SPECIAL BULLETIN: Leadership Crisis in the Department
Updated On: Jun 10, 2022
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Sisters and Brothers,
 

Your Local 1014 Executive Board has been dealing with the impact of the return of the Fire Chief regarding Covid Vaccine Mandate, LODDs, negotiations, staffing issues, workers' compensation issues, over 30,000 recalls, 48/96, and general leadership at the executive level. 

Local 1014 has already communicated formally to the Fire Chief and the Board of Supervisors that during this time of trauma and healing, we must have exemplary leadership from the top down.  We demand and expect and will only accept Fire Chief and Executive Staff job performance that aligns with that expectation. 

This demand is neither personal nor based on any other standard than job performance and work product, no different from any of our members.  This discontent is not something new to our membership, but we have all reached the breaking point and can no longer tolerate the consistent lack of leadership. 
 

An example of the membership’s feelings regarding the Fire Chief’s job performance evolved at the General Membership meeting on May 10th, 2022.  At the meeting, a small quorum of members brought forward a motion communicating the members' frustration and low morale. This manifested in a declaration of lack of confidence in the Fire Chief's job performance, a request for him to retire, and to begin the search for a new Fire Chief.  

There was good debate and discussion on the motion as well as education on things that would be affected by such a motion such as negotiations, 48/96 talks, the Covid Vaccine Mandate issue, and already ongoing talks with the BOS.  The Executive Board communicated that action like this needs to be coordinated and in step with all other ongoing items in order to minimize any unintended consequences of such a motion on our members whom we are representing in Covid Vaccine Mandate and the recent recruit class debacle. We as an Executive Board felt that we could navigate those issues in dealing with the motion. 

Local 1014 Executive Board moved to support the motion with a recommendation to the membership to support at the next General Membership Meeting. Both the GM Meeting motion and the Executive Board motions were unanimous. There was additional discussion on the membership feelings as a whole and how to best capture the issues. The Executive Board will be putting forward a survey to get at the heart of the issues shortly. The survey will go out to Union members in good standing only including all job categories and ranks including our Chiefs who are members as well and are also impacted.   In order to expedite the survey, we also need the members to update their contact information with personal email and cell numbers. Click here to update your contact info with the Union and register for a login on the website. 

While the Union has already completed the action items identified in the motions, we will use this meeting as an example to the Fire Chief and BOS of the growing unrest and dissatisfaction in leadership job performance.  We will provide this bulletin and the motion to all five BOS offices and to the Fire Chief directly.  The survey will be helpful to tell an accurate and substantive story on how this came to be and why now we have reached our limit. 

While this motion will come back to the GM Meeting on June 14th at our North County GM Meeting. Details on this meeting to follow. We will not be delaying the use of the motion with our plan and will move forward as recommended in this bulletin.  

In closing, we know this is a difficult time and emotions are high. Discussion at the Union meetings is always impactful and powerful. We ask that you bring forward your ideas and thoughts on how we can successfully define our voice and actions in a strategic manner with respect to the Fire Chief's job performance.  Reach out early and often to the Board Members in between meetings as there are so many critically important items in motion, not the least of which is our ongoing negotiations and contract talks. We also started Fringe Benefits negotiations as well and our continued representation of all members in the Covid Vaccine Mandate.  So far so good and while we are not out of the woods, we see light at the end of the tunnel.

As we near the one-year anniversary of the Sierra Incident, we are also following up with the BOS on the motion made following the Sierra Incident regarding recalls, behavioral health resources, leadership management training, resiliency training, and the lack of performance of the Fire Chief and Department. The lack of movement is unacceptable and we have the BOS attention and action as we move for lasting change. 

In order to achieve success in any of these areas, we must work together in solidarity and remain strategic in our fight to capture the support of the BOS.  We have seen some individuals from the outside and a couple from the inside try to divide our membership and erode the solidarity for personal gain. This only weakens our strength with our BOS and Contract City elected officials.  Our membership is smart and well versed in the power and strength and what we have been able to accomplish with that strength throughout the years, including cancer presumption, PEER support and PTS legislation, State funding for wildfire reimbursement, and more.  We need that same level of fight to correct our Department's course now. With a united voice, we can succeed in restoring our Department to the glory and luster we all deserve and the citizens we serve deserve.

Thank you to all who reach out often and work regularly to help define and navigate the real-life labor issues affecting our members and families.  As we move forward remember we are a very large Fire Department in one of the largest counties in the nation with a political and constituent government structure that can and will support us when we define our needs correctly.  Local 1014 has always been engaged in the world of leadership and decision-makers at all levels and this is no different. We need to speak with one voice to address the critical issue of leadership in our Department.    


In Solidarity, 

President Dave Gillotte and the Local 1014 Executive Board 

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