Posts Tagged Peoria FIre Department

Peoria Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from pjstar.com:

The Peoria City Council approved a settlement with the union that represents the city’s firefighters that will allow one of the fire houses that was to be closed to remain open for six months. The vote was 9-1 and involved Local 50 dropping an unfair labor practice grievance it had filed against the city two years ago in return for the city keeping Station 20 open in far north Peoria. Local 50 had won on the appellate level but agreed to give up the $500,000 judgment it got in return for the firehouse to remain open. That judgment is roughly the cost of keeping a fire house and its accompanying truck open for about six months.

Also part of the settlement was an agreement to have no layoffs through March 30. Earlier this fall, the city shuttered two fire houses as a way to close a budget hole created by the COVID-19 pandemic. City hall would also have to keep 44 union spots for each shift. If that wasn’t possible with the existing personnel, then it would have to be filled through overtime.

The suit stemmed from an agreement made between the firefighters and the city in 2017 in the wake of brownouts that were instituted to help close a budgetary shortfall. Local 50 said the brownouts were an unfair labor practice as the agreement eliminated some unfilled positions in return for keeping the fire apparatus online.

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Peoria Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from pjstar.com:

One of the two shuttered fire houses in the city could come back online until March 2021 under a proposed agreement by the local firefighters union, but whether city hall, which took two engines offline as a way to save money during the pandemic, accepts the deal is unknown.

Peoria Firefighters Union Local 50, said the they would drop an unfair labor practice lawsuit and use the anticipated $500,000 judgment they had won to help replace one fire engine. The deal would also call for the addition of seven firefighter positions which could be staffed through overtime or the hiring of new employees. 

The two sides have been in a series of negotiations since April over how many fire trucks would remain in service. The negotiations kicked into high gear after the council voted in late August to cut the two engines and shutter Stations 4 and 20.

The estimated cost to staff a fire engine is about $1.1 million. The union’s decision to forego the $600,000 is about half that, or six months, which would push a final decision out to March. The deal, however, still has to get council approval, which could come at a special meeting since the budgetary cuts are supposed to take effect on Oct. 1.

It wasn’t clear which engine would come back as part of this deal. Station 4 was to close on Oct. 1, while Station 20 was to close at some time yet to be determined. The union had been bargaining with the city for weeks to save jobs and keep fire houses open. The elimination of a fire truck often results in the closure of a house.

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Peoria Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from peoriapublicradio.org:

An attempt to reverse the planned budget-related cuts of two Peoria Fire Department engines fell short Tuesday night, after the city council unanimously agreed to issue $4 million in working cash bonds to keep the Peoria Civic Center afloat.

A District 2 council member proposed increasing the city’s borrowing to $15 million as a way to save fire department engines 4 and 20, and 22 associated positions. That $15 million figure represented an additional $1 million beyond the $10 million proposed earlier this month and the $4 million for the Civic Center. The proposal contingent on the firefighters’ union agreeing to a $500,000 settlement of a pending unfair labor practices appeal.

After firefighters’ union president Ryan Brady said he would need seven days to hear from his members on the willingness to agree to a settlement, the legality of that contingency raised some question, with one suggesting it might be a quid pro quo. The council eventually consulted with the city attorney in a 30-minute executive session prior to the vote. But those who opposed the plan said the issue already had been decided.

Money to repay the $4 million, 10-year bond for the civic center will come from hotel, restaurant, and amusement tax dollars. The civic center does not have the authority to issue its own bonds.

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from peoriapublicradio.org:

Facing escalating obligations to police and fire pensions, Peoria city leaders want residents to give direction on a course of action. The city council spent close to 90 minutes during Tuesday’s meeting discussing a plan to place an advisory referendum on the February ballot to gauge interest in implementing Police Protection and Fire Protection taxes.

“By 2023, one out of every nine dollars that you collect in the general fund will be going to cover public safety pension costs – over and above the property tax levies we’re currently showing,” said City Manager Patrick Urich, showing a general fund transfer requirement growing from $4 million this year to $10.6 million. “This is what’s driving us to cut services. This is the structural imbalance that we’re facing.”

Illinois law requires pensions to be 90% funded by 2040 and Peoria currently has $340 million in unfunded obligations. The amount of property tax revenue going toward the city’s general fund for operations has steadily decreased all the way down to nothing.

“There are no property tax dollars that you’re levying that are supporting the general fund operations for public safety, for public works, for community development, or for city hall – zero,” said Urich. He also noted that nearly 85% of the tax levy is covering pension costs.   

Adopting two protection taxes of 7.5 cents per $100 in assessed value would generate about $1.2 million apiece. The council has the authority to implement taxes at that rate without a referendum, but the rates could be increased up to 0.6% with a referendum.

The city had a balanced budget before the pandemic struck. While the council members seemed to favor asking residents to vote on what to do, most indicated they are opposed to higher taxes. The council unanimously voted to bring the referendum proposal back for additional discussion in 30 days.

There was a suggestion of the possibly doubling the $10 million in short-term borrowing the council approved last week in an attempt to save the two fire department engines that would be cut, but the borrowing would need a repayment source, and anything more than an extra $10 million would likely require a property tax increase.

The council decided to revisit the possibility at the next meeting.

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Peoria Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from centralillinoisproud.com:

The Peoria Fire Department is losing 22 firefighter positions. Thursday, councilman Denis Cyr explained why he voted yes on the proposal to decommission two engine companies, after voting no the previous week.

He chose the best option for his constituents who consistently tell him they are tired of paying higher taxes and fees. His goal is to be fiscally responsible, but in order to keep the taxes, services needed to be cut. He was in favor of closing two engine companies. He did not want to close the company in his district, but left it up to Peoria Fire Chief Tony Ardis who said it will be Engine 4 and Engine 20.

Cyr said he has been getting a lot of heat from the community, but he cannot please everyone. He adds he has also received good feedback from people who are against higher taxes.

From Peoria Firefighters Local 50 Facebook page:

It is clear what the priorities of the City Council are. Its never been so starkly clear. 6 positions in 2016. 18 positions in 2019. 22 positions as of tonight. 46 positions in 4 years. https://www.pjstar.com/…/council-cuts-two-peoria-fire-engin…

Last night, six members of the Peoria City Council voted to reduce the Peoria Fire Department by permanently closing two fire engines and eliminating 22 firefighter positions. Fortunately or unfortunately, Peoria Firefighter/Paramedics are already working short staffed so the number of actual layoffs could be as few as 8. These dedicated men and women have not only faced the COVID 19 Pandemic head on, but also the dangers associated with being a firefighter. Please take a look below as they are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, coaches, mentors, City of Peoria residents, and there to help in your time of need!! Oh, and one of them is currently overseas defending our country on active duty in the military! This is irresponsible and slap in the face to them as they have called Peoria home!!

Accompanying the closures of Station 20 on Wilhelm Road and Station 4 on SW Jefferson, 22 positions and 8 layoffs are acceptable by a majority of the City Council. The Council continues to brutalize the Firefighters. #EssentialNotEssential

City leaders have said time and time again that “fires are only three percent” of what we respond to in a calendar year. For the third time in just as many days, Peoria Fire Department resources are stretched thin again leaving large holes across the city for limited response coverage due to a fire and a vehicle rollover. Imagine for a moment in less than thirty days, our city will have two less fire engines and twenty two less firefighters. This is reckless and irresponsible!!! Please voice your opinion to help overturn this dangerous situation! #Local50#ThereWhenYouNeedUsMost

ACT FRIDAY: Every standard ever written is usually written because of a tragedy or a loss. Why policy makers can’t understand that or choose to ignore it is completely baffling. You cannot cut or reduce Public Safety without affecting the public’s safety because it doesn’t fit your story, narrative or position. The standard is clear and Peoria is substandard throughout the city. If you don’t have a standard emergency travel time of 4 minutes to where you and your loved ones live and sleep, you should be asking why that is acceptable. And if you are soon to have your substandard response time tanked further, you should be asking why that is acceptable. And if you don’t know if you do or not, your District, At-Large and Mayoral representatives should be able to inform you. They have b

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from peoriapublicradio.org:

One week after voting down a plan to borrow $10 million and decommission two fire engines to balance Peoria’s budget, a divided city council has approved the proposal. The city staff’s recommended budget restructuring in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic passed on a 6-5 count. Four council members remained opposed to the fire cuts. One said the cuts will damage Peoria’s ability to provide the safety a city of its size requires.

The engines slated to be cut are Engine 4 from the south side’s Jefferson station and Engine 20 on Wilhelm in the far north area of the city. Along with the engine cuts, 17 firefighter positions will be eliminated, however five firefighters accepting the voluntary separation incentive passed last week could reduce the number of layoffs.

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from Peoriapublicradio.com:

The Peoria Fire Department is honoring the 25th anniversary of a life-saving moment by calling for more people to learn CPR.

In 1994, then 17-year-old Nick Knapp was playing basketball at Woodruff High School when his heart suddenly stopped. Fortunately, off-duty fire captain Byron Yang was at the gym and immediately began performing CPR. Nick not only survived, but stayed completely neurologically intact. He went on to become the first basketball player to ever play Division 1 college basketball with an implantable defibrillator. His message is simple:

“Get out there and learn CPR,” he said. “It’s a very simple thing to learn, but it can all the difference for someone if you’re in the right situation at the right time. It can give someone, like me, a second chance at life.” Advances in resuscitation technology, like automatic defibrillators, mean more people survive incidents like his.

The Peoria Fire Department has since maintained a strong track record.

“Peoria firefighter paramedics, along with our AMT paramedics, were able to get a return of spontaneous circulation 32.6 percent of the time,” said Assistant Chief Tony Ardis, referencing data from last year. “That’s a fancy way of saying they were able to get a pulse back. The national average is 11 percent.”

But bystander CPR was performed in fewer than 16 percent of cardiac arrests. Learning compression CPR can have a huge effect on the likelihood of survival. Eighty percent of cardiac arrests happen in the home and it’s important to be able to take action while waiting for first responders emergency medical services.

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from peoriapublicradio.org:

The Illinois Labor Relations Board has upheld a summary ruling against the city of Peoria earlier this year which restricts the brownout of fire department engines. In February 2019, an administrative law judge summarily ruled in favor of International Association of Firefighters Local 50 after the city failed to respond to an unfair labor practice complaint filed by the union.

The union said the city refused to provide a signed copy of a memorandum of understanding it was using to justify the brownout policy, which took apparatus out of service on certain days in a cost-cutting measure. The union said it had made other consessions with the understanding all companies would remain in service.

The city claimed the decision was issued by the judge without notice or participation by the city, and said the substantial cost to taxpayers imposed by suspending the brownouts was prejudicial. It requested a variance.

But earlier this month, the Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB) disagreed. The board provided a timeline of the the communications between the ILRB and the city of Peoria, saying the city had multiple opportunities to respond and take part in the investigation of the allegations, but failed to do so.

The city said the initial notice was mailed to the wrong address, and claimed it was likely mailed to the wrong address again when re-mailed in January 2019. The city did not respond to an order to show cause it didn’t receive the second mailed notice, and it did not comment on whether or not it received e-mailed notices, the ILRB found.

Indeed, the city’s lack of activity in the investigation of the charge, a charge which the city clearly had notice of, belies its contention that allowing the default to stand would come at a substantial cost to taxpayers. If this case was so significant to the city and its residents, it stands to reason that the city would have been more vigilant during the investigation and in responding to communications from the Board. – ILRB ruling

The ILRB upheld the judge’s order to revert to the pre-brownout status quo, reimburse impacted employees with back pay, and head back to the bargaining table. The city can now take the case to an appellate court, if it so chooses.

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from peoriapublicradio.org:

Peoria Fire Chief Ed Olehy is working to craft policies to cut down on firefighter exposure to carcinogens. Currently, the Peoria Fire Department does not have a procedure to reduce the risk from cancer-causing substances that stick to gear during a working fire. 

The danger is real. Three active-duty members of the fire department have recently died from cancer. Olehy says cleaning off gear requires helping firefighters change old habits and attitudes.  It can be especially challenging to clean off gear with a soap and brush in extreme weather. And with only one set of gear per firefighter, swapping out isn’t an option. 

The Peoria Fire Department recently received a grant for three new extractors that are being installed and they are working to implement standard operating guidelines to reduce the cancer risk for the men and women of the fire department. 

The chief recently received an Executive Fire Officer Degree from the National Fire Academy after defending a paper on this topic to a panel of experts. 

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Peoria Fire Department news more

Excerpts from pjstar:.com

A clerical error could cost the city of Peoria upwards of $500,000 after an administrative law judge recommended nearly a dozen firefighters be reinstated and the two rescue trucks taken off line last year be reinstated.

And while those changes would be substantial, neither Peoria Firefighters Union Local 50 nor city hall believe the recommendation, handed down in late February, is the final say on the matter. In fact, the Peoria city attorney says the reasoning behind the decision was a clerical error — the city never responded to the unfair labor practice accusations from the union that sparked the case because the complaint and other documents were sent to an attorney’s old place of employment.

But, on the surface, the Feb. 27 ruling seems to be a total win for the union as it orders the city to:

– restore the staffing levels of the Peoria Fire Department to levels it was before May 21, 2018, when a series of brown-outs were instated to help with budgetary issues.

– compensate those who lost income by offering back pay to those who were eligible to work on the rescue squads.

– resume bargaining with the local over staffing and work conditions.

The city will, in essence, appeal and tell the state Labor Relations Board what it thinks the hearing officer got wrong. The ILRB will likely hear the case sometime later this year.

The union filed its complaint last summer in the wake of brown-outs that were ordered by city hall to help close a budgetary shortfall. Local 50 cried foul and said the brown-outs were an unfair labor practice in the wake of an agreement they had reached in late 2017 that eliminated some unfilled positions in return for keeping the fire apparatus online.

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