THE VANNUCCHI PAPERS
|By Jim Vannucchi, Director|
Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction - John F. Kennedy
We won! In concert with the offices of the SAN FRANCISCO POLICE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION, we have prevailed at the polls with our initiative to address the inequities in our retirement benefits. The voting public of San Francisco recognized the need to retain highly trained police and fire personnel and by their vote they have exemplified their desire to place public safety at a priority.
To each member of LOCAL 798 who sacrificed time with their families, forfeited their days off, those who walked the precincts and staffed the phone banks, those who put what was right first, I wish to extend to you my deepest and most heartfelt thanks. Every member of the SFFD owes you a debt that
|can never be repaid.
Further, my thanks to Mayor Willie Brown, the entire Board of Supervisors, Chief Mario Trevino, and Chief Earl Sanders of the SFPD. These individuals did not hesitate one moment to support our cause.
And finally to our Campaign Coordinator, Dan Dunnigan. To date, his efforts on behalf of LOCAL 798 were truly the high-water mark of our political arm.
As would any entity with nothing to hide, LOCAL 798, without hesitation, welcomed the investigative actions of the CCSF City Attorneys Office as it pertained to a publication called THE SMOKEATERS GAZETTE.
Being the biggest target on the block, it came as no surprise that LOCAL 798, and/or its members, were alleged as being culpable for the publication of the GAZETTE. As a great deal of tension was being generated at all levels regarding the GAZETTE, and in an effort to exonerate LOCAL 798 and its members, the Executive Board was anxious to cooperate fully with agents from the City Attorney.
After many weeks, which turned into many months, LOCAL 798 made a formal request to the offices of the City Attorney for full disclosure of the investigation. In the wonderful spirit of mutual cooperation, the City Attorney responded by citing the Government Code as the authority to deem the report confidential and therefore unavailable to LOCAL 798. Yeah, that seems fair.
As a native San Franciscan, the World Series coming to The City was nothing less than dying and going to heaven. It was your first baseball glove, your first kiss, your first car, your first Christmas, and your first born all rolled up into one.
Once again, the SF GIANTS extended the honor of holding the colors at the start of game 4 to the SFFD. E-mail was sent to all work locations asking that any member wishing to participate in this event contact HQ. Within hours, I received a substantial number of calls from members in the field, distressed that they were unable to be considered for inclusion in the flag ceremony, and they wanted to know why. While watching the game on TV, the answer was quite obvious.
Apparently, a fair number of chief administrative officers from SFFD HQ felt that they were entitled to this honor before anybody from the field rank of H-30 down. These are the same officers who, except for one, never show up at a Blood Drive, who never show up to HELP at the Toy Program and who never lifted a finger on Prop. H. The same Officers who quite easily can afford the price of a Series ticket before an H-2 could even dream about it.
Perhaps they forgot who cleans the firehouse, cooks the meals, maintains the equipment, and who, the last time I was in the lobby of SFFD HQ sadly viewing that marble wall, dies at the fires. Perhaps I live too much in the past where words like duty and honor were a bit more than just words.
Every time I hear EMS I am catapulted back to a time when a nun or a priest could not or would not answer a question but placated the masses with the simple statement its a mystery. That is the rhetorical answer that has become EMS; a mystery.
Aside from the usual restructuring of fact from EMS administrators, I have nothing to report. Except, that the 2 Chief Officers responsible for the mess that we are now in are looking for employment elsewhere. Fascinating. Why would a winning manager leave a winning team? Maybe, because they arent winning.
My hat is off to those dedicated H-3s, who through administrative misrepresentation, forge ahead with a superior work product.
Where the heck is that diploma?!?! Where did I leave those CSFM certifications?!?! When are these due by?!?! How do you work this computer program?!?! Why I am doing this?!?!
Sound familiar? Then you adhered to the recent SFFD G.O. that outlined the criteria for provisional appointment. Quite explicitly, the G.O. delineated the selection process for appointment, extolling the merits of seniority, education, and time in rank. Could this be true? A level playing field? My God, Im in the hunt!
If you engaged in this process, then in all probability you engaged in the disappointment. With the exception of a deserving few, the selections baffled all, in stark contrast to what was promised by the G.O.
Aside from the years of promotional frustration, which, quite oddly, I have become accustomed to, it is the lack of clarity that has become confusing. The G.O. says one thing, yet another is done.
But most surprising, the internal document that governs the upward movement in the SFFD is totally ignored. To negate preferential treatment, COD Demmons developed and certified a manual entitled Career Tracking. Remarkably, a manual many of us adhered to with the blind dedication that touches all facets of our profession.
A Rose By Any Other Name
While the budget of the SFFD came under a vicious attack, it was surprising to learn that the payment made to the offices of Budget Analyst Harvey Rose by the CCSF to engage in that assault was $1,973,880.00 for the 2001-2002 Fiscal Year. Yes, almost 2 million dollars.
This fee encompassed a review of all CCSF Departments, yet 6,738.5 hours alone were spent on the SFFD. (For you non-rocket scientists like me, thats one person working a 40-hour week for 3.2 years) The bottom line of the audit was to cut services to the public that we serve by slashing the budget. Amusing. After the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989 and the terrorist attack on New York on 9-11-01, the auditors have learned nothing. If anything, the budget and services for public safety should be increased dramatically.
Funny. I believe that I could have accomplished far more, and for far less, if they gave me the budget for a day or two. I would have started with that maze at the Presidio and then, maybe, looked pretty hard at the correlation of the number of chief officers in administration versus the number of chief officers in the field on a daily basis. Without looking, who has more chiefs every day? The field or HQ? Guess correctly and you win the chance to be a budget analyst.
The holidays are upon us. A time for reflection, a time for thanks, a time for sharing, a time for family and friends, a time to recognize how good life has truly been to us.
End the year with a selfless act. Join LOCAL 798 December 18-20 at the Blood Bank, make a donation and toast the holidays.
May God bless you all. Merry Christmas.