Letter From The President
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At this writing, I’m sure all Firefighters in Local 798 are aware that we’ve presented, demonstrated, and given testimony before the Fire Commission on the positive attributes of adopting the CPAT.

On May 9, 2002, the Fire Commission (Paul Conroy, Stephen Nakajo, Pat Norman, Carlota del Portillo, Russell Roeca) voted unanimously to endorse the CPAT. The Fire Commission worked well beyond what was expected. They interviewed Firefighters, spent time analyzing the criteria, and voted with one mindset on what would be best for the SFFD. Commissioners all need to be thanked for this significant milestone; making such a bold and courageous commitment to excellence and safety. Their endorsement will enable us to adopt a national standard, which raises our level of safety and commitment to the citizens of San Francisco.

The same congratulations should go to our Chief, Mario Trevino. When the “nay sayers” within and outside our Department were challenging him and the Commission he stuck to his guns and stood up for the safety and public welfare for all SF Firefighters. Thank you Chief and Fire Commission for this significant enhancement in our history as a Fire Department.

Most recently you have voted in favor of giving the City a 2.75% of our pay to offset the financial crisis that we are in as a City, Fire Department and as a Nation. No labor union should be in the business of giving unless there is an emergency crisis beyond the control of management and labor. In this case there is a clear crisis starting with the murder of 343 Firefighters and thousands of civilians in New York and the Pentagon. We will all do what it takes to help with the war. Some of us have left the Firehouse and are at Special Forces Camps, or piloting planes, or have sons and daughters called up to active duty. By your vote you have stood up and said.. “Yes, we’ll help San Francisco get through this crisis!”

I attended a meeting with our paramedics and the Chief with his command staff on May 23. Naturally our paramedics are upset with the Fire Department because of the promises that were made to them when they transferred into the SFFD. Some of those promise... “You’ll be on an engine in 6 months” ... “You can bring your retirement over” ... “This will be a smooth transition”. The promise that I remember most is... “This merger will have no impact on the Firefighter”.

As the years pass by, its obvious to me that those involved at EMS haven’t really thought this merger through. You can publish documents and even have your thesis published in national trade journals, but when the tire hits the road, it’s how you’re performing in your job that matters; and the feeling I got from our paramedics at the May 23 meeting, is that they are not performing very well. Just as our EMS Chief has said for years... “A work in progress”.

The membership wants this to work and it will when our EMS staff takes the critical input solutions from the man or woman doing the actual work. I say spend less time coming up with the color and design of the EMS patch and spend more time on trying to make the EMS system “worker friendly”.

Chief Trevino is in a tough spot; he inherited the dilemma from three previous administrations. We have full confidence in the Chief that this merger can now be put to rest and our paramedics and firefighters will have input to make this another successful endeavor of the San Francisco Fire Department.

On a lighter note, Congratulations to Mike Cunnie at Station 14 and Mike Rolovich at Station 41. Brother Cunnie’s daughter followed in the footsteps of Mike’s wife Francine and has become an excellent athlete being named Player of the Year in softball in the MCAL. Brother Rolovich’ son Nick had a great football career at City College and topped that at the University of Hawaii. He has just signed on with a NFL football team as a quarterback. Nick also received his athletic ability from his wonderful mother Lori.

Keep in mind through the summer months what we’ll need to do in each of our individual commitments in November for the 3% at 55 to win.

In your prayers, remember Firefight-ers John Farrell and William Ferguson, two of our brothers who are recovering from serious injuries.

Be safe.
John Hanley


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