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
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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
2017 Board of Directors President Steve Hall 1st Vice President Steve Kovacs 2nd Vice President Jim Comisky Immediate Past President Richard Pearce Treasurer 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 916.231.2941 or visit the website at www.fdac.org
S T E V E N
H A L L
The past few months have been extremely busy for California’s fire service. As your crews respond up and down the State, or even within your own jurisdictions, please preach safety. To date, we have lost 60 of our brothers and sisters nationwide, thus far, and that’s 60 to many. As I hope all have heard by now, the SRA “fee” has been suspended. Governor Brown suspended the controversial fee, at least for now as part of the compromise to extend AB-398, the Cap-and-Trade Bill through 2031. This is great news for our community members that have had to pay the $150.00 or $115.00 fee annually since 2011. Although suspended, our Legislative Task Force, working in conjunction with Cal Chiefs and PPA will be keeping a close eye on any “shift” proposed by our Legislators on other ways to seek funding from special districts. On July 13th, Cal-OES hosted the first-ever California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System Summit. This event was well attended by representatives from all over the state - Cal Fire, USFS, BIA, BLM, Operational Area Coordinators, FDAC, CPF, and CalChiefs. Director Mark Ghilarducci opened the summit, announcing this was the first time representatives from all disciplines were under the same roof to discuss the pertinent issues that are affecting California’s fire service, as a whole. Topics of the summit included: • The State of California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System - Past, Present, and Future • Fire Service Task Force on Climate Impacts • Blue Ribbon Fire Commission Report • California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System Staffing Challenges • Dispatch Program - Currently looking to replace ROSS with IAFC Mutual-Aid Net • FirstNet and Next Generation 911 • California Fire Assistance Agreement (CFAA) -Where do we go? • Cal OES Fire and Rescue Fleet There was much discussion on each of these topics. One area of significant interest was the CFAA and what was happening with the agreement. I want to thank Chief Richard Webb, our FIRESCOPE representative (and Zone-2 Director) who has been a huge voice in representing each of our concerns regarding the Agreement during the CFAA discussions. The issue of nonpayment and/or late payment by the USFS for aid provided was discussed in detail. It was noted by the USFS that all invoices have been paid to California fire agencies, as of the 13th · It is my sincere hope we can continue the dialogue with our Federal partners, improving the relationship moving forward. The annual FDAC Conference is right around the corner, so mark your calendars accordingly. The Conference Committee has been working extremely hard on bringing an even better conference to our members - stay tuned! Best,
Chief Steven Hall President, FDAC
“The hero is the man who lets no obstacle prevent him from pursuing the values he has chosen.” - Andrew Bernstein
You serve others and LCW is honored to serve you. At LCW we are not solely lawyers. We are your trusted partners, helping you avoid legal problems and navigate issues. Fire Districts serve others, and we are honored to serve them for over 35 years in all areas, including:
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Public Safety Employment Law FBOR Investigations Discipline
• Litigation • Negotiations/ Labor Relations • Wage & Hour • Retirement FDAC
To learn how we can help your District visit: www.lcwlegal.com
We take pride in offering our clients proactive legal counseling, skilled negotiation, and proficient advocacy. www.mcmurchie.com
Capitol PFG has a proven track record of providing fire districts with financial assistance in: Facilities & Equipment Financing Property Tax Revenue Analysis Fees For Service Board Financial Policies Cash Flow Analysis Development Impact Fee Justification Parcel Taxes Mello-Roos & Assessment District Formation and more . . . Contact us at: 2436 Professional Dr., Ste. 300 Roseville, CA 95661 T (916) 641 2734 5 F (916) 921 2734 FDAC www.capitolpfg.com
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SAVE THE DATE!
Nuggets for Leadership The “Be Attitudes” Steve Kovacs, FDAC First Vice President
he attitudes of our personnel can make or break an organization’s moral. The right attitudes obviously start from the top and leaders must walk the walk if they expect great things from all their members. The following are some additional thoughts for your arsenal of leadership values:
The “Be Attitudes” Be the inspiration that you see in others. Be the encouragement that your team mates need. Be the motivation you are waiting for. Be the support your family needs. Be the stimulus that pushes us forward. Be the inspiration that lights up a child. Be the example for others to follow. Be the opportunity to make a difference. Be the person, you dream to be! You can always raise your hand higher. You can always achieve more and you can always be there for your Team. You have so much to give, don’t wait to give it. Be humble, you are on a journey, not a race. Don’t wait for an occasion to make difference in someone’s life. You are here to serve and someone will always need your help... be there for them. Change is always coming in our lives. Be patient, be prepared, step up and embrace it! Be kind, work hard, be humble, smile often and success in your life will follow. 9
Key Fact-finding Tips for Fire Districts
ince 2012, the MeyersMilias-Brown Act (“MMBA”) fact-finding procedures have become a routine part of the labor negotiation process for local governmental agencies, including fire districts. Under the MMBA following a declaration of impasse, an employee organization can compel an agency to defend its proposals in an administrative hearing before a fact-finding panel. The panel is then required to issue a report, containing findings of fact and recommend terms of settlement. While non-binding, these fact-finding reports may become public documents and have a significant impact on the negotiation process. Accordingly, fire districts would be well served by following a few key tips and recommendations. 1. Plan ahead. Fact-finding can take a lot of time. Although the MMBA contemplates that the fact-finding process should be completed in within 30 to 45 days, in actuality it can take three to six times longer. Often, unprepared
Che I. Johnson
agencies are unable to meet the short time frame required and agree to waive the timelines. This results in a one or two day hearing taking up to half a year to be fully resolved. If time is of the essence for your district, then your agency needs to be prepared to hold the hearing within the statutory period. This requires having all the relevant information and potential witnesses ready within just a couple of weeks. Negotiation notes, proposals, financial information, staffing reports, and overtime projections can all be time consuming to compile. Further, vacations or injuries may make your key witnesses unavailable. However, a district can avoid these types of delays by preparing for fact-finding during the negotiating process and before a declaration of impasse. Further, your governing body must also be prepared. Prior to impasse, the governing body of the agency should be educated about the fact-finding process, the associated costs for the factfinding hearing, and potential that a report may be issued that
is adverse to the district’s goals. Again, while not binding, these fact-finding reports can have significant unexpected impacts on the negotiation process by placing pressure on the governing body to compromise beyond recommended parameters, and by damaging the relationship between labor and the management for many years following this process. 2. Carefully select the agency’s panelist. The fact-finding panel is comprised of three members: a representative from management; a representative from the employee organization; and a neutral member, either agreed to by the parties or appointed by the Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”). Therefore, selecting who should serve as the district’s fact-finding representative is a critical decision. Often the agency’s panelist will have both a direct and indirect influence on the information contained in the report. Selecting the wrong panelist can lead to a report which fails to focus on the issues important to your agency.
While the district will have a separate advocate to present evidence and arguments to the panel, it is highly recommended that your fact-finding panelist is someone who is knowledgeable about the substantive issues at impasse. In some cases the districtâ€™s chief negotiator is most familiar with the issues and with the concerns of the governing body. The chief negotiator is often a good choice for both increasing the possibility of reaching a settlement in the process, and for ensuring that the important points the district wants to raise are contained in the fact-finding report. Alternatively the district may require someone with operational expertise such as a supervisor for staffing, training, or shift rotation issues. Another choice, especially if the issues are largely focused the budget, would be a manager with institutional knowledge and a larger understanding of financial issues facing the district. In addition to being knowledgeable, the panelist should also be relatable. Often times, a neutral fact-finder appointed by PERB will have limited to no experience working with fire districts. Accordingly, selecting a knowledgeable management panelist can help give guidance to the neutral factfinder on confusing or complex issues. The management panelist will also know how to respond to settlement suggestions made by the neutral fact-finder.
3. Know the fact-finding factors. The MMBA specifically enumerates eight factors the factfinding panel should consider in drafting its report. These factors include: (1) applicable state and federal laws; (2) local rules, regulations, or ordinances; (3) stipulations of the parties; (4) interest and welfare of the public and the financial ability of the public agency; (5) comparisons of wages, hours, and conditions of employment for comparable public agencies; (6) the consumer price index; (7) the overall compensation received by employees; and (8) any other factor normally or traditionally taken into consideration. During the fact-finding hearing, the districtâ€™s advocate should be prepared to speak directly to these eight factors. The district should carefully review the factors and anticipate what evidence will be most relevant to the issues at impasse. For example, if the fire association is seeking wage increases beyond what the district is willing to provide, the district will need to be prepared to address comparability, total compensation and the over-all financial sustainability of the district. However, if the issue at impasse revolves around minimum staffing the district will need to provide evidence regarding the interest and welfare of the public and the goals or aims of the district regarding the level of services
it provides. Evidence and arguments should be based on solid facts and sound financial principles. A favorable report requires the district be forthright, clear, consistent, and fair in its application of these factors. To the unwary fire district, the MMBA fact-finding process can result in unanticipated delays, costs, and surprising recommendations. However, if the fire district has carefully planned, selected a knowledgeable and persuasive panelist, prepared and educated the governing body and is prepared to present relevant evidence regarding the MMBA fact-finding factors, the fact-finding process can be straightforward and ultimately helpful to reach the districtâ€™s goals.
Che Johnson is an attorney in the Fresno office of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore where he represents clients in labor relations and employment law. He also provides training on topics such as negotiations, performance management, and wage and hour issues. Che can be reached at email@example.com.
FDAC To Launch Future Fire Leaders Program in 2018
uture Fire Leaders 2018 will be the inaugural year for this new exciting program. Future Fire Leaders (FFL) will be a two-day session focused on training the next generation of fire district leaders. Fire district chiefs must be an expert in fire service management and public administration. High level district professionals must wear many hats and have skills in many areas. This program is geared toward those mid-level positions who are likely to be the fire district chiefs in the future. Areas addressed in the FFL session include sessions on topics such as: • District administration • Board management and good governance • Community outreach • Collaborating with other agencies • Brown Act and Legal Requirements • Human Resources • District finance The first FFL is being scheduled in the fall of 2018 in Sacramento. More details to follow as the session is finalized. FDAC developed FFL in response to the request for help with succession planning! If you have any input you would like to share with FDAC on topics for FFL, please send to Carmen Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zone 11 Zone Zone 22 Zone Zone 33 Zone Zone 44 Zone Zone 55 Zone Zone 66 Zone
Zone 3 Report
ello from Placer County the Northern most County in Zone 3, I am honored to represent the Fire Districts Association of California (FDAC) as one of your Zone 3 Directors and as of the annual conference the FDAC Treasurer. It has been a busy start to the fire season with the majority of the Fire Districts in our Zone participating in the California State Mutual Aid System deploying crews all over the State of California. There have been at one time ten strike steams deployed from OES Region IV which covers most of the FDAC Northern Zone 3. Many of the Districts are experiencing staffing shortages and still answer the call when the citizens of California are in need of assistance. Itâ€™s an honor to be able to represent such an honored profession and group of individual agencies that come together to help so many in their time of need, I believe the Fire Districts in California are local government at its best. Collaboration and teamwork are prevalent in the Zone as there are many new contracts for services, sharing of resources, personnel, and administrations. With the economic issues facing Special Districts, it is important that all options for providing the best service possible in the most efficient cost-effective manner be explored. My agency the South Placer Fire District was successful in our consolidation efforts with the Loomis Fire District after a three-year administrative contract for services. The consolidation became effective July 22nd, and we are now one District moving forward together to provide a more efficient service to the communities we serve. Thatâ€™s it for this edition from North Zone 3, I thank you for the opportunity to serve on the Board and please do not hesitate to contact me with your FDAC North Zone 3 questions. Eric Walder, EFO Fire Chief, South Placer Fire District FDAC, Treasurer & Northern Zone 3 Director
Fire Districts Association of California Quarterly Report-
Say Good-Bye to the SRA Fire Prevention Fee
Russell W. Noack
n a development of momentous significance, the California Legislature has passed a measure to suspend the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fee until January 1, 2031, and then repeal it as of that date. Amended into Assembly Bill 398 by Eduardo Garcia, a bill which extends the stateâ€™s Capand-Trade Program for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the suspension of the SRA fee was included in an effort to garner some Republican support for the bill. Eight Republicans joined the Democratic majority and AB 398 passed both Houses of the Legislature on July 17, 2017, and has been sent to Governor Brown. His signature is expected since, in a very rare occurrence, the Governor testified in support of the bill when it was heard by the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality on July 13, 2017. In 2011, legislation (ABX1 29 (Blumenfield; Chapter 8, Statutes of 2011 First Extraordinary Session) was enacted directing the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to assess a fee on structures in State Responsibility Areas (SRA) for the purpose of helping defray costs of fire prevention activities in fire-prone wildland areas. The fee began during one of the many State Budget shortfall years, and was instantly controversial as being an unconstitutional tax on rural residents. More than 800,000 property owners are subject to the $152.33 charge, with some receiving a $35 deduction for owners of habitable structures who are also within the boundaries of a local fire district. Since 2011, twelve separate bills have been introduced to repeal the SRA fire fee. The FDAC has supported all of these bills arguing among other things, that the state-imposed fee undermines local fire districts by making it more difficult to pass local funding measures for fire services. Unfortunately, none of these earlier measures were successful in moving through the legislative process due to the loss of revenues to the State. Additionally, a lawsuit by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is pening seeking to have the fee declared illegal as an unconstitutional tax. By suspending the fire prevention fee, AB 398 will reduce revenues to the SRA Fund by approximately $83 million annually beginning this year. However, the bill replaces these revenues with proceeds from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) so the bill will not result in lower state General Fund revenues.
Looking for local or regional training for your area? Look no further! FDAC Certificate of Achievement Program
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 fourmodule 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 four-hour 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 Planning - Response route to success • Strategic Planning • Standards of Cover • Business Planning • Succession Planning • Risk Analysis • Technology 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) 231-294 or email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to start coordinating a COA in your area. FDAC comes to you!
Senate Passes Firefighter Grants Reauthorization
n August 2nd, the Senate approved S. 829, the AFG and SAFER Reauthorization Act, by unanimous consent. The legislation, which was unanimously approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on May 17th, reauthorizes the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG), the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), and Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grant programs through Fiscal Year 2023. Additionally, the legislation removes a “sunset” provision in the current authorizing statute that would eliminate the programs on January 2, 2018. S. 829 was introduced by Senator John McCain (AZ) and Senator Jon Tester (MT), both co-chairs of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. Senator Susan Collins (ME), chair of the Fire Caucus, and Senator Tom Carper, a fellow Fire Caucus cochair, are original co-sponsors of the legislation. “We are very grateful to the Senate for taking action to reauthorize these critical, life saving programs that have had such an immense impact in communities across the entire nation,” said Bill Webb, Executive Director of the Congressional Fire Services Institute. “The passage of S. 829 is the result of a cooperative and unified effort by the national fire service organizations, as well as persistent grassroots engagement by fire service leaders throughout the country. We strongly urge the House to approve the Senate bill as soon as they return from the August Congressional recess.” On July 12th, the House Science, Technology and Space Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology conducted a hearing on reauthorizing the AFG, SAFER and FP&S grant programs. Unfortunately, the House adjourned for a five-week district work period before the subcommittee could take action on any legislation. The House is scheduled to return on September 5th. Learn more at https://www.cfsi.org/senate-passes-firefighter-grants-reauthorization/
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