A MESSAGE FROM DIRECTOR JASON CERVANTES ON REQUESTS FOR WRITTEN STATEMENTS (RWS)
Local 1014 has been made aware that the Department is sending out a large number of Requests for Written Statements (RWS) of our members in mainly two areas, vehicle accidents and EMT licensure. We want members to know their rights pertaining to these two areas. We are looking in to why there has been a spike in the requests, but we are requesting that all members immediately contact a Union rep if you receive one.
We have been contacted by members who have received them for vehicle accidents, however minor, even after Department policy has been followed. i.e., command and control have been notified, BC has been notified, a police report has been initiated, pictures taken and an accident report has been filled out. This is our Department policy, if you drive a county vehicle, you need to familiarize yourself with this policy.
It is the Union’s opinion that this is being done for the simple reason to have you admit guilt and to limit the Department’s liability in the accident. Upon receiving a RWS, by accepting, or signing that you received it DOES NOT mean that you agree with it or that you are admitting guilt, it only means that you have received it.
Once you have received it, contact a Union Rep prior to filling it out and sending it to anyone in management, so that we can answer any questions that you have and to provide direction. We have the ability to run it through our legal counsel, if necessary, to get his legal opinion on the questions being asked, prior to sending it back to the requestor. Accidents do happen, which is why there is a word for it. We go on over 300,000 runs per year as a Department and as a percentage, our accident numbers are very low.
On the EMS licensure issue, we have notified of members getting requests for written statements for missing a skills testing date or having their license lapse, while off on a job-related injury. While it is true that you cannot work with a lapsed license without putting liability on yourself and the department, once you return from injury, you may be placed on 40-hour week until you have completed the recertification process. If you are off over 90 days, you will be given a form that requires signatures from various sections of the Department and verifies that your licenses are all up to date, (i.e., Driver’s License, EMT and PM licenses). This does benefit our members while also covering the Department's liability. If you work at all with an expired license of any kind, you could be subject to discipline by the Local and State EMS agencies or the department in the case of an expired driver’s license.
HOWEVER, we have had members receive these requests when all requirements have been met and there is no lapse in licensure prior to the request going out. This is absolutely unacceptable and a total failure of our management that needs to be corrected, which our Union is working on and will get corrected.
Continue doing the outstanding job that you all do and providing the excellent care that you always have. If you happen to receive one of these Requests for written statements, always, always, contact your union rep. Any BC worth his salt should be advising you to contact the Union and should never tell you “This is no big deal.” It is potentially a big deal and your Union is here to work on your behalf.