From The Secretary
By Frank Kelly, Secretary

There have been several changes within the Department this past year. The most significant may be the Random On Duty Alcohol and Drug Policy. The Executive Board of Local 798 negotiated a fair and non-intrusive policy that we believe will have long term beneficial impact for the San Francisco Fire Department and our membership. Please read, familiarize yourself and be cognizant of the Random Drug & Alcohol Policy. Your rights to confidentiality and proper procedures of the Designated Collector are paramount. Notify the Fire Department Doctor if you have any questions about prescription drugs prescribed to you by your physician.

Secondly, the Department has initiated the long-awaited reconfiguration of the ill-fated initial reconfiguration, better known as the “Merger” or “EMESS”. We have all “been educated” on the process that led to “BROWN-OUTS” and finally Proposition “F”. Forgive me for the departure to “BROWN-OUTS” but if you attended City College you would know that “THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE.” The “merger” created a financial impact within the Fire Department that directly impacted operations.

The written exams for H3 Paramedics were held November 14th and 15th. The results of the exam have been established and approximately 220 candidates will take their physical agility test the first week of December.

Now, WE don’t control the purse strings, and the number of candidates hired is in the hands of the Department’s Administration, but it is refreshing to finally have a positive outlook toward the future of EMS and the San Francisco Fire Department. Significant relief for firefighters and firefighter paramedics who spend entirely too much time “ON THE BOX” won’t be achieved immediately, but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. Dynamically deployed single function ambulances will be in service by March or April of 2006. Expectations for increased “patient care”, as well as increased individual and Department morale will be guaranteed when we finally drive the stake into the heart of the 24-hour shift for ambulances.

Proposition “F”: Considering our numerous detractors may have been our greatest victory. These parents of misery (some from within our own ranks) who twisted and stretched the truth as though it were a piece of elastic, fooled few if any. San Francisco’s educated emancipated electorate concluded that public funds shall be allocated for “PUBLIC SAFETY”. The electorate mandated that their neighborhood firehouses remain open and fully staffed. Once again, Local 798 mobilized and coalesced with the community through neighborhood associations, bipartisan political affiliations, federal, state and local politicians, and labor organizations. It was broad based support and we extend our humble thanks to all of our friends.

You, the Membership, provided the impetus, support and dedication beginning more than a year ago with the Petition Drive. Our grassroots efforts traditionally earmarked by early morning precinct walks continues to elevate our status in spite of President Hanley’s penchant for his garbage can fires.

Diligence from our newly formed platoon of dynamic yet humble orators canvassed the City seeking out every neighborhood and political organization. Sometimes speaking before a handful of voters, they got our message out… “IT’S ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY”. Thank you to the entire membership.

Ending 2005 on a positive note can only inspire us that the future will bring more of the same.

I understand there are rumblings from 698 Second Street to meet and discuss rules and regulations for a merit based promotional system. I am reminded of General Electric Corporation whose slogan during the 1950’s was “PROGRESS IS OUR MOST IMPORTANT PRODUCT”. Local 798’s door will always be open to “PROGRESS”.


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