With Scaled-Back Staff, Dallas Police DWI Arrests Plummet

DALLAS, TX – For years, the members of the Dallas police DWI squad were the guardians of the night, protecting the city against drunk and intoxicated drivers and helping prevent deadly accidents. The squad once numbered nine or 10 officers strong. These days, it’s a squad of one officer. “It’s pretty shocking that a police department the size of Dallas would be down to one DWI officer,” says attorney…

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Firefighter’s Death Spurs Retirements, Hiking Overtime Costs

CINCINNATI, OH – The on-duty death of firefighter Daryl Gordon has spurred more than double the expected number of firefighters to resign in recent months. Gordon died while trying to save lives amid a Madisonville fire on March 26.The retirements are hiking the Cincinnati Fire Department’s already over-budget overtime costs, said Fire Chief Richard Braun on Monday. The department budgeted $1.6 million for overtime this fiscal year, which ends…

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D.C. Police Force Falls Under 3,800 For First Time In A Decade

The number of D.C. police officers in the District has fallen below 3,800, its lowest level in a decade, breaking a threshold that top District officials once warned would be dangerously thin in a city that continues to grow. As of Dec. 17, D.C. police had 3,786 officers, according to the mayor’s office, falling from more than 3,929 a year ago. Meanwhile this year, homicides across the District have…

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Portland City Manager Considers Disciplinary Action For ‘Closed’ Sign At Fire Station

PORTLAND, ME – Portland officials may take disciplinary action against employees after a homemade sign was posted last week in front of a Munjoy Hill fire station telling residents that it had been closed. The city had periodically taken the station’s ambulance out of service during the overnight hours, when call volumes are the lowest, to reduce spending on overtime, apparently prompting some rank-and-file members to place a sign…

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First Thursday, September 2015

Topics discussed in this month’s podcast include: Review of the Department of Labor’s rule changes concerning who is exempt from overtime under the FLSA A Cleveland firefighter was ordered to pay $2,500 for personal calls on city phone San Jose mayor changes position on police officers paying training costs Daily log is not a “personnel file” for purposes of firefighter bill of rights, Poole v. Orange County Fire Authority,…

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Most New Orleans Fire Trucks Run Short

NEW ORLEANS, LA – Nearly all the fire trucks in New Orleans are rolling shorthanded, a situation the firefighters’ union says puts its members and the public at risk. Nick Felton, head of the firefighters’ local, said about three-quarters of the city’s 30 pumper trucks and six ladder companies roll with only three firefighters. Best practices, adopted by a laundry list of national first-responder organizations, call for four-person crews…

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Staffing Dispute Heats Up Between Iowa Firefighters, City Leaders

DES MOINES, IA – A staffing controversy is heating up between Des Moines firefighters and city leaders. According to the Local 4 firefighter union, 80 percent of firefighters want a change in leadership. Union leaders said the number of firefighters has slid from 310 to 280, which alarms leaders since crews are responding to 600 more calls this year compared to last year. That dissatisfaction of rank is detailed…

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Providence, Firefighters Agree To Mediate Platoon Dispute

PROVIDENCE, RI — The city and the firefighters union have agreed to seek mediation in an effort to resolve their dispute over the city’s imposition of a new platoon system in the fire department, spokesmen for both sides and the mediator said Monday. The mediator is Mark A. Pfeiffer, a retired Superior Court judge and the first Central Falls bankruptcy administrator. He declined to comment much beyond saying he…

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Providence Firefighters’ Longer Workweek Starts; No Agreement With Union

PROVIDENCE, RI – City firefighters began a longer work week Sunday morning, as Mayor Jorge Elorza’s disputed restructuring of the Providence Fire Department went into effect at 8 a.m. “There were no reports of any problems,” Elorza spokesman Evan England said about the change from a four-platoon shift structure to three platoons. Under the new system, which Elorza implemented to reduce overtime expenses, Providence firefighters will work the same…

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Pa. Supreme Court: Fire Commissioner Decides When To Fill Vacancies

The state Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Philadelphia Fire Commissioner has discretion in deciding when to promote firefighters and fill positions. The 3-1 ruling came after a lengthy battle between the city and the firefighters union, IAFF Local 22, over a promotional list that the city allowed to expire while the department had vacancies for captains and lieutenants. “This confirms what is called ‘managerial prerogative,’” Elise Bruhle, who…

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Syracuse Police Union, ‘We Need More Cops’; Syracuse Mayor, ‘It’s Complicated’

SYRACUSE, NY – The president of Syracuse’s Police Benevolent Association is calling for more cops on the street, in the wake of a violent stretch in the city. Over the 4th of July weekend, 10 people were shot in a 24-hour span. In a letter to the editor on Syracuse.com, PBA president Jeff Piedmonte suggests residents contact Mayor Stephanie Miner, urging her to hire 50 more police officers. Piedmonte…

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More Cops Walk U.S. Beats as Cities Emerge From Riots, Recession

U.S. cities are hiring thousands of police officers as they recover from the recession that emaciated department ranks, putting more cops on neighborhood beats who could ease racial tensions between police and communities. New York is adding 1,300 officers, the first expansion of its police force in two decades. San Francisco is looking to swell its ranks by 400 officers. Seven out of 10 cities in the U.S. are…

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Dallas Struggles With Police Officers’ Departures For Better Pay, Morale

DALLAS, TX – After eight years with the Dallas Police Department, Kenneth King headed west earlier this year in search of a better life. He didn’t have to go far. King is one of eight officers who in recent months have joined the Fort Worth Police Department, where his base salary is $62,000 a year — about $11,000 more than he earned in Dallas even with overtime. But it’s…

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Firefighters In San Bernardino, Calif., Leaving Job In Record Numbers

SAN BERNARDINO, CA – If the reservoir of veteran firefighters in the city developed a leak in the Great Recession and the crack widened with the 2012 bankruptcy filing, then it’s in 2015 that the dam broke. Frustrated employees in both the Police and Fire departments have warned for years that actions city officials were taking to try to get the insolvent city on sustainable financial footing were leading…

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Court Sides With Firefighters In Minimum Staffing Case

LOCKPORT, NY – A ruling made by Judge Frank Caruso in New York State Supreme Court last week says the Lockport Professional Firefighters Association can take to arbitration the cuts made in its minimum staffing levels. In June, the City of Lockport filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the firefighter union’s bid to reverse reductions in minimum staffing and the ambulance service, which officials said were made in order…

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Remotely-Assigned Firefighter Does Not Count Towards Staffing Minimums

The collective bargaining agreement between the North Andover Firefighters Union and the Town of North Andover, Massachusetts requires that the Town have a minimum of eight firefighters assigned to fire suppression on duty at all times. On June 3, 2008, the Town assigned one of its firefighters to travel to a nearby town to assist in the repair of a ladder truck. The Union filed a grievance, contending that…

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Choose Your Words Carefully: Bargaining Over The Order Of Layoffs

When layoffs occur within an agency, unions may grieve the order of layoffs if they do not follow the order specified in the union contract. Ohio Civil Service law requires that layoffs occur in a certain order, but allows the appointing authority to decide in which classifications layoffs will occur. However, an employer and a union may supersede civil service law, to some extent, through collective bargaining. In one…

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