Archive for September 30th, 2014

San Bernardino city wins in battle against firefighter contract

From the San Bernardino Sun comes an interesting article about the city’s bankruptcy proceedings and rulings related to the contract with firefighters:

San Bernardino officials’ budget-balancing efforts won two victories in U.S. Bankruptcy Court … at the expense of the firefighters union. In a tentative ruling, Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury agreed to reject the current bargaining agreement between firefighters and the city, allowing the city to impose a new contract of its choosing.

The city suggested in papers to the court that part of the reason to reject the existing contract was so it could replace a constant staffing model with minimum staffing — in essence, giving management the option of leaving some firefighter positions unfilled for a shift if a firefighter doesn’t come to work, reducing the more than $4 million in overtime the city pays firefighters most years. Another expected reason was continuing to make firefighters pay the retirement contributions the city handled until January 2013, reducing the employees’ take-home pay by nearly 14 percent.

But City Manager Allen Parker said after the court hearing that there weren’t plans to impose a new contract immediately after rejecting the current one, theoretically leaving a void.

Jury made clear that she wasn’t agreeing to the specifics of any potential imposition. And she said that during bankruptcy the city can’t break “substantive law,” including the city charter provision that prevents cutting public safety salaries (but which is on November’s ballot for possible repeal).

Previous cases don’t establish how long the imposed contract can be used, Jury said.

“I said it’s interim, but I don’t know how long interim is,” she said. “I think until a new collective bargaining agreement is negotiated or the plan (to exit bankruptcy) is approved.”

In a separate ruling Thursday, Jury rejected the firefighter union’s motion for relief from the stay preventing anyone from suing the city while it’s in bankruptcy. Firefighters’ attorneys want to argue in state court that the city hadn’t followed state law in its negotiations. Still undecided are separate motions for relief from the stay from the police and fire unions after contracts were imposed on those unions in January 2013.

The city’s attorneys will submit proposed wording of the order …, giving firefighters’ union attorneys until {September 17] to object or file an alternative proposal before a hearing Sept. 19 to finalize the order.

But after Jury spent nearly an hour explaining her decision, the reasoning for it and related issues, firefighters’ attorney Brian Goodrich submitted to the decision while reserving the right to appeal it.

The firefighters’ objection consisted mainly of arguments against the admissability of evidence the city submitted, which Jury said were mostly not legitimate. They will have the chance to cross-examine the city’s financial consultant, Michael Busch of Urban Futures, who produced most of the declarations the city used to establish that its current contract is a “burden.”

Also Thursday, the city’s bankruptcy attorney, Paul Glassman, said the city had rescinded two firefighter layoff notices approved as part of the budget but objected to by the firefighters’ union. Four demotions in the Fire Department are working their way through the city’s appeals process.

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New brush unit for the Homer FPD

Martin Nowak found this new delivery on the Alexis Fire Equipment site for the Homer Township FPD


fire department brush truck

New brush unit for the Homer FPD. Alexis Fire Equipment photo

fire department brush truck

New brush unit the Homer FPD. Alexis Fire Equipment photo

Technical Specs
• Ford F-550XL 4-Door 4×4 DRW Chassis
• Ford Triton 6.8L V-10, 362-HP Gasoline Engine
• Ford TorqShift Automatic Transmission
• Heavy Duty 3/16” Aluminum Body
• Warn stainless steel brush guard with wrap around and front receiver
• Luverne Stainless Steel Nerf bars
• Reese type hitch/winch receiver with electrical connections, rear
• One (1) Warn XD9000, 9,000 lb winch
• 400-Gallon Poly Skid Tank
• Waterous PB18-3030LE Pump with 20-HP Honda gasoline engine
• One (1) 2 ½” Discharge, rear
• One (1) 1 ½” Discharge, hose tray
• Two (2) 1” booster lines with 10-ft of hose
• Akron Forestry front bumper turret controlled from the cab
• One (1) Hannay electric Booster reel with 150-ft of 1” hose
• Two (2) Drop down platforms with doors, one each side
• Two (2) compartments with two (2) drop down doors each, one each side
• Two (2) Hose trays, one (1) each side compartment tops
• Progressive Dynamics on-board battery charger
• Kussmaul Super Auto Eject 120-volt shoreline connection
• Floor mounted console for emergency switches with map/binder storage, cab
• Code 3 Electronic Siren with 100-watt Whelen speaker
• Two (2) Whelen LED Scene lights, rear
• Two (2) Akron Extenda-Lite 12-volt telescopic LED lights, one (1) each side
• Whelen LED Warning Light Package
• Chevron pattern striping, rear
• 8’ 5” Overall height
• 22’ 11” Overall length
• 176” Wheelbase
• 60” Cab to Axle
• 7,000 FAWR
• 14,700 RAWR
• 19,500 GVWR

Download Spec Sheet »

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Crown Point burndown

This from Larry Shapiro:

While driving on I65 last night through Crown Point, I spotted a fully-engulfed house off the road … appeared to be a turndown. I followed the smoke and found Crown Point (IN) firefighters at the tail end of burning down the house that they’d been training in for the past three days.

I grabbed a few shots and some video.

firemen with hose line at night fire scene

Larry Shapiro photo

silhouette of firemen with flames

Larry Shapiro photo

fire engine at fire scene at night

Larry Shapiro photo

fireman at night with hose line against a backdrop of fire

Larry Shapiro photo

house destroyed by fire at night

Larry Shapiro photo

Crown Point fire engine

Larry Shapiro photo

More images at

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