FDAC F I R E D I S T R I C T S A S S O C I AT I O N O F C A L I F O R N I A
FDAC F I R E D I S T R I C T S A S S O C I AT I O N O F C A L I F O R N I A
2018 BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Steve Hall 1st Vice President Steve Kovacs 2nd Vice President Jim Comisky Immediate Past President Richard Pearce Treasure Eric Walder
FDAC STAFF Catherine Smith, Executive Director Carmen Berry, Account Coordinator David Blue Garrison, Communications Specialist Angelique Grellus, Account Assistant ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY Pexels, Pixabay and Stocksnap The purpose of this Association shall be: 1) to present a united position on fire protection issues; 2) to coordinate with other associations with similar views on fire protection including legislation; 3) to provide advisory services and any other services deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors that may benefit member agencies; 4) to keep member agencies informed on laws relating to fire suppression, emergency medical and other related services provided by member agencies; 5) to take an active role in the legislative process affecting public agencies providing fire suppression, emergency medical and related services. Thank you to all the authors in this issue for sharing with us their time and expertise. If you have an idea for a future article, please contact Carmen Berry at the FDAC office at email@example.com. Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of FDAC. For more information on FDAC or this magazine, please contact the FDAC office at 916.231.2137 or visit the website at www.fdac.org.
S T E V E N
H A L L
he New Year has arrived, and your Board has already hit the ground running in 2018! Over the past three weeks, three key meetings have been held in an attempt to move FDAC forward – to put the needs of our members on the front burner.
Fire Chief’s Chair Chief Jeff Carmen (Contra Costa), Chief David Rocha (Alameda County), and Fire Chief’s Tony Gossner (Santa Rosa) and Mark Lorenzen had the opportunity to meet with several Senators and Assembly Members in regards to California’s Fire Service, and the devastating events that have occurred over the past few months.
The first was to identify where we’ve been, where we are, and where we believe we need to be in the future regarding legislation, and our legislative advocate. Having used the same firm for many, many years, we wanted to ensure we were getting the best-bang-for-the buck from our advocate. From contractual costs to representation; from direct involvement with our legislators, to ensuring the needs of our members – those representing Fire Districts – with targeted legislation that directly effects each of us. This idea was in no way a reflection on what our long-time advocate firm has done with us, and for us in the past. As with other professional contracts, every once in a while we need to go shopping.
This meeting was facilitated through Russ Noack and our PPA team! Focusing on the Santa Rosa and Ventura County Fires, as well as the mud slides occurring in Southern California at the time of our meeting, each representative was sincerely engaged on how they can help us do our jobs better. From prepositioning apparatus and personnel, to Cap-and-Trade funding opportunities, each took an extended amount of time to hear our thoughts. I would personally like to thank the following individuals for listening:
With that, an RFP was drafted and sent out in later December on behalf of FDAC and our partner, Cal Chief’s. We received four proposals, including one from our current Leg advocate, Public Policy Advocates (PPA). After reviewing the proposals – each well written – it was determined by our Board that we stay with PPA for 2018. This decision was primarily based on the amount of legislation being moved forward during this session – so as not to change our representation mid-stream. We have not yet had the opportunity to meet with Russel Noack, and his team in person, but a meeting will be scheduled very soon with our legislative committee, and Cal Chief’s leg. Committee to discuss our expectations, now and in the future. If you have any questions or concerns about legislation that is, or could affect your District, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Chief Richard Pierce (Tiburon), Chief Jeff Willis (Big Bear), or myself for assistance.
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Senator Henry Stern Senator Bill Dodd Senator Mike McGuire Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson Assembly Member Brian Maienschein Assembly Member Jim Wood Assembly Member Ken Cooley Assembly Member Monique Limon Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin Rhys Williams, Chief of Staff and Chris Dombrowski, Chief Consultant – Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom’s office
Also, a big thank you to PPA for putting this together! The third meeting was held at OES Headquarters on Thursday, January 11th. The attendees at this meeting included OES Director Mark Gilarducci, Deputy Director Grace Koch, Fire & Rescue Chief Kim Zagaris, as well as California’s fire service leaders from each association, including Chief Mark Hartwig (President, Cal Chief’s), Chief Jeff Meston (President Elect, Cal Chief’s), Lou Paulson (President, CPF), Gene Gantt (CSFA) FDAC Vice President Steve Kovacs, and myself. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the opportunities associated with Cap-and-Trade Funding. As the meeting progressed, the conversation steered towards the recent devastation, loss of life, and our combined challenges with responding to these unprecedented incidents. At the end of the day, a theme was born – “Modernizing California’s Mutual Aid System”. It was agreed this topic needs to be looked at in detail in the very near future…more to follow!
The next meeting occurred on January 9th at I’m looking forward to seeing each of you at our Annual the State Capitol. Vice President Steve Kovacs Conference coming in April. (Scotts Valley) and I, along with Cal Chief’s President Mark Hartwig (San Bernardino), Metro Best-
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FIRE DISTRICTS ASSOCIATION OF CALIFORNIA Legislative Article
Russell W. Noack, Public Policy Advocates, LLC January 22, 2018
he second half of the 201718 Legislative Session has begun in earnest with fire service issues taking the spotlight. The massive scale of the Sonoma Complex Fires and Thomas Fire has not gone unnoticed at the State Capitol. In December, a joint legislative hearing was held to explore how effective the communication system worked in the Northern California fires in October and whether a statewide alert and warning system needs to be built. Two pieces of legislation, SB 821 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and SB 833 by Senator Mike McGuire, have already been introduced to address the emergency warning system. Coincidentally, the joint hearing took place on the eve of the commencement of the Thomas Fire in Ventura County. The timing of these two events has elevated the inquiry into the structure of and funding for the Mutual Aid System.
We have continued to communicate with these legislative leaders and they are carrying our message to Governor Brown. Moreover, Senator Dodd and his staff are consulting with us in planning a Senate Governmental Organization Committee hearing on how the Mutual Aid System operated during the recent fires. The hearing is going to be scheduled in early February.
In the second week of January FDAC leaders, along with other fire service associations, participated in a full day of briefing legislative leaders at the Capitol. These discussions will provide a foundation for the development of legislation important to the Fire Services this session and to promote funding opportunities flowing from the State’s Cap-and-Trade system.
The Governor’s 2018-19 expenditure plan for Cap-and-Trade is scheduled to be announced later this week. Additionally, CalFIRE has begun conducting workshops on 2017-18 Climate Change investment grant opportunities.
The other major legislative activity that occurred this month is the release of Governor Brown’s final State Budget. The Budget reflects the necessity of increasing funding for the recent catastrophic fires. The Budget includes increases in funds for wildfire response and recovery, General Fund monies to backfill the property tax revenue losses that cities, counties and special districts have suffered, and increased funding to modernize the State Emergency Telephone Number Account (SETNA).
Finally, January has seen the latest round of hearings stemming from the Ghost Ship Building Fire tragedy. The Chair of our Legislative Task Force presented testimony at a Senate Governance and Finance hearing focusing on “Presenting Solutions to Help Local Officials Avoid Another Ghost Ship Fire.” Information presented at the hearing is expected to provide the basis for the introduction of a legislative package to be authored by Senators Skinner and McGuire designed to improve substandard housing conditions in a manner that protects and preserves effective fire and life safety code enforcement.
CalPERS Board Adopts New Regulations Regarding Pensionable Compensation for New Members Frances Rogers Liebert Cassidy Whitmore
he CalPERS Board of Administration recently adopted the final regulations concerning the administration of pensionable compensation for “New Members” as defined under the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA). Initially, employers should be familiar with the nomenclature that is used in reference to compensation that is reported to CalPERS. Compensation that may be reported to CalPERS is referred to as “compensation earnable” for Classic Members (i.e., members who are not New Members under PEPRA) and “pensionable compensation” for New Members. What is important to note is that there is no item of pensionable compensation for New Members that is not also compensation earnable for Classic Members. Rather, it is the converse. There are items of compensation earnable for Classic Members that are not considered Pensionable Compensation for New Members. We highlight those notable differences as they appear in the new CalPERS regulations.
First, uniform pay for Classic Members is compensation earnable. The amount reported must be the amount paid as a uniform allowance to employees or the cost paid by the employer for the uniform and any maintenance which should be stated in the applicable memorandum of understanding. CalPERS requires that uniform pay be reported each pay period as a fraction of the total annual cost per member, even where uniform allowance may only be paid to a member one-time a year. Uniform pay for New Members, however, is not pensionable compensation in any amount.
attempts to prevent employers from temporarily placing employees in upgraded positions for more than 960 hours in a fiscal year, otherwise the employer faces triple monetary penalties to CalPERS. This legislation was sponsored by labor unions and only for the purpose of preventing employers from leaving employees in outof-class assignments rather than promoting the employee to the classification, even where there is no impact to the pension system.
Second, bonuses are not pensionable for New Members. Bonuses remain compensation earnable for Classic Members if it is for superior performance such as “annual performance bonus” and “merit pay” provided it is not paid in the final compensation period. A program must be in place to identify the performance goals and objectives. Similarly, “management incentive pay,” is compensation earnable for Classic Members, if it is in the form of additional time off or extra pay due to the unique nature of their job, but not for overtime duties. Classic members cannot have the option to take time off or receive extra pay for this item of special compensation. Management incentive pay is not pensionable compensation for New Members.
Finally, CalPERS indicates that overtime hours that are built into the normal work schedule of the employee will only be pensionable for New Members who are in the local fire or local police membership classifications if it is pursuant to an FLSA 7(k) work schedule. The FLSA 7(k) work schedule provides a higher threshold for overtime for fire or police personnel depending on the work period established by the employer. For Classic Members, the premium paid for FLSA overtime that is built into the normal regular schedule of the employee is considered compensation earnable, and is not limited to local fire or local police membership classifications. Not the case for non-safety New Members who will have compensation earned for normal work hours excluded from pensionable compensation where those hours exceed 40 in a workweek.
Third, “temporary upgrade pay” is not pensionable compensation for New Members while it remains compensation earnable for Classic Members if it is paid to employees who are required by their employer or governing board or body to work in an upgraded position/ classification of limited duration. Interestingly, recent legislation
This may cause some consternation for non-safety employees who work 24/7 operations under which FLSA overtime is built into the normal working schedule for that class of employees, for example, dispatchers or nurses. The result is that in cases of employees in the same non-safety classification with FLSA built-in overtime as part of the
normal full-time working hours, there will be an inequity between Classic Members and New Members. Employers should review their MOUs and personnel policies to ensure that provisions therein do not contradict the PERPA and CalPERS’ new regulations. Frances Rogers is a partner in the San Diego office of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore where she represents clients in labor relations, employment law, and municipal governance. Frances has extensive experience advising and advocating for local government agencies on retirement issues involving CalPERS, ‘37 Act county retirement systems, STRS, and other local municipal pension systems. Frances can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEADERSHIP CORNER Relationship Modes
Chief Frank Frievalt Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District
irst time supervision is a challenge in all organizations, but it is triple-tough for new Captains in the fire service because of the three ever-present relationship modes they must continually transition between (most organizations just have one). Awareness of these modes, and the intentional, timely transition among them will elevate a Captain’s legitimacy and crew effectiveness almost immediately. The Command Mode relationship is appropriate in low frequency, high risk settings where rank, responsibility, and high performance are inexorably linked. The Daily Operations Mode is what nearly all organizations are famliar with, and it’s the “model” that much of our “supervisory” trainging has unwittingly imprinted on. It’s not a wrong model, it’s simply insufficient for the dynamics of our profession. Finally, we have The Mutual Respect Mode. Most organizations don’t have their members eat, sleep, watch TV, exercise, and work together for one-third of their lives. These modes exist without “your” permission; your job is to be aware of them, use them appropriately for the tasks at hand, and deftly transition among them intentionally. We can borrow some fire ground skills here to make the point. Offensive, defensive, and combination tactical modes exist on
the fire ground. Failure to recognize and use the appropriate tactical mode at the crew level in a fluid setting is dangerous and ineffective. Having your crew attempting to operate simultaneously in different tactical modes is even worse. The relationship version of these tactical miscues are just as certainly waiting for us, and the opportunities to (mis)manage them occur much more frequently. Our people rarely fail on technical competence issues, it’s far more common to have them fail on the interpersonal side, and whenever personal behavior and discretion is not aligned with the organizaiton’s needs. Work through the questions in the graphic.
your engine is responsible to cook that night? Working on this will intially cause some mental blisters, but those will turn into beneficial callouses earned through thoughtful repitition. Don’t fear conflict, it comes with the job; fear not having a way to deal with conflict. One of the fastest ways to properly equip yourself and your crew for relational conflict is learning how to manage these modes first. Good luck, get everyone home safe; Captains are the cotter pins of the Fire Service do it right.
I’m pretty sure you’ve seen this done better and worse as a crewmember; now it’s your turn to manage these modes, not merely exist within them. How will you, for example, tranistion from the after-dinner banter over who’s sports team is best, to finishing up some required, and unpleasant tasks, that didn’t get done because calls, training, and maybe even some passive avoidance, got in the way earlier in the day? Will it be different from the way you transition from a fire inspection to a vehicle fire? How will you transition from a verbal reprimand to starting dinner for a multi-company station when
SAVE THE DATE
FDAC ANNUAL CONFERENCE
APRIL 10-13, 2018
MONTEREY TIDES HOTEL MONTEREY, CA
he Fire Districts Association of California (FDAC) has opened registration for the 2018 Annual Conference! This year’s conference will be held April 11-13, 2018 at the lovely Monterey Tides. Networking and training with an ocean view! Don’t miss out on this year’s annual conference in scenic Monterey, California. NEW PRE-CONFERENCE! FDAC is offering two additional sessions in 2018 taking place on April 10, 2018; AB 1234 training and a Sexual Harassment Prevention session. The PreConference sessions are separate from the regular conference sessions and can be attended separately or in addition to the regular sessions.
SPONSOR/EXHIBITOR OPPORTUNITIES Interested in supporting FDAC? Now is the time to sign up to become a sponsor or exhibitor at this year’s conference. Exhibitors and sponsors will have significant networking opportunities throughout the conference in the “fire district friendly” environment of FDAC. This smaller, more boutique conference focuses solely on fire districts which allows for easy conversations and relationship building. View what Exhibitor and Sponsorship opportunities are available at this year’s conference. We appreciate your commitment and support, and look forward to seeing you at the 2018 Annual Conference!
ACCOMMODATIONS If you haven’t booked your room yet, accommodations are available at Monterey Tides Hotel. Monterey Tides Hotel 2600 Sand Dunes Drive Monterey, CA 93940 Reserve your room by calling (800) 242-8627 and reference the Fire District Association of California to receive the discounted rates. Or use this link to make your reservations online. Hotel reservation cut-off is Sunday, March 11, 2018.
FDAC CERTIFICATE OF ACHIEVEMENT PROGRAM Looking for Local or Regional Training for Your Area? Look No Further!
DAC offers a “mobile” training program specifically designed for fire protection district board members and professional fire leadership. Governing a fire protection district has similar aspects to other special districts but yet unique requirements which is why FDAC offers the Certificate of Achievement (COA) program. Hosting a COA is easy! FDAC needs 25-30 committed attendees for the four-module training. A local district to provide a meeting room and AV as well as provide on-site assistance with registration and logistics. FDAC will provide instructors, oversee marketing efforts, coordinate registration, send all necessary materials as well as arrange for coffee service and lunches if needed. Registration fees are kept as low as possible to allow attendees from small districts and larger district to participate. The COA program offers four fourhour module training on:
District Legal Aspects – How Not to Get Burned! • Health and Safety Code: Fire District Law • Ballot Measures • Workers’ Compensation and Labor Code • Ethics • Collective Bargaining • Fire Code Adoption • EMS: Title 22 • Overlapping Jurisdiction with Cal Fire /SRA • LAFCO, Consolidations and Annexations Fire District Leadership Avoiding the backdraft • Finance: budgets/property tax • Audits • Financial Reserves • Open Meetings and the Ralph M. Brown Act • GASB 34 and GASB 45 • Prop 13, AB 8 and Property Tax Distribution • Board Meeting Dynamics • Effective Governance, Board Roles & Responsibilities • Agendas
Fire District Trends & Issues Latest Hot Stuff! • Current Events and Pending Legislation • Hiring a Fire Chief • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) • Recruitment/Retention • Generational Diversity • Firefighter Bill of Rights • Fire Fighter Safety • “Your District Issues” • Associations and Fire Service Affiliation FDAC’s COA was designed by experienced fire service professionals for today’s fire district leaders. Years of collective fire district experience was tapped to develop each module to ensure important issues are covered and attendees walk away better prepared to serve their communities. Contact FDAC (Carmen or Catherine) at (916) 231-2941 or email@example.com and casmith@ fdac.org to start coordinating a COA in your area. FDAC comes to you!
Fire District Planning Response route to success • Strategic Planning • Standards of Cover • Business Planning • Succession Planning • Risk Analysis • Technology
S ZONE 1
“Co-Operative Activity in Zone I” Jim Comisky, Director South Lake County Fire District
maller Fire agencies in Northern California have transformed over the years. When I got out of the Military in 1982, I started to work for the Sonoma City Fire Department as a Fire Engineer. My role then was to ensure that all of the Apparatus were ready to respond, to maintain the facility, answer the emergency phone, page out the Volunteers and then respond with them. Basically, I was part of the support element to the Volunteer Firefighters who were a huge part of the community. Well, fast forward to today’s Sonoma Valley. In 2002, after several years of discussions and economically challenging times, the Valley of the Moon Fire Protection District (VOMFD) and Sonoma City Fire Department entered into a JPA called the Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority (SVFRA). After almost 10 years, the JPA evolved into a contract for services between the City and District, with VOMFD becoming the host agency. While one agency had to be the host, the contractual arrangement between City and District has always been viewed as a partnership by the Board and the entire organization. All employees and volunteers became employees of the VOMFD. Daily staffing was established for 1 Battalion Chief, 3 Engine Companies and 2 ALS ambulances, now supported by 30 Volunteer Firefighters. This was a complete swap of the roles from when I started in the 1980’s. The Glen Ellen Fire District just to the north of the SVFRA border is a primarily Volunteer Department with a part-time Chief and only weekday daytime staffing of 1 person. GEFD had a mutual aid agreement with the SVFRA at the time. GEFD was having difficulty in getting adequate
Volunteer response to calls. The GEFD faced a shrinking Volunteer pool due to increased cost of living, training demands and work commitments. The GEFD Fire Board approached the SVFRA and asked what a model might look like for them to have SVFRA staff their main station and what that might cost. The Fire Chief for SVFRA at that time was Mark Freeman. Chief Freeman looked at many different approaches and worked with his Command Staff and the Labor Management Committee to come up with a proposal that fit several criteria. First, at no time should this arrangement negatively affect the existing agency or the contract for services with the City of Sonoma partnership. It must support the Vision and Values of the Organization. Laborâ€™s support was paramount. And finally, it must be economically sustainable. It was determined that SVFRA could hire 6 Paramedic Apprentice Firefighters. These Apprentice Firefighters would be assigned to the Ambulance with a senior Paramedic Firefighter, but at a greatly reduced cost. The enticement for Apprentice Firefighter Medics to apply is that they are the pool that will be used to hire full-time, permanent paid positions. These costs are recovered in the contract with Glen Ellen, as well as the additional cost of the promotions needed for this staffing structure. The proposal provides 24/7 staffing with an ALS Engine with a Fire Captain and Engineer assigned. In addition, the GEFD receives full administrative support, a shared Training Officer and a Fire Marshall. The training is combined into one program.
and allowed it to move forward. The GEFD Board of Directors held several Community meetings to discuss the idea. They held a vote and unanimously voted yes to move forward. On July 1, 2017 under the guidance of the current Fire Chief, Stephen Akre, the SVFRA welcomed the Glen Ellen Volunteers as new members/employees of the SVFRA and a 4th Fire Engine Company was staffed at what is now SVFRA Station 5.
where previously they would get 1 automatic aid engine. This paid off greatly on the night of October 8, 2017 when the Fire Storms hit the North Bay. Furthermore, the shared training had a huge positive impact on the successes realized during the week-long Firefight. While the City of Sonoma and the VOMFD boundaries were threatened, but not directly hit by the fires, every piece of SVFRA was committed to the fires in the Glen Ellen area.
Glen Ellen maintains their status as an independent fire district with its own elected fire board. However, all personnel and operational decisions are under the SVFRA Command Staff. The benefits to the community are many. The community of Glen Ellen not only has 24/7 immediate emergency response and paramedic service (ALS) but they are now getting the full Fire Response from the SVFRA
This type of collaborative effort to provide improved Fire/EMS services in a cost-effective manner can act as a model for other areas of the County and State. Jim Comisky, Director South Lake County Fire District Board of Directors Fire Districts Association of California (FDAC) 2nd Vice President, & Zone I Director (707) 245-1911 Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6
The Valley of the Moon Board of Directors and the Sonoma City Council agreed to the proposal
New Arrival Report Frank Frievalt, Chief Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District
ear FDAC Members,
My name is Frank Frievalt, I am the Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District Chief and a new addition to the FDAC Board. Shortly after the annual conference, it is my intent to begin reaching out to the Districts in our Zone, and get to know our FDAC Community within the state. For now, I’ll provide a brief overview of what’s going on in Mono County, a little about myself, and what I hope to contribute to the FDAC effort. Mono County is situated in the Eastern Sierra, spanning from the Nevada Stateline near Lake Topaz in the north, down toward Inyo County and Bishop to the south; east of us is Nevada and west we run into the Sierra crest and abut with Tuolumne, Mariposa, Madera, and Fresno counties. The county is among the 7 least populated counties in the state, so help is always a long way off. Additionally, given our topographical and jurisdictional arrangements, once we surge initial regional resources (anywhere from 30 to 120 minutes away), it will be a solid 6 hours before we can hope to see additional forces making any operational impact, and that’s if the weather is good. I know several of our northern and northeastern located Fire Districts face the same dilemmas. We are presently putting together a Type III All-Hazards Incident Management Team that will be cross-trained/dual-role as a Type III EOC; Cal-OES has worked with us to set up a customized curriculum to meet our unique needs. While last winter was a crusher in terms of snow, we are off to another drought year at this point, and tree mortality is creeping over the crest to take a toll here as well.
Your careers and mine are most likely pretty similar. I started in 1979 with CDF (the pants were green, the patches were round, and the sleeping bags were paper), did 4 seasons there (Tulare County), another 5 with the BLM in the Lake Isabella area, 24 with the City of Sparks, NV., and just started my 6th year with Mammoth Lakes. Picked up a few degrees along the way but the most important lessons never came from school, and I’ve come to believe that the majority of good leadership involves good stewardship, and healthy portions of servitude. If your people are like mine, we’re fortunate to have them, and need to get them home, whole, while delivering public safety service through them. Like you, I’ve also come to realize that at this point in our careers our best contributions will always include the recruitment, nurturing, occasional
tune-up, and overall preparation of our future leaders. Additionally, we’ll need to be administrators, craft legislation, organize the chaos of incidents, and tend to the needs of our communities outside of the incidents. My hope is to support those efforts as the collective FDAC sees fit; may we be fortunate enough to pass along the fire service in even better shape than when we were brought into it.
Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6
SAVE THE DATE
2018 Fire Leadership Academy October 22-23, 2018 Sacramento, CA New opportunity for emerging leaders! Enjoy exclusive access to training sessions for up and coming fire chiefs.
Fire Districts Association of California | 700 R ST STE 200 Sacramento, CA 95811
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