Council Agenda Item #36 – SAFER Grant

fire-rescueFom: Mark Schaefer [mailto:mark@mark-schaefer.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 8:22 AM
To: Kisela, Greg
Cc: Bob Ford; Kennedy, Dennis; Burnette, Don; Bastian, Drew; Roberts, Margaret; Green, Allen; Fenwick, Robin
Subject: Agenda Item 36 – SAFER Grant

Manager Kisela,
I have a few questions and document requests that relate to agenda item 36.
Item 36 – SAFER Grant adding three new firefighters

  1. At the August 27, 2013 City Council meeting, the Fire Department committed to an annual savings of $175,000.00 in overtime if these three new firefighters were added to staffing.
  2. Could I get a copy of the report or document that Port Orange uses to monitor overtime now? I believe that the Mayor indicated that such a report or document may exist.
  3. If there is no monthly detailed report to monitor employee overtime, I ask that City Council attach a requirement to this approval which would provide that the finance staff prepares a detailed monthly overtime report by employee so that the cost savings can be calculated and monitored on a monthly base. This report should not be for just public safety, but for all City employees.
  4. The SAFER grant will not cover all of the costs for the three new firefighters. I think it would be beneficial to understand the dollar amount of additional costs that the City will bear as a result of hiring three new firefighters.
  5. The un-official comment by the City Manager is that overtime increased with the additional of the seven or nine firefighters that the City hired approximately one year ago. I think it would be beneficial to have a report on how much overtime did increase over the past twelve months. The Fire Department request for additional staff approximately one year ago indicated that overtime would be reduced by hiring additional firefighters.

Thanks,
Mark Schaefer
Precinct 709
3606 Donna Street
Port Orange, Florida 32129
386-316-1206


From: Kisela, Greg
Sent: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:47 AM
To: Monahan, Gerald; Burgman, Kenneth; Weir, Chris
Cc: Saunders, Wayne
Subject: FW: Agenda Item 36 – SAFER Grant

 
Gentlemen: See questions from Mark Schaefer on SAFER grant issues. Can you provide responses to these questions?
Greg Kisela
City Manager


FW: Agenda Item 36 – SAFER Grant September 17, 2013 4:18 PM
From:
“Gerald Monahan” <geraldm@port-orange.org>
To: “Greg Kisela” <gkisela@port-orange.org>

Greg,
Item 36 – SAFER Grant adding three new firefighters

  1. At the August 27, 2013 City Council meeting, the Fire Department committed to an annual savings of $175,000.00 in overtime if these three new firefighters were added to staffing.
  1. First it is a goal to save as much as $175,000 but, realistically, an ideal approximate 50%-60% savings of the overtime costs by adding one additional FTE per shift or about $130,000. To date Fire-Rescue has realized approximately $260,000 in overtime costs in this fiscal period. This is due to vacancies and the filling of those positions thereof, and long termed illnesses/injuries of a few individuals. A & B shifts are staffed with 17 Firefighters and 1 Battalion Chief and C shift is staffed at 16 Firefighters and 1 Battalion Chief. The vacancy on C shift will be filled soon TBA. The goal of SAFER was predicated on variables such as 100% staffing, reduction of job injuries, FMLA, or any long termed illness that will keep a firefighter out on leave for a period of time. Thus, leaving a position vacant until that individual is cleared for a full return to duty.

As was mentioned currently, the SAFER shift is a compliment of 19 (18 personnel and 1 Battalion Chief). The only exception that may occur from time to time may be the filling of a specialty assignment position, such as driver/paramedic or paramedic, when those available resources are unable to fill all ALS engines to maintain the required Advanced Life Support status.

  1. Typically a maximum of 2 firefighters may be off per shift, per the current collective bargaining agreement. Adding the SAFER position of , and maintaining 100% operational staffing for the next 2 years may, in all likelihood, prove to be an asset to reduce overtime costs by maintaining a minimum staff level to 3 FTEs assigned to all 5 stations (i.e. 2 vacation, 1 sick), or 15 per shift plus the battalion chief.
  1. Could I get a copy of the report or document that Port Orange uses to monitor overtime now? I believe that the Mayor indicated that such a report or document may exist. Lori Young maintains spreadsheets showing OT costs, she will be back tomorrow.
  2. If there is no monthly detailed report to monitor employee overtime, I ask that City Council attach a requirement to this approval which would provide that the finance staff prepares a detailed monthly overtime report by employee so that the cost savings can be calculated and monitored on a monthly base. This report should not be for just public safety, but for all City employees. See #2
  3. The SAFER grant will not cover all of the costs for the three new firefighters. I think it would be beneficial to understand the dollar amount of additional costs that the City will bear as a result of hiring three new firefighters.

SAFER grant award will cover full salary and benefits that fall under the normal payroll system for the 24 month program. SAFER does not cover costs associated with overtime, uniforms, physicals, protective clothing, or any costs for required, or any additional training/education for state recertifications. (Chief, Lori has the list of the costs)

  1. The un-official comment by the City Manager is that overtime increased with the additional of the seven or nine firefighters that the City hired approximately one year ago. I think it would be beneficial to have a report on how much overtime did increase over the past twelve months. The Fire Department request for additional staff approximately one year ago indicated that overtime would be reduced by hiring additional firefighters.

The additional firefighters originally hired a year ago were under-filling existing vacant positions temporarily in a Reserve capacity. Shortly after the contract was settled, they were hired in a full-time capacity. Prior to that hiring, each shift had less firefighters than minimum staffing required thus exacerbating the overtime issue. Even though all the existing vacancies were filled an element of overtime issue still exists.
Ongoing overtime costs have occurred because of several factors including the aforementioned workers compensation vacancies, long term illness and backfilling specialty positions even though a shift is at full strength but not staffed by all the paramedics or driver engineers required. It should also be noted that about eight months ago, minimum staffing went from 14 to 15. With seventeen (at full staff) total firefighter on a shift and vacation, illness etc, it does not take much to trip the minimum staffing overtime. Adding one more to each shift will help abate that situation. The extent of all this has had on the overtime situation will have to be computed by the Administrative Assistant who is off today.


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