The Vannucchi Papers
By Jim Vannucchi, Director
“Solidarity is not a matter of sentiment but a fact, cold and impassive as the granite foundations of a skyscraper. If the basic elements, identity of interest, clarity of vision, honesty of intent, and oneness of purpose, or any of these is lacking, all sentimental pleas for solidarity, and all other pleas to achieve it will be barren of results.” - Eugene V. Debs


Just in case you’re wondering, yes there is a bull’s eye on our back, and yes, there is a knife sticking out of it. But here is the good part; it’s “our guy” that put it there.

If you have been following the latest attack(s) in the SF Chronicle and the Marin Independent Journal on the SFFD by outside sources as it pertains to hydrants, adapters and mutual aid, you will note that the so-called “expert” on the SFFD who initiated the negative comments was never a San Francisco Firefighter, has never fought a fire in San Francisco, and has probably never read page one of the SFFD Water Supply Manual. Yet he has assumed the posture that we are ill-prepared in the event of a major disaster and that we do not have the mechanisms in place to effectively utilize mutual aid.

Who is this “guy” you ask. Well, he is the former Director of the State Office of Emergency Services and an active adviser for the James Lee Witt Consulting Firm. But there is one other job title that needs to be brought to the table. He is also the current elected Secretary/Treasurer of the California Professional Firefighters (CPF). Yes, “our guy”. The number 2 man at CPF.

You may remember that organization. CPF is our state level union that is supposed to look out for our best interests in Sacramento and help us on the home front with political issues. For this honor, SFFF LOCAL 798 members send a per capita check to CPF each and every month for $23,000.00. Yes, you read right. $23,000.00 every month. $276,000.00 for the fiscal year.

Fascinating. “Our guy” has violated the most fundamental of union principals and has assaulted our membership and our ability to address any disaster in San Francisco in a very public forum. And just for good measure, a Chief Officer from Redwood City and a Chief Officer from San Diego were thrown in to the mix to give creditability to his negative comments. Just weeks before we go to the electorate. All while we are paying his salary.

“Our guy”. A good union man? You tell me.

By the way, we’re not the ones who ask for mutual aid. We give it.


It has been brought to the attention of the Union, that several companies, on a daily basis, were ordered to remain in service even thought their staffing levels fell far below the provisions of the MOU at 0800 hours.

LOCAL 798 voiced their objection over this practice as it blatantly compromised the safety of our firefighters, but more importantly, the public that we serve.

The issue was reviewed by the SFFD Administration who agreed with our position and as a result has authorized units to remain out-of-service until appropriately staffed as directed thru the chain of command at 0800 hours.


Further to the MOU, these offices have received a fair number of complaints that the practice that has been in place for hiring PM WDO’S was not being adhered to.

Once again LOCAL 798 expressed their disapproval of this digression from the MOU as it harbored an unfair environment for our members.

The matter was discussed with the SFFD Administration who was in agreement that the policy currently in place remains in effect. With the exception when staffing is “over”, the company that experiences the shortage in personnel that is unexpectantly created (i.e. D/P, S/P, etc.) will be given the first opportunity to recall an assigned member of the company in accordance with procedures that were previously developed between the SFFD and LOCAL 798.


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