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SageVigiles

Yonkers Fire union blasts Mount Vernon on mutual aid

64 posts in this topic

Yonkers Fire union blasts Mount Vernon on mutual aid

Jonathan Bandler

Journal News

April 13, 2015

Mount Vernon's failure to properly staff its fire department has led the city to abuse the mutual aid system and rely too heavily on neighboring communities, the head of the Yonkers firefighters union charged Monday.

"The Yonkers taxpayers are carrying the financial burden which Mount Vernon Mayor Ernie Davis refuses to take responsibility for," Barry McGoey, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 628, said in a statement. "It is obvious that Mount Vernon Mayor Davis thinks the taxpayers of Yonkers are suckers."

Honestly I don't know much about YFD or FDMV, but given all the discussion about mutual aid on here over the course of the last few months, I figured some might be interested in this article.

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Would anyone expect any kind of intelligent statement from Davis?

Westfield12 likes this

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"The wisdom was 'We know you're not going to fight fires at the same time generally' so you should be available (to help your neighbors)," Davis said.

I think we're all on the same page here about departments abusing mutual aid so I won't even touch that. But this quote is what worried me the most.

Really? I had no ideas fire worked that way. Apparently if a fire occurs in one town that makes it less likely for there to be another fire elsewhere. Amazing.

I now feel much safer going to work and knowing the chances of Mount Vernon catching a job is greater than us. So there is no way I'm going to be put in any kind of danger that tour. Thanks for clearing that up Ernie, I've been worrying all these years for nothing!!!!!

Westfield12 likes this

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Here's a novice idea YFD, maybe your powers to be should refuse M/A to the Vern? Just a thought. Cut all ties with them!

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Here's a novice idea YFD, maybe your powers to be should refuse M/A to the Vern? Just a thought. Cut all ties with them!

I think you mean "novel" idea, not "novice". Big difference.

As for YFD calling them out on it rather than severing all ties as you suggest, it's a better move. If they refuse to respond, as you suggest, nobody notices and they move on to the next town until someone does supplement Mount Vernon's woefully understaffed and overworked members. Calling attention to the problem, in the appropriate context, highlights the mayor's disregard for the department and does so at without the expense of safety or fire loss.

For years the county's mutual aid system has been a way of avoiding real responsibility and appropriate staffing. It's been brought out here many times and people have gone to great lengths to explain their position, including Yonkers FD. Some departments have relied on MA to cover their day to day business and MV is guilty of that. This is just the latest round in the battle.

SageVigiles, M' Ave and Bnechis like this

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OK Folks, here is the bottom line in regards to both Mount Vernon and Yonkers:

As Property Taxes have risen greatly in 40 years, Fire Protection in both cities has drastically been cut. Here is a look (You tell us what Department has taken more of a hit over 40 years. Maybe Barry McGoey should be barking at Mayor Spano just as hard as he is barking at Mayor Davis)

Mount Vernon Fire Department 1975 vs, 2015

Front Line Apparatus:

1975 - 2015

Engine Company 1 - Decommissioned - Spare Engine Company 1

Engine Company 2 - Engine Company 2

Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 3

Engine Company 4 - Engine Company 4

Engine Company 5 - Engine Company 5

Engine Company 6 - Engine Company 6

Snorkel 1 - Tower Ladder 1

Truck Company 2 - Ladder 2

Truck Company 3 - Ladder 3

Truck Company 4 - Decommissioned - Spare Ladder 4

Rescue 1 - Rescue 1

LOSS IN FRONT LINE RIGS - 1 Engine Company and 1 Truck Company

Reserve Rigs:

Foam 1 - Decommissioned

Yonkers Fire Department

1975 - 2015

Engine Company 1 - Decommissioned

Engine Company 2 - Decommissioned

Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 303

Engine Company 4 - Engine Company 304

Engine Company 6 - Engine Company 306

Engine Company 7 - Engine Company 307

Engine Company 8 - Engine Company 308

Engine Company 9 - Engine Company 309

Engine Company 10 - Engine Company 310

Engine Company 11 - Squad 11

Engine Company 12 - Engine Company 312

Engine Company 13 - Engine Company 313

Engine Company 14 - Engine Company 314

Tower Ladder 1 - Tower Ladder 71

Truck 2 - Ladder 72

Truck 3 - Ladder 73

Truck 4 - Ladder 74

Truck 5 - Tower Ladder 75

Truck 6 - Decommissioned

Truck 7 - Ladder 70

Rescue 1 - Rescue 1

LOSS IN FRONT LINE RIGS - 2 Engine Companies and 1 Truck Company

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OK Folks, here is the bottom line in regards to both Mount Vernon and Yonkers:

As Property Taxes have risen greatly in 40 years, Fire Protection in both cities has drastically been cut. Here is a look (You tell us what Department has taken more of a hit over 40 years. Maybe Barry McGoey should be barking at Mayor Spano just as hard as he is barking at Mayor Davis)

Mount Vernon Fire Department 1975 vs, 2015

Front Line Apparatus:

1975 - 2015

Engine Company 1 - Decommissioned - Spare Engine Company 1

Engine Company 2 - Engine Company 2

Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 3

Engine Company 4 - Engine Company 4

Engine Company 5 - Engine Company 5

Engine Company 6 - Engine Company 6

Snorkel 1 - Tower Ladder 1

Truck Company 2 - Ladder 2

Truck Company 3 - Ladder 3

Truck Company 4 - Decommissioned - Spare Ladder 4

Rescue 1 - Rescue 1

LOSS IN FRONT LINE RIGS - 1 Engine Company and 1 Truck Company

Reserve Rigs:

Foam 1 - Decommissioned

Yonkers Fire Department

1975 - 2015

Engine Company 1 - Decommissioned

Engine Company 2 - Decommissioned

Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 303

Engine Company 4 - Engine Company 304

Engine Company 6 - Engine Company 306

Engine Company 7 - Engine Company 307

Engine Company 8 - Engine Company 308

Engine Company 9 - Engine Company 309

Engine Company 10 - Engine Company 310

Engine Company 11 - Squad 11

Engine Company 12 - Engine Company 312

Engine Company 13 - Engine Company 313

Engine Company 14 - Engine Company 314

Tower Ladder 1 - Tower Ladder 71

Truck 2 - Ladder 72

Truck 3 - Ladder 73

Truck 4 - Ladder 74

Truck 5 - Tower Ladder 75

Truck 6 - Decommissioned

Truck 7 - Ladder 70

Rescue 1 - Rescue 1

LOSS IN FRONT LINE RIGS - 2 Engine Companies and 1 Truck Company

Instead of comparing apparatus, how about we compare the personnel? That's the real issue here. Is the personnel complement in Yonkers higher or lower than in 1975? Does the comparison with 1975 even matter?

Who complies with NFPA 1710 and who doesn't?

Bnechis likes this

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Back in 1975, Yonkers FD was running 13 engine companies, 7 truck companies, and 1 rescue company with a uniform force of 405 men.

In 2015, Yonkers FD is running 10 Engine Companies, 1 Squad Company, 6 Ladder (Truck Company) and 1 rescue company. But I don't have access to the uniform force number. Maybe someone from within YFD can provide the current number.

Instead of comparing apparatus, how about we compare the personnel? That's the real issue here. Is the personnel complement in Yonkers higher or lower than in 1975? Does the comparison with 1975 even matter?

Who complies with NFPA 1710 and who doesn't?

Back in 1975, Yonkers FD was running 13 engine companies, 7 truck companies, and 1 rescue company with a uniform force of 405 men.

In 2015, Yonkers FD is running 10 Engine Companies, 1 Squad Company, 6 Ladder (Truck Company) and 1 rescue company. But I don't have access to the uniform force number. Maybe someone from within YFD can provide the current number.

Instead of comparing apparatus, how about we compare the personnel? That's the real issue here. Is the personnel complement in Yonkers higher or lower than in 1975? Does the comparison with 1975 even matter?

Who complies with NFPA 1710 and who doesn't?

Back in 1975, Yonkers FD was running 13 engine companies, 7 truck companies, and 1 rescue company with a uniform force of 405 men.

In 2015, Yonkers FD is running 10 Engine Companies, 1 Squad Company, 6 Ladder (Truck Company) and 1 rescue company. But I don't have access to the uniform force number. Maybe someone from within YFD can provide the current number.

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Mutual Aid--We have discussed this over and over--its a never ending drama. This situation is again being brought to light because of "misuse" of the system. The system is in place to help any and all fire departments in the County. It is not intended to supplement manpower or overtime. We can all agree that YFD is the largest and responds to the most fire in the County but even they at times relied on mutual aid to the city. If departments do respond to YFD they are released ASAP-upon additional Eng and ladders put into service by YFD members. That is the way to handle mutual aid.

All departments need mutual aid at sometime it is how you handle it that's important-- FDMV -upper personnel- and management--not firefighters or officers make those decision. FDMV Chiefs know mutual aid is a radio transmission away. We are all in the business together to give the citizens the best protection we can. Mount Vernon management need to understand what the other municipalities do and how they handle --"giving " mutual aid, cost of coverage-call back, holdover. That I believe is a thing that Mayors and other Officials must discus at their level.

Just my thoughts

BFD1054 and Westfield12 like this

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Just to stir the pot a bit, here we are talking about two municipalities that have fairly large busy departments. If this were two small towns with smaller departments there would have been about a dozen posts (at least) calling for them to consolidate. Instead the calls are to increase both separate departments. I am not from Westchester so I have no horse in the race, but if a major urban department can't handle calls, perhaps the C word should be thrown around here too.

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General rant not directed at any one municipality:

We had inadequate snow removal, potholes everywhere, understaffed and underfunded emergency services yet we live in the most expensive county in the stratosphere. Where is it all going ?

M' Ave, E106MKFD and Westfield12 like this

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OK Folks, here is the bottom line in regards to both Mount Vernon and Yonkers:

As Property Taxes have risen greatly in 40 years, Fire Protection in both cities has drastically been cut. Here is a look (You tell us what Department has taken more of a hit over 40 years. Maybe Barry McGoey should be barking at Mayor Spano just as hard as he is barking at Mayor Davis)

Mount Vernon Fire Department 1975 vs, 2015

Front Line Apparatus:

1975 - 2015

Engine Company 1 - Decommissioned - Spare Engine Company 1

Engine Company 2 - Engine Company 2

Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 3

Engine Company 4 - Engine Company 4

Engine Company 5 - Engine Company 5

Engine Company 6 - Engine Company 6

Snorkel 1 - Tower Ladder 1

Truck Company 2 - Ladder 2

Truck Company 3 - Ladder 3

Truck Company 4 - Decommissioned - Spare Ladder 4

Rescue 1 - Rescue 1

LOSS IN FRONT LINE RIGS - 1 Engine Company and 1 Truck Company

Reserve Rigs:

Foam 1 - Decommissioned

Yonkers Fire Department

1975 - 2015

Engine Company 1 - Decommissioned

Engine Company 2 - Decommissioned

Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 303

Engine Company 4 - Engine Company 304

Engine Company 6 - Engine Company 306

Engine Company 7 - Engine Company 307

Engine Company 8 - Engine Company 308

Engine Company 9 - Engine Company 309

Engine Company 10 - Engine Company 310

Engine Company 11 - Squad 11

Engine Company 12 - Engine Company 312

Engine Company 13 - Engine Company 313

Engine Company 14 - Engine Company 314

Tower Ladder 1 - Tower Ladder 71

Truck 2 - Ladder 72

Truck 3 - Ladder 73

Truck 4 - Ladder 74

Truck 5 - Tower Ladder 75

Truck 6 - Decommissioned

Truck 7 - Ladder 70

Rescue 1 - Rescue 1

LOSS IN FRONT LINE RIGS - 2 Engine Companies and 1 Truck Company

I'm a little confused here. Yonkers is roughly 2 3/4 larger in population than Mt Vernon and only lost 1 more Engine company than Yonkers? Not to mention that Yonkers has 4 man companies and Mt Vernon has 3 ( ? ) man companies. Please fill me in as to why the YFD president should be screaming that he has been cut more that MVFD!!!! Yes we are understaffed, Yes Mt Vernon catches a ton of work, Yes the powers to be continue to send us to "help" Mt Vernon. What is the answer? What are the" worker bees " to do when ordered to respond by the " queen bee " ?. I will take any P.M. suggestion so as to not make public what should be done. I spent 6 years assigned to a company that was sent to Mt Vernon on a regular basis, I understand fully what they are up against, I have attended many an invite at 3:00 am to Mt Vernon, I do not know the answer to stopping the abuse.

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I do not know the answer to stopping the abuse.

The sad truth is there is no right answer.

The most correct answer (IMHO) is that Mount Vernon, like every other municipality/district/etc. needs to undergo massive budget reconstructions to be able to provide the best services possible to their respective citizens. Example 1: A volunteer FD has 4 engines and a ladder, but can only get an average of 3 per rig. Sell two engines! Example 2: A career department has the same compliment with the same staffing. CATCH 22, you can't just sell two engines like the other department did. Everybody's budgets are different, and everybody has to be creative to make the best of the situation. This means being creative to not only save a few dollars here and there, but to also provide the best service to your community and it's neighbors. It's a disgusting roller coaster ride that you can't get off of.

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Bill them for the mutual aid? We started to bill for mutual aid in the EMS arena when it was abundantly clear that mutual aid was not only, no longer mutual, but bordering on abusive. Over time the neighbors that were most "abusive" found that they could utilize the money they paid for outside aid better by putting into better staffing (per-diem) of their own service. While our finance dept liked the revenue, it wasn't enough to increase staffing, so fewer calls out of town are better for our personnel.

Is there something in NY that would prevent a City from telling a neighbor that they'll still respond, but they'll be billed for the associated costs? This way, the decision is purely financial and the proverbial ball is in the "abuser's" court? There must be a law against this, 'cause the answer is too simple.

Edited by antiquefirelt
Bnechis and SageVigiles like this

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Bill them for the mutual aid? We started to bill for mutual aid in the EMS arena when it was abundantly clear that mutual aid was not only, no longer mutual, but bordering on abusive. Over time the neighbors that were most "abusive" found that they could utilize the money they paid for outside aid better by putting into better staffing (per-diem) of their own service. While our finance dept liked the revenue, it wasn't enough to increase staffing, so fewer calls out of town are better for our personnel.

Is there something in NY that would prevent a City from telling a neighbor that they'll still respond, but they'll be billed for the associated costs? This way, the decision is purely financial and the proverbial ball is in the "abuser's" court? There must be a law against this, 'cause the answer is too simple.

Interesting issue.

1) Everyone in the county has signed the county mutual aid IMA. So that does not allow for it. It does cover aspects of the requester paying for damaged equipment.

2) In general City's & Villages are not prohibited from billing, But fire districts (towns) generally can not bill for services rendered.

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Interesting issue.

1) Everyone in the county has signed the county mutual aid IMA. So that does not allow for it. It does cover aspects of the requester paying for damaged equipment.

2) In general City's & Villages are not prohibited from billing, But fire districts (towns) generally can not bill for services rendered.

1) So what agency or group enforces that agreement? Maybe a provision for suspending services where aid is no longer mutual?

2) Again, I know next to nothing about NY laws, but I would wonder if an agency/municipality would be prevented from billing for services that are not requisite to their mission? While you wouldn't bill your own taxpayers, it might be considered billing for "contracted" services"? There must be some shared services amongst Towns and Villages that are contractually paid?

I would think (hope?) that any mutual aid MOU or other agreement would have some clauses about being a member department in good standing or something similar? I'd think looking at how that agreement is fulfilled or broken might be in order? Why not petition the agency that "holds" the agreement for a suspension of the offending FD? Or look at how to withdraw from an agreement that is so lopsided.

I suspect the politicians would seek another FD to provide aid if just one stopped or started billing, but if everyone agreed, it would allow for a response to help the other FD and their citizens, just at a cost. Then it would be up to a politician to say, "No, don't call for aid, we can't afford it."

TimesUp likes this

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I might add that while one FD may be being abused, the Chief or administration of the abusing FD, likely have been forced into this. They still have a responsibility to their personnel to ensure their safety and the responsibility to the citizens to provide the best possible service they can. They have little choice but to use the tools available to them. I'm sure it's a "lose-lose" situation for the bosses: if it was them that made the decision to not call in outside aid, anything that goes wrong will be laid solely at their feet. In this case they may be perceived as part of the problem, but it's likely the real issue is at City Hall. Rather than fight amongst card carrying members this fight should be taken to City Hall where the root of the issue is: failure to properly fund for the city's fire problem.

Again, I say this all from a total outsiders' view. Up this way we have no politically appointed Fire Dept. positions, no Commissioners, no Fire Boards, no one who serves as the leisure of any elected official. I guess technically some VFD's elect their officers, but not by voter election, just membership ( not sure that's better?) Understandably, it appears in states like NY, some political appointments make things much more complicated.

AFS1970 likes this

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It's done here in NH.

I know of two departments that bill or have billed. One bills for RSI intercepts, which are above and beyond mutual aid.

One began billing, or threatened to bill a town that was using their services when the towns contracted private service's second ambulance was coming from too far away, or was not ALS. The town doing the abusing went with a zero bid private service who put one ambulance in service to cover seven towns. You can guess how well that went. Their second due was coming from a ways away in the private services other coverage area. Soooo, the abusing town just decided to start calling the closest ALS ambulance. Lasted for a while, but the town getting used finally said enough, and started to bill. Problem stopped.

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It's all bull.... Put the correct amount of manpower on the job to supply adequate coverage for the taxpayers and to also protect each other. Stop relying on other cities to come in and help the short staffed dept. Do their job.What does it take to make a change a firefighter losing his life because carelessness and the lack of knowledge in the mayor's office... NOT RIGHT....

TimesUp likes this

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Maybe start with a new City Administration that is an advocate for its FD?

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It's all bull.... Put the correct amount of manpower on the job to supply adequate coverage for the taxpayers and to also protect each other. Stop relying on other cities to come in and help the short staffed dept. Do their job.What does it take to make a change a firefighter losing his life because carelessness and the lack of knowledge in the mayor's office... NOT RIGHT....

What about consolidation?Isn't that the answer to everything on this forum? :rolleyes:

AFS1970 likes this

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Some of the over reliance on mutual aid happens slowly and almost organically, so we end up like the frog in the pot of water, not realizing it is getting hotter until we boil.

When I joined my old department we had 3 Engines, 1 Truck and 1 Rescue, for a relatively small district (less than 2 Sq. Miles). Some people would periodically ask why so much equipment, couldn't we just call a neighboring district? This was borne out of the current attitude of using automatic aid to provide basic services. However many departments did not object because call volume = manpower and that made the manpower available in the home district as well. Two of the districts that came into our district had recently given up ambulances which accounted for the majority of their runs, so they saw automatic aid as a good thing, it kept the numbers up and people employed.

Yet a quick look back at a department history document that listed notable fires, mentioned a fire so big that a single engine had to be called from a neighboring district. This was at the time an exception to the rule. By the time I joined we were routinely rolling on box assignments with 3 or more districts going to automatic alarms, as the exception had become the rule. When and why did the change happen? I don't know exactly, but I bet it was slow and somewhat subtle. I know that my department used to just get a single automatic aid engine on all boxes, but then started with a truck on a few target hazards. One of the adjoining districts generally got an automatic aid engine and a truck on all boxes then added a second engine and truck to one large building with a large fire potential. Then two of the districts started adding automatic aid rescues on all MVA's.

Very slowly you could not really tell which district a call was in, unless except by the first due Engine.. which even then was problematic because of where some borders were in relation to the stations.

So looking at the Mount Vernon / Yonkers situation, I don't see some nefarious plan. I do see a slow change that has occurred overtime that many are suddenly waking up to notice is a bad thing and may not be sustainable in the long run.

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