Can the Mayor end the battle with Fire Fighters? Not likely

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Mayor Christian Provenzano thinks the contention between the Sault Ste. Marie Professional Fire Fighters Association and the City has gone on long enough and wants to take a more active role in bringing both sides together. He has his work cut out for him especially following a vote Monday night ditching the idea of having a comprehensive risk assessment done in 2017, a year earlier than planned.

The motion was brought forward by Ross Romano and Marchy Bruni. ” I see no reason to delay the assessment at this time” Romano said.

It appears that most of council sides with Fire Chief Mike Figliola.

Voting against the motion included Steve Butland, Susan Myers, Paul Christian, Sandra Hollingsworth, Judy Hupponen, Matt Shoemaker , Frank Fata and the Mayor. Voting in favour were Lou Turco, Joe Krmpotich Ross Romano and Marchy Bruni.

Not all are convinced including Ross Romano. In light of a Ministry of Labour order asking the City to provide information on  fire suppression interior attacks with three fire fighters instead of four per truck.

CAO Al Horsman said council will comply with the order and information that needs to be updated is all part of the realignment process. The City must respond by January 27, 2017.

Though Paul Christian voted against the motion, he was concerned over the Ministry of Labour order stating that the whole fire realignment plan called for the reduction of actual fire fighters (25 percent reduction by 2018) Christian called the whole situation “absurd”

Susan Myers was adamantly opposed to an early comprehensive risk assessment.

“i will not undermine the chief . I have confidence in the chief… I don’t care who’s asking for what and what they are asking for. I don’t support this resolution.”

Frank Fata also backs the Chief “I do value the opinion of the fire chief . I value his expertise . as we are speaking now we are getting emails from the association saying that we are being misled. I don’t think we are being misled . ”

SSM Professional Fire Fighters Association President questions the figures being put out by Figliola. In a letter to council delivered yesterday, Richard Bishop questions the Chief’s report to council.  Total call volume is reported to be declining over the past 10 years according the report however the association says it has not. In 2014 there were 38 serious fires, in 2015 there were 51 and so far in 2016 there has been 46 fires. Call volumes are on the increase according to the association who logs the calls. The chief estimates there will be 2,400 by the end of the year while the association says there has been 2,600 so far with a month to go.

“Over the past year a lot has changed for fire fighters in Sault Ste. Marie; a job that is inherently dangerous has become unnecessarily more dangerous. It has been another busy year, and fires are trending upward in our uncertain economy. Civilian and fire fighter injuries are trending up as well, including 1 death and several close calls in 2016.” Bishop said.

With both sides still far apart on the realignment plan, Steve Butland commented this is the worse he’s seen in 30 years. “Is there some way both sides can come together and talk in some sort of respective manner?” Butland asked.

Mayor Provenzano echos that and wants both sides to come together for the better of the community. “I plan on becoming more involved to try to find a solution” the Mayor said to council.

“We believe council is being misled regarding the true implications of this realignment plan. Members of Parliament, the Ministry of Labour, former Fire Chiefs, a former Fire Marshall, a former Police Chief and the community at large have recognized the far-reaching impact it is already having on community and fire fighter safety.”Bishop writes.

Council will have to approve the expense of a comprehensive risk assessment pegged at between $130,000 to $140,000. The association would rather have it done by the Ontario Fire Marshall’s office at little to no expense. ” The Ontario Fire Marshall are not an independent third party” Figliola stressed.

It’s not clear just how the Mayor expects both sides to come to a resolution on the matter. As it stands, the Fire Realignment Plan will continue for two more years with the risk assessment being completed by the end of 2018.

 

13 COMMENTS

  1. Tyler. Do you have some sort of fear that the city council is going to care one way or another who votes? They are so oblivious to what’s going. Councillor Myers actually said, I don’t care who’s asking for what and what they are asking for.” I guess that would include the MOL order that the CAO, Mayor and Council seemed to take very lightly. The pompous attitude that our city council has, (because they are all hiding behind the Chief, who by the way, tosses the liability back at “them” or his Officers quite regularly) regarding the MOL order leads one to believe that they are above the law. The Ministry of Labour doesn’t write orders on a whim. There is a legitimate reason for the order and people need to start paying attention. You may not like one side or another in this whole matter but the reality is you need to educate yourself on both sides. I have followed this realignment battle for a year, and I have read a lot about the fire service, responsibilities of city council members, the Mayors duties and even went as far as speaking to members of the Ontario Fire Marshal Office. My suggestion on the MOL order would be to have the Fire Chief write up the Operating Guideline himself. He has designed the realignment plan, that he says doesn’t affect the service, that the Ministry of Labour wrote the order due to, the realignment plan that the Fire Chief designed.

    • SafeCity …..thanks for putting a factual perspective on this debacle. The chief has made an unprecedented number a blatant lies in public and in writing, in which I have never seen the likes of in my 50 plus years on this planet. Can someone please tell me why he has not been held accountable for his actions??

      What is critically disturbing is the manner in which that pompous self absorbed Susan Myers and her side kick Hollingsworth have made this issue out to be totally unimportant to them. The two of them should be tossed out of Council on their back sides for the manner in which they’ve addressed this public safety issue. When their homes are up in flames and all the other crews are attending various alarms, I hope the chief can deliver on his promise that it takes 5 minutes to get additional staff to the scene after a call out. Unless he’s Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Starship Enterprise, and can telaport the additional crews to the scene, then he’s full of 100% methane/sewer gas!!! Schoolyard bullies like this clown in uniform need to be taken for a walk behind the schoolyard for some negotiating…

      Mayor and Council must focus on the real facts, that Suppression responses have gone up exponentially over the past generation, and that our response times are nowhere near the 3 minutes that Mr. 5 bar claims, and that people can be rescued from burning buildings well beyond his fictional 2 minute time-frame. Call volume has risen as a result of medical calls, confined space calls, hazmat, elevator rescues, vehicle extrication, ice/water rescue, carbon monoxide calls, nuisance open air burning calls, courtesy calls, and by the way they still put out structure fires. If Mayor and Council had paid attention they might’ve realized that over the past year fire crews have responded to an overwhelming amount of structure fires.

      At some point the Province, particularity Mr Orazietti, the new Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Service needs to start swinging his hammer in the direction of Mayor and Council, and force them to comply with NPPA standards, the accepted industry standard in Ontario!!!!Anything less is unacceptable for the firefighters and the public period!!!!!!!

  2. The poll regarding the fire cuts has been highjacked by the Ontario professional firefighters fighters association. It was distributed out through email. The 92% is all fire fighters and their brotherhood protecting their jobs and voting from across the province. This is a regular union tactic to influence public opinion.

    • I completely agree! The firefighters are lashing out because the chief is trying to bring them up to a current standard of operating. Times have changed folks, we need to operate and optimum efficiency, instead the firefighters whine, cry and threaten.

      Thank you to those who care for the tax payers. The chief, mayor, and counsellors have ensured we will be just as safe with the new plan, at a significantly lower price tag.

      Grow up firefighters!

  3. What concerns me is the blind following of the Fire Chief! He has an agenda. I don’t know exactly what that is, but we have heard of other conflicts between himself and the Firefighters on the 24 hour shift. Seems like the Chief is just trying to flex his muscles and show who’s in power? For the Chief to deny using the Fire Marshal for the study, seems suspect. The Fire Marshal’s Office has a responsibility to Public and Firefighter Safety, NOT to Firefighter’s Associations! To through away thousands of dollars for an “independent” study is, for lack of a better word, stupid! How independent is a study that is paid for by one side or the other?

  4. has anyone considered what the increased costs to the residents and businesses are going to be when the insurance companies get wind of this ?

    • Or the cost to families of loss of life and or property and increased insurance rates due to longer response times and inadequete respone numbers? Or the cost to companies in loss fo life property and insurance? If people want to save money, maybe they should also cut their life insurance, its about a logical as that chief’s BS. And ask fire fighters in cities with higher fire rates how many they save a year? Would saving 1 child a year not be worth the extra money a year? Hell people dont mind paying more for garbage pick up, but life safety isnt worth it? Afterall, when you have a medical emergency and fire is there to help sustain life with BCLS until Amb arrives is crucial. Now think of winter and all the car accidents and you need a cut out. As for the 2 minutes that the chief mentioned… he is full of shit. plain and simple. Manipulating stats to make an agenda seem legit is not proper.

  5. One wonders if a standing committee of taxpayers would serve any purpose for such issues. The committee members could serve a single term for a specified period then face rotation out until all available have served. It would have to by nature be volunteers appointed to a position. Failing that perhaps an ad hock committee made up from a pool of taxpayers volunteering similarly as above. Both would need to be posted by council through a lottery so as to avoid “stacking” the seats available. Simply a thought as I am by no means expert at any of this.

  6. Observation, I have to agree with you totally.. let the fire marshals office do it, they can’t possibly be more one-sided than our fire chief..I for one, would like to know where any savings are in this deal ?? If two trucks have to answer every call I see no savings at all. Even when they come to assist paramedics there are two trucks now when only one came before.. I think someone is getting a light shined up his butt…….

  7. And so the rhetoric continues and now after all that has transpired, the mayor in his red cape is going to save the day. Seriously Saturday Night Live could have s field day with these ongoing issues which are completely irreconcilable.

    While I concur that City services need to be controlled given the current economic situation, you do not make such decisions to slash public safety unilaterally. This so called expert is nothing more than a fascist with a hidden self-serving agenda.

    At the root of the problem, is the inability of our local politicians to facilitate any economic traction. And as a result let’s desimate one of the most critical elements in public safety. This is not a rational means of reducing expenses particularly when fire suppression call volume has risen exponentially. These statistics are all available through FOI.

    The so called expert has consistently lied, and easily mislead and brainwashed Coucillors, particularly Susan Myers, Butland, Fata, Shoemaker, Hollingsworth, Christian, Hupponen, and the head puppet, Provenzano. Shame on these individuals for not having the foresight to vote in favour of last night’s resolution and mitigate the liability issues associated with this ill-conceived plan. Where is the input from the City’s recently hired Risk Manager on the implications of waiting for the realignment plan to unfold without so much as a shread of due diligence.

    Lets sit back with bated breath and hope that firefighters, and the public do not suffer injuries or God forbid anything more serious as a result of this realignment. Should that unfold and the City is found to be liable for their actions, we as taxpayers will all pay the consequences.

  8. Yeah, let’s spend $130,000 to $140,000 that the city can’t afford rather than getting the Ontario Fire Marshall’s office to do it at little to no expense.

    I’m sorry but what the **** is wrong with you people.

    This is why I believe we need a whole new city council in 2018. Enough is enough it’s time to put people in office who actually care about the people and the city.

    • But as our so called expert stated last night the Fire Marshal is not an independent third party. He may want validate that statement. His only agenda in not having the involvement of the Province’s leading and mandated authority in fire related matters for Ontario, is his fear of the obvious outcome, and how he will crumble to the ground like a house of cards. There are NO credible reasons to not have the OFM conduct this CRA for the community without any expenses incurred by the City.

    • So now the Fire Marshall is coming to town. Will the City Council listen to them or discount these experts as paid by the firefighters? The Mayor has done absolutely nothing to improve this riff. The rest of council just dismisses any intelligent information they are given. It’s time to have an election and remove this group from destroying this city. They ruined daycare, snowplowing, bussing, etc. They have put our lives in danger with reducing our fire dept. They have put all their faith in the word of one person who will be highballing it out of town as soon as his 4 year contract is over. Then we are left with a city in ruins.

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