Director of Public Safety, and their lack of understanding is glaring. What is so aggravating about this is the lack of knowledge that our Chief’s seem to have … at around the 20 minute mark they are discussing a Fire in West Dundee. YES, West Dundee’s ambulance showed up first. Yes, our Deputy Chief was next. NO Carpentersville did NOT respond with an Engine, we responded with a TRUCK – Ladders, NO water. YES, we did go in and put the fire out, in conjunction with an Engine from another town. If you are going to talk about an incident, get the facts straight first! (I was the officer on Tower-91 that day, and I was there.) They also discuss how WE forced East Dundee to add another person to cover their own calls! But now we rely on East Dundee to cover ours – hmm, maybe East Dundee should force us to add another person like we did to them. Oh, and East Dundee has since reduced their daily staffing, as has West Dundee AND Algonquin.
Here’s the problem: We say, good mutual aid – gonna drop our manning. East Dundee says – we lost allstate, don’t have the money, we’re gonna drop manning, but mutual aid is good, West Dundee says – good bye best buy, good bye mall stores, don’t have the money, but mutual aid is good, Algonquin – same thing. Think of it this way: 5 people put 2 dollars on the table for a kitty – there’s 10 dollars, looks like a lot right? Well, one guy says – there’s 10 there, I need my money, so i’m going to take my 2 back, but there’s still 8 there, no problem and walks away and doesn’t look back. The other 4 guys do the same thing – and all think there’s 8 dollars there. How much is really there? That’s what every municipality is doing right now. They are relying on something that isn’t really there. Listen to the radio frequencies on any given day (RadioMan911). The most commonly used phrase on a daily basis … “[insert fd name here] is unable to respond to your incident.” Sounds “Robust” to me!
One last thing before moving on .. anyone notice the Manager’s verbal attack on Humberto Garcia – that was clearly continued by Trustee Pat Shultz and Trustee Humpfer? Shameful. By the way, Mr. Garcia has NOT been misinformed.
Continuing on, here is a clip on Consolidation. I’ve heard an awful lot about it, and frankly, it’s pretty clear that our Manager really doesn’t understand: Here’s the clip:
The bill in question was intended to give a path to communities that didn’t want to pursue the creation of a fire protection district. It wasn’t supposed to be easy. It allows for “easy” consolidation of administrative responsibilities … chiefs, training officers, IT, etc. But because pay, benefits and pensions differ amongst the village’s employees, they needed to create a road map. Naturally, lower paid firefighters want to make the higher pay, higher pay firefighters don’t want to accept the lower pay, and the logistical nightmare of trying to mesh pay, benefits and pensions in existing contracts just isn’t feasible. So the law itself allows for a multi-part concept – the public must agree first, then the employees must agree. Without these checks and balances, it would grind to a halt and cause massive taxpayer dollar loss in court.
Villages have 3 options: follow the road map set by the legislature; through referendum consolidate and create one large municipality; through referendum create one large fire protection district. The reason why Manager Rooney says consolidation as envisioned is impossible – raise your hand if you are going to vote to create a fire protection district and raise your taxes by 400-800 dollars per year. I didn’t raise mine either. Instead of spending money trying to find ways to consolidate, how about we find ways to cut our spending in a bloated administration and fund our public safety properly.
I know this was a long one. It’s important stuff though – it’s your safety. It’s your Trustees in all their glory trying to convince you to listen to them because they say so. It’s time for us to wake up and demand answers. Help me do that on Election Day. Vote : Scholl, Garcia & Miller.