Posts Tagged Chicago Inspector General

Chicago unions upset by inspector general

The Chicago Sun-Times has an article which describes Chicago Police and Fire union responses to proposals by the Chicago inspector general:

Police and fire unions on Thursday torched a $1.2 billion roadmap from the city’s inspector general that calls for reducing staffing levels on fire apparatus, converting 20 percent of all engines and trucks to ambulances, staffing the Fire Prevention Bureau with civilians and eliminating “non-salary compensation” for firefighters and police officers.

Tom Ryan, president of the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2, said Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s “far-fetched” suggestions would “most certainly endanger the lives” of Chicago residents, employees and visitors as well as his own members.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that a minimum of five firefighters staff each piece of fire apparatus in high-target areas, which includes Chicago, a densely-populated city with “high-rise buildings, special needs facilities, industrial and manufacturing districts and numerous hazardous materials-producing institutions,” Ryan said.

Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields was equally incensed by the $144.4 million proposal to eliminate “non-salary compensation” and by Ferguson’s proposal to hire civilians for the Chicago Police Department’s Forensic and Administrative Services Bureaus ($6.7 million).

The entire article can be found HERE.

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Chicago Inspector General unhappy with rehiring

The Chicago Tribune has a follow-up article relating to yesterday’s order to rehire four CFD firefighters that were fired.

Chicago’s internal watchdog on Monday defended his recommendation to fire dozens of firefighters who padded mileage reports and called an arbitrator’s ruling to soften penalties in the case “patent nonsense.”

Last year, Inspector General Joseph Ferguson recommended firing 54 firefighters in the Fire Prevention Bureau that his office determined had falsified their mileage reimbursements to the tune of $100,000 in 2009. Then-fire Commissioner Robert Hoff decided instead to issue lengthy unpaid suspensions to most firefighters but fired four of them.

The arbitrator, Edwin Benn, reversed the firings last week, ruling that the four instead should be suspended without pay for 40 days. He also ruled that most of the other firefighters have their 30- to 60-day suspensions reduced to 20 to 40 days.

Benn found that while firefighters and supervisors violated city rules, they engaged in conduct that had been “almost a work rule,” condoned within the department for decades.

“The idea that stealing, fraudulent falsification of official records — and lying — is acceptable because everyone else is doing it is patent nonsense. Any child knows better,” Ferguson wrote in response. “These firefighters did not engage in conduct that unknowingly brought them in technical violation of some obscure and misunderstood city rule. Rather, they admitted to routinely and systematically lying in order to steal money from the city — and, ultimately, from Chicago taxpayers.”

The complete article is HERE.

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Chicago Inspector General Attacks Fire Department Again has an article this morning about the Chicago Inspector General commenting on changes he proposes for CFD staffing. Firegeezer writes:

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.

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Local 2 calls out the city inspector general has an editorial HERE entitled Local 2 to I.G. – “Butt Out!” where Firegeezer outlines some history involving CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, INSPECTOR GENERAL Joseph Ferguson and his recent public outcries which go beyond the scope of his office and position. These include offering budget options to the city council which among other things called for a reduction in Chicago Fire Department manning and then recommending specific disciplinary actions for members of the CFD Fire Prevention Bureau apparently caught padding mileage summaries for usage of their own vehicles followed. Then he states that the bureau should be closed and combined with other city inspection services.

Commissioner Hoff advised Fergie that he (Hoff) will be making the decisions on what disciplinary action will be taken and to forget about putting fire inspections in the purview of plumbers and electricians.

The editorial includes a letter to the public which was sent to the media by Tom Ryan, President of the FF union Local 2.

Excerpts include:

Last October, Mr. Ferguson provided an unsolicited Budget Options Report to the City Council in the form of a press release. Included in that report was an “option” for the City to reduce staffing on fire apparatuses from five firefighters to four. His report stated that this option was based on the National Fire Protection Association’s recommendation for “a minimum of only four personnel on each fire apparatus.” What Mr. Ferguson omitted from his report was the very next sentence of the NFPA Journal interview from which the recommendation was cited: “For special service vehicles, the standard states the apparatus must be staffed with the appropriate personnel to accomplish the tasks that the company will be expected to perform in a safe manner.” Additionally, the NFPA makes it clear in the same article that the staffing standard “is currently based on a fire in a typical single-family, two-story, 2000-square-foot house without basement or exposures.” The NFPA also states that in areas with “high target hazards” such as large manufacturing districts, skyscapers, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and special needs facilities there should be a minimum of five firefighters, and in some cases, even six. This High Target Hazard designation of course applies to virtually every one of Chicago ’s 50 wards.

This week the Inspector General’s Office leaked details of an internal report recommending the dismissal of Fire Prevention Bureau personnel to the media before a disciplinary review could be conducted by the Fire Commissioner. As such, the Inspector General may have again compromised the integrity of his report. Thankfully, Mayor Emanuel has publicly stated his expectation of the Commissioner to deal with these allegations. The Fire Prevention Bureau provides critical reports and hazard warnings for the buildings first responders are often rushing into. Their work is essential to the safety of rank-and-file firefighters specifically and to the public-at-large, and requires expert training in fire science. The IGO’s recommendation to “fold” this Bureau into the Building Department is a flagrant disregard for public safety. Furthermore, by covertly publicizing this report and recommendation, the Inspector General’s Office has effectively poured gasoline onto a fire. Hopefully these new flames will not jeopardize the abilities of the Fire Prevention Bureau in consistently and continuously executing their obligations to the fire safety of our city.

The entire letter can be found HERE.

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CFD staffing reduction proposal cut down

Firegeezer has a posting HERE about a proposal by the Chicago Inspector General to reduce CFD company staffing.

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