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Thread: New York City May Close Fire Companies

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    New York City May Close Fire Companies

    New York City May Close Fire Companies
    Facing Budget Issues, Up to 25 More May Only Be Staffed During Certain Hours


    DAVE J. IANNONE
    Firehouse.com News

    The City of New York, facing its worst fiscal crisis in two decades, is considering closing up to eight fire companies and cutting back or eliminating staffing at two dozen more at certain times of the day, sources confirmed Tuesday night.

    Rumors of such a move have been discussed in the city's firehouses for several weeks.

    According to several sources, the city has asked the Fire Department to come up with ways to save on its budget. The potential cuts come a week after the department was forced to postpone the start of its next recruit class of about 300 new firefighters. That move was expected to save city coffers over $1.5 million a month.

    David Billig, FDNY spokesman said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta has to come back to the mayor very soon with ways to cut the fire department budget.

    "There has been talk that it may be necessary to close firehouses. Nothing had been set in stone," Billig said. "I just want to reiterate because it is very important, that it is just part of discussions at this point."

    The reallocation of personnel calls for closing eight fire companies entirely. At least another two dozen stations could potentially suffer reduced staffing and no staffing at certain hours.

    One of the plans under discussion would remove staffing entirely from 25 companies between midnight and 9 a.m. Those companies would be staffed during the day, and another company would be relocated there between 6 p.m. and Midnight, sources said.

    The potential plan, which an FDNY spokesperson called "kitchen talk rumors", was confirmed by several highly-placed FDNY sources.

    "Whats odd is that they're talking about cutting back the staffing at those other stations at night when the fire potential is actually the greatest," one official said.

    Two sources confirmed department leadership has asked chiefs and borough commanders to come up with a list of companies for possible closure.

    "Decisions have not been made, but everyone is buzzing about it at the same time," a source said. "They haven't implemented it, and its not certain when and if [any staffing plan] will be [implemented]."

    The source stressed the budget woes were being felt city wide and it was city hall, not fire department, leaders who were demanding the cut back options.

    On his weekly radio show last Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city was working to avoid closing firehouses.

    "I don't think we're going to close firehouses, I'm going to try like heck not to, I've said repeatedly," he said. "I going to try like heck to-anybody we lose from the municipal workforce, have them early retirement, or severance packages, or that sort of thing-you want to have the workforce."

    The city is still in contract negotiations with the firefighters, who have long demanded the equal pay of their law enforcement comrades. A rally of several thousand firefighters took place in Central Park the day before the FDNY Memorial Service two weeks ago.

    "Anybody that thinks that they're going to get raises in the future without any productivity enhancements, there just isn't any money," Bloomberg said. "It isn't whether you want to or not, it's different. Today you can't."

    Firehouse.com's Lon Slepicka contributed to this report

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    What????

    Words fail me...

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    8 Fire Companies Are at Risk Under Proposal to Cut Budget

    8 Fire Companies Are at Risk Under Proposal to Cut Budget
    By MICHELLE O'DONNELL


    Eight fire companies would be disbanded to reduce the Fire Department budget by almost $10.5 million, according to a list of proposed budget cuts presented to the Bloomberg administration this week, city officials said yesterday.

    It is not clear whether the administration, which is looking for cuts of $75 million, will be satisfied with the proposal, which totals $44 million in reductions. A spokesman did not return telephone calls last night.

    The administration has asked each city agency to come up with a list totaling 7.5 percent of its budget to close a projected $5 billion gap in the city's budget for next year.

    Although officials have discussed the possible closing of two dozen firehouses at night, that measure was not part of the most recent list under consideration.

    Among the companies being discussed for possible closing are Engine Companies 35 and 36, which are two blocks apart in East Harlem. Only one would be eliminated.

    "No decision has been made at this time," said Francis X. Gribbon, a department spokesman. Department officials say that negotiations are continuing.

    "Right now it's just a persistent rumor," said a firefighter from one of the companies, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We're always the last to know."

    While the disbanding of fire companies would be the source of much of the department's savings and, likely, the most contested cuts, some of the other cuts under consideration represent deep reductions for the department.

    Fire officials are proposing to eliminate the fifth firefighter from 49 engine companies, which they believe will save $10 million.

    The department is also proposing to eliminate its cadet program, which grooms recruits for the department academy, for a savings of $800,000. Only two years ago, fire officials hailed the program for bringing more women and minorities into the department as it struggled to diversify its ranks.

    Another suggestion is a freeze on the hiring of civilians, which would save $8 million.

    On the revenue side, department officials have proposed an increase in the number of fire inspections they perform, to raise $2.6 million. There is a fee for fire inspections, which also can yield a fine if a fire code violation is discovered. Officials have also proposed an end to the inspection fee waivers the department grants to educational and religious institutions, which would add about $3 million in revenue.




    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/08/nyregion/08FIRE.html

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    Deadly time to shut firehouses

    Deadly time to shut firehouses

    Fewer blazes, more deaths during the night

    By ALICE McQUILLAN and GREG GITTRICH
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS


    A city proposal to close 25 firehouses overnight would take firefighters off duty during the hours when most deadly blazes occur, the Daily News has learned.
    Last year, nighttime fires claimed 82 of the 101 civilian fire victims throughout the city. The year before, 87 of the 125 people killed in fires died between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m.

    "A bean counter looks at fire activity and sees there are more fires, more emergencies during the day," said Capt. Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. "But your most critical and life-threatening fires take place when people are sleeping."

    After a week of inquiries by the Daily News and fierce behind-the-scenes debate among fire officials, the overnight closure proposal was taken off the table yesterday

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    As Closings Loom, Firefighters Try to Rally Neighbors

    NY Times 11/17/02
    As Closings Loom, Firefighters Try to Rally Neighbors
    By MICHELLE O'DONNELL

    n East Harlem, posters have been taped to the door of the 19th-century red-stone firehouse that is home to Engine Company 36. Political leaders from Representative Charles B. Rangel to the Rev. Al Sharpton have been called. Fliers have been handed out. Firefighters have been facing the media, somber and indignant.

    Engine Company 36 on 125th Street near Lexington Avenue is one of eight firehouses slated for closing in the next few weeks as part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's budget cuts. The closings would mean a reduction of $10.8 million in the Fire Department's budget, which is being cut over all by $51 million.

    The specter of closings has prompted the return of a ritual of lean budget years: rallying to keep fire companies open. In the past, firefighters and community groups have had moderate success with these tactics. Even during the city's financial troubles of the 1970's, community protests led to the reopening of several firehouses that had been closed.

    The situation is somewhat different this year, however. The number of fires that Engine 36 and other companies fight today is a fraction of what it was in the 1970's. Just two blocks from Engine 36 is Engine 35, which could respond to Engine 36's emergencies, officials say.

    Critics of the cuts say that the safety of both civilians and firefighters will be at risk because response times will increase.

    "If you were in respiratory distress, would you want me to be there a minute later?" said Dan Shortwell, a firefighter with Engine 36.

    This question is being asked across the city in neighborhoods where plans call for fire companies to close. Brooklyn would lose five companies: Engine 204 in Cobble Hill, Engine 212 in Greenpoint, Engine 278 in Sunset Park, Engine 209 in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Squad 252 in Bushwick. In Queens, Engine 293 in Woodhaven and Engine 261 in Long Island City would close. Only Engine 36 has been named in Manhattan, although Squad 252 would replace a Midtown engine company that has not yet been identified.

    In Cobble Hill, firefighters said that closing Engine 204 on Degraw Street could increase response time. "Minutes are everything when it comes to fire," said Firefighter Thomas Westhoff of Engine 204. "Smoke's what kills you, not the fire."

    Other savings for the Fire Department will be achieved with a civilian hiring freeze, a reduction in the number of fire marshals, and the reduction of ambulance tours of duty. The department will also reduce the staffing of engines from five to four firefighters, saving $12 million. While the department maintains that none of its cuts will affect safety, firefighters say reducing the numbers could delay getting water on a fire.

    On engines with five firefighters, four are assigned to stretch a hose into a building while another operates the hydrant. When staffing is reduced, the three hose operators must wait for another engine company to arrive before the hose can be stretched into the building.

    At Engine 36 in East Harlem, with a team of about 50 and a five-firefighter engine, the mood was low on Friday as the company considered its options, which included a petition drive and a meeting with community leaders. A few weeks ago, while rumors of closing circulated through the department, firefighters thought the historic pedigree of their firehouse might spare them.

    The firehouse, designed by the architect Nicholas LeBrun in 1888, has silently witnessed the neighborhood's continuous transformation over the past century. Early generations of its firefighters lived nearby and would dash home for meals. A spiral staircase in the back of the house was installed to prevent the horses that once pulled the engines from running up into the hayloft.

    Calvin Hunt, a neighborhood advocate, stationed himself outside the firehouse in the rain yesterday to solicit signatures on a petition to keep the firehouse open.

    "Harlem is up and coming with all these buildings going up," he said, gesturing toward two new stores a block or two away. "Why close a house that's a landmark? That's like trying to close down the Statue of Liberty."

    The duties of engine companies have broadened over the years from extinguishing fires to attending to emergency medical calls and performing building inspections. In 2000, Engine 36 responded to 2,845 emergency calls, 690 of them medical emergencies. Among the 203 engine companies citywide that year, it ranked 88th in the number of emergencies to which it responded.

    Fire officials said that while basic services like building inspections might be affected, they did not expect the closing of Engine 36 and the other companies to affect the safety of civilians or firefighters. And they said that firefighters would not lose their jobs, but would be transferred to other companies.

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    Plan protests at firehouses

    Plan protests at firehouses

    Targets of Bloomy budget ax

    By DONALD BERTRAND
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER


    Rallies are planned this weekend outside the two Queens firehouses targeted under Mayor Bloomberg's plan to slash city services to combat a $7.5 billion budget deficit over the next 20 months.

    A rally is scheduled at Woodhaven's Engine Co. 293 at noon Saturday.

    The firehouse, on 87th St. a few blocks west of Woodhaven Blvd., would be closed under the mayor's plan.

    Engine 261, which shares its quarters with Ladder Co. 116 on 29th St. and 37th Ave. in the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City, also is scheduled to be axed.

    The Woodhaven Residents' Block Association also has started a petition drive to keep its firehouse open.

    "This engine company is important to Woodhaven and the surrounding communities because of our wood-frame homes and stores," said Maria Thompson of the group.

    Carol Wilkins, president of the Ravenswood Houses Resident Association, said, "I think this is terrible. It is important that we have this protection.

    "I can't understand why they would even think to close down that engine company. We have a very large community here."

    Councilman Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) is spearheading the Woodhaven rally.

    "This is not quality of life we're talking about, this is the lives of our residents that will be put in jeopardy should the Woodhaven firehouse be closed," he said.

    Addabbo said that in 1991, Mayor David Dinkins closed Engine 294 in nearby Richmond Hill but agreed to reopen it after two brothers died a week later in a nearby house blaze.

    "The board [Community Board 9] is very much opposed to it," said Mary Ann Carey, district manager. "Woodhaven is a type of a community where the homes are very close together. You have many frame homes and many multilevel homes."

    "What we have to be careful about here is that we are not balancing the budget on the backs of the New Yorkers most in need," said Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Long Island City).

    "To close this firehouse [Engine 261], that predominantly serves working families, including those in public housing, is really something that I urge a second look at," said Gioia.

    Scrutinize the cuts

    A weekend rally is planned outside the Long Island City firehouse, but the day and time have not yet been set, said Gioia.

    "No one is happy," said Dan Andrews, spokesman for Borough President Helen Marshal. "We realize that the mayor is in a tough spot and so is the state, but the borough president wants the cuts scrutinized very closely to make sure that we are not being penny wise and pound foolish."

    "We have concerns about response times. We have the highest average time to all emergencies of any borough. That time is a full five minutes flat," said Andrews.

    Originally published on November 21, 2002



    http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/...3p-35068c.html

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    Thumbs up������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 8 firehouses safe, but property tax up 18%

    8 firehouses safe, but property tax up 18%

    Budget deal restores $50M knifed earlier

    By MICHAEL SAUL
    DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU


    Protesters march in support of their firehouse at Engine Co. 36 on 125th St. in Harlem.

    The City Council reached a deal with Mayor Bloomberg yesterday that raises property tax rates by 18%, restores nearly $50 million in proposed service cuts and forestalls the closing of eight firehouses.

    The tax hike - believed to be the largest of its kind in city history - falls short of the 25% that Bloomberg had sought.

    The restored service cuts include $1.5 million to libraries, $2.5 million to maintain 37 daily ambulance shifts and $885,000 to continue providing weekend take-home meals for the elderly.

    Under the Bloomberg-City Council deal, a blue-ribbon commission will be formed to determine how best to slash $2.5 million from the Fire Department - and no firehouses will be shuttered until the commission files its report.

    Council Speaker Gifford Miller announced the "agreement in principle" late yesterday afternoon following a rare Saturday meeting with the Council's Democratic members. The deal comes nine days after Bloomberg unveiled his plan to combat a $1.1 billion shortfall this fiscal year and a $6.4 billion deficit next year.

    The Council is expected to vote on the deal either tomorrow or Tuesday. The tax hike would be effective Jan. 1, and property owners should expect to see bills with the new rate as early as next month.

    The size of the tax increase was first disclosed last week in a Daily News report that said the hike would be 17% to 18%.

    Miller called the higher taxes and spending cuts a "painful measure" for "difficult times." He said the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the national recession led to the "worst fiscal crisis" in city history.

    "We believe that this property tax increase is the lowest that we can go while still protecting the residents of the City of New York, addressing the budget gap and being able to freeze this rate and hold it there," Miller said.

    Jordan Barowitz, a Bloomberg spokesman, said, "We are pleased the City Council recognizes the severity of the fiscal situation and is willing to take the actions necessary to close the budget deficit."

    An administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Bloomberg sought a 25% property tax increase as a negotiating tactic with the hope of getting 20%. "We got done what we needed to get done," the official said.

    With an 18% increase, the average homeowner's tax bill will go up by about $340 a year. It would cost the average co-op owner an extra $483 per year, and the average condominium owner $788 more annually.

    The 18% property tax hike - the first in a decade - will generate roughly $840 million this fiscal year and $1.7 billion next year.

    As part of the deal, Miller said, the administration agreed to pursue legislation in Albany that would impose an absentee landlord surcharge. The Council plans to use the revenue generated from the surcharge to lessen the sting of the tax hike on fixed-income seniors.

    Outrage

    The deal prompted swift and strong criticism from the real estate and business communities.

    "The tax increase they agreed to today will have a profound impact on the economic well-being of the city," said John Doyle, executive vice president for government affairs of the Real Estate Board of New York. "They've done it behind closed doors - it's a pity."

    Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the New York City Partnership, said the tax increase is bad news for city business.

    "New York City is already the highest tax city in the country," Wylde said. "Businesses will be cutting back in every area, and if they can move out of the city to a lower tax environment, they will do that."

    Bloomberg also is battling the state Legislature to permit the city to impose the city's income tax on people who work in the city but live outside it.

    If he gets his way, the mayor would then lower the income tax rate - giving New Yorkers a bit of a break.

    As for Bloomberg's slash-and-burn proposal to cut city expenses, Council members said they were very pleased the mayor agreed to restore roughly $50 million of the proposed cuts.

    To pay for the restorations, the Council came up with an equivalent amount of substitute cuts. They include, among other measures, readjusting the city's debt service formula and altering expense projections for heat and electricity.

    The proposed closing of 30 senior centers, another red-flag issue, will be debated over the next several months, aides said. None of the centers is scheduled to close before July.

    Originally published on November 24, 2002



    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/stor...0p-36006c.html

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    Official Says Plans to Close Firehouses Must Proceed

    Official Says Plans to Close Firehouses Must Proceed
    By DIANE CARDWELL


    The city will have to go ahead with plans to close several firehouses, Deputy Mayor Marc V. Shaw said yesterday, calling an agreement to set up a commission to study the issue a "political punt."

    Mr. Shaw, second-in-command in the Bloomberg administration, also said that the Fire Department was rife with inefficiency and that its culture and that of the city's political establishment would have to change if an enduring remedy for many of its fiscal problems were to be found.

    As an example, Mr. Shaw said that the administration's plan to close eight firehouses had been met with so much political opposition that it had to be dropped temporarily not long after it was announced, even though government officials realized the closings would be necessary.

    "We punted on it at the end of the day," he said. "While we all agree we're still going to have to do it, we are going to set up a blue-ribbon panel to figure out exactly which ones to do to make sure that we do the right thing here. But the truth is that it was also a political punt."

    Mr. Shaw, normally a man of very few words, made his comments at a session on restructuring government at the annual budget conference of the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonpartisan research group supported by businesses. Although most public figures have shied away from criticizing the city's uniformed departments in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in which 343 city firefighters died, Mr. Shaw seemed to come after both the Fire and Police Departments with guns blazing yesterday.

    "The fire department is a place where every efficiency that's been done I think in the last 20, 30 years has been a total failure," he said. "In response to past failures, the prior administration decided, `Well, since we can't get these guys to be any more productive in fighting fires, since they only fight fires 5 percent of the time

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    Critics of firehouse panel fearful that the fix is in

    Critics of firehouse panel fearful that the fix is in

    By ALICE McQUILLAN
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    Insults have been flying over the role of a mayoral commission set to review the proposed shutting of eight firehouses even before the panel has been named.

    The firehouse closings were postponed last month in an eleventh-hour move by Mayor Bloomberg, who agreed to appoint a commission to study the cuts.

    That raised the hopes of firefighters and community leaders in neighborhoods opposed to the closings.

    Then Deputy Mayor Marc Shaw said firefighters spend 95% of their time hanging out, bluntly called the panel a "political punt" and made it clear that some closings were inevitable.

    Union officials say his strong words undercut the panel, which will be headed by Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and include three fire chiefs, as well as two appointees each from the mayor and the City Council.

    "How can it be an honest attempt to save the firehouses when Shaw says they have to close before the panel is even named?" asked Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.

    FDNY officials fret that the panel will second-guess the expertise of fire chiefs who used response times and proximity to other houses to choose eight companies to be shuttered. The department said these closings won't put the public at risk - a stance the unions scoff at.

    The companies on the hit list include five in Brooklyn: Engine 204 in Cobble Hill, 212 in Greenpoint, 278 in Sunset Park, 209 in Bedford-Stuyvesant and transfer of squad 252 to Manhattan from Bushwick; Engine 36 in East Harlem; and Engine 261 in Astoria, Queens, and 293 in Woodhaven, Queens.

    These eight closings represent $10.8 million in savings - about a quarter of the $42 million the FDNY has been ordered to slash. The more than 200 firefighters in these eight companies will go to other houses.

    Nearly 93% of the FDNY's $1.1 billion operating budget pays salaries and benefits, so budget cuts of any magnitude are bound to hit personnel, experts say.

    "When you are trying to cut, there's not a lot of places to look," said Glenn Corbett, assistant professor of fire science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

    However, fire union officials believe there are other, less risky cuts, such as paring administrative, bureaucratic and executive costs, which account for $57 million of the FDNY's budget.

    Originally published on December 16, 2002



    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/stor...8p-41282c.html

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    Firehouse cuts steam

    Firehouse cuts steam

    Council City budget czar backs move

    By FRANK LOMBARDI
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    The prospect of shutting down eight firehouses around the city was raised yesterday by city Budget Director Mark Page.
    Testifying at the kickoff of City Council budget hearings, Page sparred with Councilman Bill de Blasio (D-Park Slope) over the recently created Fire Company Closing Review Commission.

    That seven-member panel was created as part of a budget deal with the City Council in November that temporarily halted Fire Department plans to close two houses in Manhattan, four in Brooklyn and two in Queens. The closings would have saved $12 million a year.

    Members of the commission were named last month and directed to report to the mayor by March 21.

    De Blasio insisted yesterday that it was the Council's understanding that the panel's mission was to be a broad one that included reviewing the Fire Department's entire $1.1 billion budget for possible savings or cuts, and not just focusing on closing firehouses.

    But Page was equally adamant that the panel had a limited mandate.

    "The charge to this commission is, in fact, to determine where it would be possible to close firehouses, or where it would be least damaging to close firehouses," Page told de Blasio.

    Echoing the argument of fire unions, de Blasio said there is strong public sentiment that closing firehouses would add to a delay in response time by firefighters "that could be deadly."

    But Page retorted, "It's our belief that there are houses that could be closed without having that effect in response time. In fact, having virtually no effect on response time."

    3.4B budget gap

    After the hearing, which focused on the city's plan to eliminate a $3.4 billion gap in the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, other councilmembers also expressed chagrin over Page's stance on firehouse closings.

    "I was shocked to hear him define the commission's role as to more or less close firehouses," said Councilman Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan), the deputy majority leader. "We negotiated in good faith for a commission to hopefully keep firehouses open, not to explicitly close them."

    Perkins said the commission Page described is drawing up a closing plan. "The questions for them is how many, where and the timing."

    The tough stance taken by the Bloomberg administration on firehouse closings was seen by some Council insiders as a bargaining ploy, but the mayor has made it clear that the city's huge deficit will leave little room for give-and-take negotiations this time.

    Originally published on March 5, 2003


    http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/...6p-60037c.html

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    But Page retorted, "It's our belief that there are houses that could be closed without having that effect in response time. In fact, having virtually no effect on response time."
    Two things here....

    First, the 'belief'. Notice it is not "our expert opinion", or "we know for a fact". What does a Budget Director do? They manage money. They don't manage lives, or safety. Beware.


    Second..... "no effect on response time".
    This might actually be true, on paper. You could probably close some firehouses without hurting response time. But, you will most definitely deminish effectiveness.

    The reason? It's not just ONE company that responds. It's a whole team of companies. 3 engines, 2 trucks. Sure, that first company might get there just as fast. But, they really can't do much till the rest of the 'team' gets there.

    As per current procedures (due to staffing cuts in the Eighties where extra firefighters were REMOVED from engine companies), it is required to have TWO Engine companies to advance a line in a fire. The budget people stated at that time that the response times were close enough that there would not be much of a delay.

    [side note: controlled tests run by the Fire Department clearly showed that this was not the case, and that 4 firefighters stretching a line into a fire was tremedously quicker and more effecient than 3. But, the department and the budget bean counters ignored the tests and make the cuts anyway.]

    Now.... you close firehouses, that extra Engine company is likely to be coming from further away. Which will delay the stretching of the line. Soooooo, though firefighters will be there 'just as quick', they will be standing around waiting for the other companies to come in. Or they should, for safety's sake. But, Firefighters are loyal to one rule.... and that is to get the job done, regardless of resources. So, they will attempt to advance the line without proper backup and staffing. This leads to unsafe conditions for the firefighters. Can anyone say "accident and lawsuit waiting to happen"?

    Imagine you are in that burning house, waiting for help. And you see that Engine company pull up quickly. "Wow, that was quick. I quess it WAS ok to close firehouses," you think to yourself. And as you watch out the window, cowering from the heat, choking on the smoke, you wonder why it is taking so long. "Where are they? Where's the water? They should be here by now. They've been here hours already" (since, during stress and carbon monoxide poisoning, time seems gets distorted, and the extra minute feels like 10 minutes).

    You try to look out the window, through the darkening smoke, and you see a couple of firefighters stretching a line. You even see some neighbors helping out. (injury and lawsuit waiting to happen). But, they still aren't there yet. And, as you slump down on the floor, hoping they find you in time, the last thing you think of is...... "maybe we shouldn't have cut the budget on our safety".

    Sleep well bean counters..... Because you probably won't sleep that well after someone get hurt or killed, and you are PERSONALLY sued for being responsible for the cuts. I'm sure there are some lawyers who will go after you.

    If CEO's of corporations are held personally liable for their fiscal responsibility, wouldn't it make sense that, since the City is a 'Corporation', then the Budget Directors should be personally liable?

    During a financial crisis, cut the Arts, not Safety. Nothing against the Arts, but in an emergency, what is our first priority.... Life or Property? Sorry if the Public Safety people don't contribute as much money to campaigns. Life or Property? Choose, and be responsible for your choice.

    Brian

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    Firehouses May Be Saved By The Sell

    FIREHOUSES MAY BE SAVED BY THE SELL

    By DAVID SEIFMAN


    March 8, 2003 -- Hook and ladder symbols adorning city firehouses may soon be supplemented by some much better-known logos - such as Nike.

    Sources said the Bloomberg administration is studying a proposal put forward by the firefighters' union to sell corporate sponsorship rights to firehouses.

    "I've been talking to the mayor's office about this since January," said Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

    "It can work. I've talked to a dozen corporations and have gotten nothing but a positive response. I'm just waiting for [the mayor's office] to give me the OK to go forward."

    One insider said one of the issues being debated is whether city government should seek corporate subsidies for such an essential service as firefighting.

    But City Council members said yesterday to count them in if sponsors will help stave off firehouse closings.

    "It's not revolutionary," said Council Speaker Gifford Miller.

    "We have, currently, adopt-a-highway. Why not adopt a firehouse? Certainly, firehouses seem to be more attractive adoption prospects than a lot of our highways."

    Miller said he thought the city could generate $1.6 million a year for three years just for the eight fire companies that the administration has proposed shuttering.

    There are 203 engine companies and 143 ladder companies citywide.

    One insider involved in the sponsorship proposal said it obviously would have to be done in good taste and should be viewed as "a commitment to New York City post-9/11."

    Councilman Bill de Blasio (D-Brooklyn), who faces the loss of Engine 204 in his Park Slope district, endorsed corporate sponsorships as a better alternative than firehouse closings.

    "Corporate sponsorship is a good fallback if all else fails," said de Blasio.



    http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/31821.htm

  13. #13
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Adopt-a-firehouse plan could net cool million

    Adopt-a-firehouse plan could net cool million

    By FRANK LOMBARDI
    DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU

    Instead of closing firehouses, the City Council wants to put them up for adoption by corporate sponsors.

    The proposal was made yesterday as part of a new Council plan to save $13.5 million a year in the Fire Department's budget and avert the threatened closings of eight firehouses.

    Corporations or individuals would pay up to $200,000 a year for each firehouse in return for naming rights or other privileges, according to Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan). Adopting eight firehouses - the threatened ones or others - could raise $1.6 million a year, he estimated.

    The adopt-a-firehouse idea came from Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, who said he has discussed it with aides to Mayor Bloomberg for two months.

    Cassidy, who didn't participate in Miller's news conference on the Council plan, said he expects a mayoral go-ahead soon. He also said he has spoken with several corporations eager to participate.

    "Given the fact of what happened to New York and the sacrifices made by firefighters, I think there are a lot of sponsors who would be willing to step up and help us," Cassidy said, referring to the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

    The budget-strapped Bloomberg administration has proposed closing eight firehouses to save $10.8 million in the FDNY budget.

    The Council's plan also calls for saving $3 million a year in overtime costs by hiring 100 firefighters; using private collection agencies to increase the collection of Emergency Medical Service ambulance bills by $5 million a year, and reducing the FDNY's civilian employees by 5% through redeployment and attrition to save $3.9 million.

    Originally published on March 8, 2003



    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/loca...0p-60974c.html

  14. #14
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    Mike douses idea of private backers for FDNY

    Mike douses idea of private backers for FDNY

    By LISA L. COLANGELO
    DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU

    Corporate sponsorships are not the answer to saving eight city firehouses on the budget chopping block, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday.

    "The private sector doesn't have the money to support all the city functions," Bloomberg said. "And if you save these eight, what do you do with the next eight?"

    Bloomberg took a swipe at City Council members who released the proposal last week as part of a plan to save $13.5million from the Fire Department's budget.

    "The City Council thing was just done just to get a little publicity," Bloomberg said.

    The city has proposed closing eight firehouses to help narrow a $3.4 billion budget gap. That plan is under review by a blue-ribbon panel.

    Under the Council's proposal, corporations or individuals could pay as much as $200,000 a year for each firehouse in return for naming rights or other privileges. But Bloomberg said the corporate sponsorship idea may be fraught with legal problems.

    Adam Brecht, a Manhattan public relations executive, said yesterday he hopes to raise $10 million over the next four weeks through his nonprofit group Keep NYC's Firehouses Open.

    Meanwhile, Council members Diana Reyna (D-Brooklyn) and David Yassky (D-Brooklyn) rallied outside Engine 212 in Brooklyn with Borough President Marty Markowitz and people from the Williamsburg neighborhood.

    "There are people that would be willing to do a little extra to support the Fire Department," said Yassky.

    With Nicole Bode and Johnny Dwyer



    Originally published on March 10, 2003

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/loca...0p-61347c.html

  15. #15
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    FDNY Firefighters Rally at City Hall to Stop Firehouse Closings

    FDNY Firefighters Rally at City Hall to Stop Firehouse Closings



    Courtesy of ABC7

    The battle over closing city firehouses was being waged on the streets in front of City Hall Wednesday. Firefighters were out in force to to try and stop the city from closing down several firehouses as part of a cost cutting move.

    An estimated 500 firefighters lined a city block leading up to City Hall Wednesday afternoon. Many of them admit that the rally won't stop the city's plan to close firehouses, but they say they want the public to know how dangerous such a move could be.

    The rally was timely. As firefighters protested the cutbacks, city agencies were making their proposals on what cuts they planned to make.

    Kevin Walsh, FDNY: "It's my job and it's my life that's on the line. If there's less men doing the job, that means my life is in danger."

    To Mayor Michael Bloomberg it's just a question of math. We've heard it before: The city needs to close a $3.4 billion budget gap, and every agency must make cuts. Most city agencies face cuts of 9.5 percent, but FDNY has to cut 2.5 percent. Still, such a cut would mean firehouses, like Engine 36 in East Harlem, will have to close.

    John Hear, FDNY: "We're here for the community. We're not here for us. And every community deserves their fire protection."

    There are eight FDNY firehouses on the chopping block. Five of them are located in Brooklyn, two in Queens and one in Manhattan. Calvin Hunt lives in the Manhattan neighborhood that could lose it's firehouse. He is on a crusade to keep that from happening.

    Calvin Hunt, Neighborhood Advocate: "Buildings are going up at a record pace in Harlem. It's growing, growing, growing. How could you cut an engine company now? It's ridiculous. And it will not close. The people, these people here, will stand here and this will be the new 'people's firehouse' if it has to be like that. They will not close Engine 36... Over my dead body."

    In addition to the firefighters, some city council members turned out for Wednesday afternoon's rally. They say this is an issue of safety, not of money. The mayor's final report on cuts is expected next month.



    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...8&sectionId=46

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