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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 17 years and 146 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

I salute the men and women of the Glendale Fire Department. You, time after time, demonstrate your compassion, professionalism and integrity every time you answer an emergency call. Your genuine care for the people you serve is evident…especially the children, the little ones. Thank you for your service. I and every Glendale citizen appreciate what you do.

You work hard but you are paid well for your knowledge and expertise. You probably think that it is not enough and perhaps it isn’t. Due to your schedule of one day on and two days off many of you have second jobs or are business owners. It is something that nearly every other employee working a traditional 5 day a week job does not have the luxury of doing.

As a former councilmember and now private citizen of Glendale whatever concerns I have had or do have about the policies of fire service delivery have never been about you but they have been about the union that represents you and some of the goals and the tactics the union uses.

 I go nuts when in reviewing fire’s pay for major events such as this past Super Bowl and I see some fire department employees earning $220 an hour in overtime pay. I’m sorry but I think that is outrageous. There are many other professions in which their members earn far less than $220 an hour in overtime pay. It breeds a lack of sympathy among the general public.

The Glendale fire union’s latest stunt was averted by councilmembers who realized the fragility of Glendale’s current budget situation at their city council meeting of May 26, 2015. Sherwood and Chavira pressed to use reserve funds but they did not prevail. Sherwood is supportive because he needs all the help he can get in facing his recall election. Chavira is a Phoenix firefighter and has an obligation to support anything the fire union wants.

When Glendale residents picked up the Glendale Republic of May 23, 2015 the headline screamed Fire department understaffing stirs concerns in an article by Matthew Casey. It reflected a deliberate strategy by Joe Hester, President of the Glendale chapter of the fire union, (who really runs the department) to use scare tactics to get additional revenue now…immediately…to expand the fire department. Hester said, “It seems pretty obvious there is a crisis by any way you measure it. Our folks are extremely disappointed in the budget process.” Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2015/05/22/glendale-fire-department-understaffed/27713737/ .

The most telling statistic in the article was provided by Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick. He offered Glendale Fire Department response times for 90 percent of calls by year:

  • 2010 8 minutes 11 seconds
  • 2011 8 minutes 10 seconds
  • 2012 8 minutes 6 seconds
  • 2013 8 minutes 12 seconds
  • 2014 8 minutes 12 seconds

So where is the crisis? Today’s response time is the same response time as in the previous 5 years. Another fact often ignored is that Glendale is one of ten cities in the state accredited by the non-profit organization, The Center for Public Safety Excellence. Glendale would not have received its accreditation if its response times were not acceptable. This agency is responsible for accrediting individuals and agencies internationally. It is a much coveted accreditation and Glendale is proud to have measured up to its criteria. Do you really think Glendale would have received its accreditation if its response times were not acceptable?

The statistic Chief Burdick provided is telling for another reason. Now that he is soon-to-be retired as Fire Chief he has begun to tell it like it is. As a councilmember 5 or 6 years ago Chief Burdick and I had a conversation about the union and its influence within the department. There was much he wanted to say but he was obviously reluctant to speak freely about the union and its influence and he refrained. I could sense that he was embarrassed that he could not speak freely.

The purpose of this article released just before the council meeting was to pressure the city council to change its budget strategy and to use general fund contingency or unappropriated fund balance to purchase more equipment and to hire more personnel immediately.  Let’s look at some facts not clearly addressed in the article:

  • Fact #1 – Glendale is experiencing an increased call volume. Why? Glendale’s population has barely increased and in fact, Glendale is anticipated to lose state shared revenue because its population growth is low compared to other Valley cities. Much of its increased call volume are responses due to Automatic Aid.
  • Fact #2 – Glendale is a member of the Valley-wide automatic aid system. If the closest fire station is busy and Glendale is the next closest, Glendale is dispatched to handle the call out of its city. The Republic article acknowledged that “Glendale responded about 3,300 more times to calls in Phoenix and Peoria than those cities responded to Glendale combined.
  • Fact #3 – Glendale uses overtime to make up for its increased call volume. It is insane to send a large truck with 4 personnel to medical calls when 80% to 90% of its calls are medical. There are other strategies such as 2 person ambulances being employed right now, this very minute, to respond to emergency medical calls. It’s time for Glendale to adopt one of them.

Shame on the fire union for attempting to scare people into giving them the financial resources they want right now.  Shame on the fire union for attempting to expand its empire rather than looking at other strategies for response to medical calls.

No one asked the question: The fire department’s budget comes from the city’s general fund. It has been acknowledged that they want an additional $2 to $3 million and that does not include the additional monies needed to pay the salaries and benefits for more personnel annually. What department in the general fund do they want to cut by $2 to $3 million? What other city service are they willing to sacrifice to meet their needs right now?

In response over the next few months the council will take a measured look at the entire issue of adequate resources for public safety and that includes the police department. Five of the councilmembers did not rush to judgment as Sherwood and Chavira pressed them to do.  They realize that there is a problem but they were not ready to sacrifice other city services to give the fire union what it demanded. They also realize that there is no quick fix. It will take several years to implement a viable solution. The men and women of the Glendale fire department want what is best for their city. Too bad their union is not listening to them.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The Glendale Star in an effort to perpetuate the current feud between the Glendale Fire Union and Freightliner, Inc. recently ran two opinion pieces, one by Joe Hester, President of the Glendale Fire Union, and one by Tim Noeding, General Sales Manager of Freightliner of Arizona. Here is the link to the Hester op ed: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/editorials/article_80078e26-9d73-11e3-8f2f-001a4bcf887a.html . Here is the link to the Noeding op ed: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/editorials/article_ea857dd8-9a46-11e3-a4c4-0019bb2963f4.html .

Again, it is apparent that the situation is a “he said vs. he said.” The general public does not understand or appreciate the technical nuances both gentlemen have used without any published facts. Neither side has offered anything new that hasn’t already been said.

So what do we need to know to ascertain the truth? At this point the fire department (or perhaps Joe Hester??) should provide the original, time stamped or dated, original bid specifications provided to the vendors. It should also provide the ratings sheets/evaluations of each bid publicly. If they are unwilling or unable to do so publicly speculation will continue to grow over was there ever was a standard set of specifications.

Apparently no formal RFP was ever issued. That flies in the face of city policy. Chief Burdick and Joe Hester claim that they dusted off old bid specifications, unused because of a lack of funding. When the older attempt to buy a truck did not occur, that was a final action. It died. When grant funding became available a new bid process should have been initiated. That did not happen. Why? Until the truth is known this incident will fester like a wound that is infected.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

Here is the letter Freightliner sent to Joe Hester, President of the Glendale Fire Union. Note that it was copied to the City Manager, the City Attorney, the Mayor and all Councilmembers and the Glendale Star. I apologize if the formatting is a little wonky. I am still not an expert on all things blog.

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February 17, 2014

Joe Hester
Captain, Glendale Fire Department
Vice President, United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association
Glendale, AZ 

 Dear Mr. Joe Hester.

I am shocked that you are attacking Freightliner Arizona with baseless facts and trying to characterize our organization as not wanting to support the safety of the Firefighters in Glendale.

In your opinion piece, “Fire Truck Manufacturers Should stick to the Facts”, you point out that Freightliner of Arizona was offering an inferior product that lacked the Extruded Body and Cab, the Telma Auxiliary Brake in our proposal.  Maybe you never got a chance to look at our proposal, but it included those items at a price of $422,838, plus tax.

We spent a great deal of time trying to get specific information in written form so we could verify we were providing exactly what Glendale Fire wanted.  What we received were a couple of verbal “Must Haves”: Extruded Body and Cab, Telma Brake and Electronic Valves.  These items were all supplied in our proposal.  We even went as far as going to a Glendale Fire Station to measure the body and compartment dimensions so we could have Rosenbauer duplicate them and draw up the apparatus to best match the equipment being used by the department today.

It is insulting that you or any Fire Fighter might feel that Freightliner of Arizona would condone providing inferior or unsafe Fire Apparatus to any community, least of all Glendale Fire.  We know that there are severe budget issues facing the community and some of the “must have options” are very expensive and not widely used throughout the industry. Freightliner of Arizona’s proposal included all of these items, but communicated to the Department that there were less expensive more widely used options that could be provided; Thus, saving the Department and Glendale money so that these funds could be used for other purposes in the Department.

You claim that all of the communities around Arizona have these options.  I would ask that you investigate this claim, because you will find that 80% do not have Extruded Bodies and that 90% do not have Telma  Brake and about 90% do not have electronic valves.  These items are available on Fire Trucks and fit certain purposes, but the cost versus the benefit has been reviewed by most of your fellow fire fighters and they chose not to have these items on their apparatus.  I am sure that you feel that these are needed in Glendale, but the majority of fire fighters do not. There is no data that would indicate that these items improve safety for a fire fighter. If there was, the National Fire Protection Association, which provides governance over Fire Fighter Safety, would require these devices on all fire apparatus.

Freightliner of Arizona has been providing Fire Apparatus and parts, service and warranty to Arizona Fire Departments since 1998, and did not just return to selling Fire Trucks as you said.  We have participated with most of the major Fire Departments in bids and RFP’s.  We have never had to approach a City Council about how we were treated in the procurement process.  We have never suggested that Fire Fighters should ever be put in unsafe apparatus or conditions.  We believe quite the opposite!  We understand, probably better then most, the importance of fire fighter safety and how vehicle specification and design can insure it.

Joe, it is extremely unfortunate that you have been misinformed about what we provided to the Glendale Fire.  I am providing you a copy of what we submitted to Glendale so you can confirm what I am telling you is the truth.  I hope you realize that our objection on the way the procurement process was handled was not an attack on Glendale Fire Fighters, but on the people who were responsible to conduct themselves as professionals and fiduciaries of the community. 

I think that when all the facts weigh in you will see that Freightliner of Arizona was mislead and provided inaccurate information on which we provided a proposal.  The apparatus our competitor proposed to Glendale Fire was not the same design and more expensive resulting in the Council being asked to approve $484,000 plus dollars instead of the $422,838 we bid.  With tax that only comes to $ 57,934.  That leaves over $26,000 unaccounted for!  Doesn’t that concern you?  It sure did us!  Especially when we knew we included the “Must Have” components and told that our bid was high bid!  It just doesn’t add up!

Freightliner of Arizona is not the enemy of Glendale Fire Fighters.  That is not why we brought this issue to the Council.  We did it because the procurement process to purchase this new Fire Truck was broken. We want to participate in a fair and transparent process where the most competitive and responsible bidder wins the award! We look forward to participating in the new RFP that Glendale Fire will be issuing.  We hope the process will be fair so if we can provide the best, safest and most competitive Fire Truck, we hope Glendale Fire will want to do business with us.

Respectfully,

Timothy Noeding
General Sales Manager
9899 W Roosevelt   St.
Tolleson,AZ85353                                                                                                                       
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cc: Mayor Jerry Weiers
Manny Martinez
Yvonne Knaack
Gary Sherwood
Sam Chavira
Ian Hugh
Norma Alvarez
Brenda Fischer
Michael Bailey
Glendale Star

Here is the Freightliner bid document. Freightliner represents Rosenbauer in Arizona:

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Bid Price and Delivery Schedule For 

************ City of Glendale ***********

 Rosenbauer America, LLC is pleased to provide this bid proposal. The proposed apparatus has been tailored around the requirements of the fire service industry and we are confident that our proposal will meet and exceed the needs of the department. The proposed apparatus will be constructed utilizing only the highest quality materials and workmanship available in the industry.  The apparatus will provide the upmost firefighter safety and efficiency on the fire ground along with extended life and lower maintenance cost throughout the life of the vehicle.

   [1] Rosenbauer Commander pumper w/EXT body:      $422,838.00 plus tax and HCAC fees

    * See page 2 for prepayment discounts and page 3 for additional options

The specifications herein contained shall form a part of the final contract, and are subject to changes desired by the purchaser, provided such alterations are interlined prior to the acceptance by the company of the order to purchase, and are provided such alterations do not materially affect the cost of the construction of the apparatus. 

The proposal for fire apparatus conforms to all Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) rules and regulations in effect at the time of bid, and with all National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines for automotive fire apparatus as published at the time of bid, except as modified by customer specifications. Any increased costs incurred by the first party because of future changes in or additions to said DOT or NFPA standards will be passed along to the customers as an addition to the price set forth above.

Contract Terms

Delivery:

The proposed truck will be completed in no more than:   330-360 Days ARO

Price Terms:

This offer shall remain valid for thirty, (30) calendar days from the quotation submittal date of November  22, 2013

Payment:

Contract payment of one-hundred percent (100%) of the purchase price shall be paid upon delivery and acceptance of the completed unit.

Prepayment options:

As an option Rosenbauer is offering a prepayment discount should the City wish to 100% prepay for the apparatus at the time of order. This option will include a 100% performance to guarantee the production of the unit. The prepayment discount would be $5,707.00 and would drop the sale price to $417,131.00 plus tax and HGAC fees. The tax rate would drop from 8.3% to 5.6%.

 Original price                    $422,828.00 + $35,096.00 (8.3%) = $457,934.00 plus HGAC fees

Prepayment price               $417,131.00 + $23,359.00 (5.6%) = $440,490.00 plus HGAC fees

The prepayment option would save the City over $17,000.00.

I want to thank the City of Glendale for the opportunity to serve the needs of the department.       

Sincerely,

Chad Horne
 
Rosenbauer America

 

It has come to my attention that Freightliner has sent a response letter to Joe Hester, President of the Glendale Fire Union. Included in the letter is Freightliner’s assertion that the extended cab and Thelma brake system were indeed included in their bid at a cost far less ($422,000) than the $484,000 E-One truck for which the fire department was seeking approval from the city council.

So what’s going on? Hester said the following in his op-ed piece, “The truck Freightliner submitted to GFD for evaluation was not the extruded body cab used by our city and every other Valley fire department.” He went on to say, “The other key difference? The vehicle’s braking system.” Apparently these items were indeed included in Freightliner’s bid.

Was Joe Hester misinformed by one of his own people about the Freightliner bid? Did he not check Freightliner’s bid himself before he wrote his op-ed piece? Or is he deliberately attempting to confuse the issue and the apparent fact that the bid process was flawed?

As soon as I obtain the documents from Freightliner I will post them here for all to see – I suspect they will not be difficult to get.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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