Alarming Facts for Sedgwick County Fire District #1 from 2014 to Present:
Updated On: Aug 17, 2016
Loss of Accreditation thru the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI).
Threatened to throw out written test for Promotion in 2014 for Lt to Capt based upon an investigated and unfounded claim of discrimination by a member of SCFD.
Arbitrarily changed testing year and education required to test for Division Chief in 2014. Testing for Division Chief is held in odd years opposite LT/Capt testing in even years.
Failed to monitor and equally administer promotion testing in 2016 for LT & Capt. Testing resulted in a complete RETEST of all Candidates.
Implemented a Management Contract against the principles and integrity surrounding Bargaining in Good Faith and published language that requires the Promotional Lists for BOTH Lt & Capt to expire effective May 1, 2016. Enforcement of the INVOKED MANAGEMENT CONTRACT requires another RETEST in 2016 based upon this language.
Arbitrarily changed education required to test for Division Chief AGAIN in 2016; contradicting current Job Description as published as well as SOP 1.5.7.
Promoted a firefighter to the position of Deputy Fire Marshal after testing and selection process; later to advise firefighter this would not be a job classification change and/or promotion. This became a lateral transfer with 56 hour pay as an OPS firefighter being converted to 40 hour pay.
Promoted 2 OPS firefighters to Lt with no compensation for promotion under the terms and conditions of the expired MOA and past practices of SCFD. No Acting Lt pay for this same time was compensated in place of minimum promotion pay increase as well.
Promoted 2 OPS Lt’s to Capt and pay compensation for promotion was not followed under the terms and conditions of the expired MOA and past practices of SCFD. No Acting Capt pay for this same time was compensated in place of minimum promotion pay increase as well.
Administration continues to be compensated under PFP at an above average rate when continuous errors and problems occur within structure.
Fire Chief proclaims he has been unfairly/unjustly measured and blamed for things that a previous Fire Chief had 20 years’ experience at performing. Has stated to multiple crews that no mentoring/training was provided or given and learning curve is LIVE and on the fly. The question then, why is the current Fire Chief making more in Compensation than the previous Fire Chief with 20 years’ experience?
Top 3 Executive exempt Chief Officers have access to collect and/or have collected EDP compensation for hours worked over 40 in a week. No other department head or exempt staff in Sedgwick County/Public Safety have this ability. Wichita Fire Department & Wichita Police Department do not offer this either.
See #7 under PROMOTIONS.
See #8 under PROMOTIONS.
2014 immediate change of department t-shirt was ordered and authorized by the Fire Chief and carried out by Division Chief in Fire Prevention with assistance from member’s downtown.
Immediate termination of station t-shirt wear and purchase was ordered and authorized by the Fire Chief.
2016 Labor/Management negotiations resulted in a Tentative Agreement by both parties for return of approved design station t-shirts for wear and purchase; Management invoked Contract excluded this agreement.
2016 polyester/polyester blend articles of uniform clothing are made available for members of SCFD to purchase and wear while on-duty. This violates NFPA 1975 and also violates the longstanding past practice of SCFD Labor and Management priorities on members’ Safety, Health, and Wellness.
Hiring Standards of a minimum written test score of a 75 adopted by a joint Labor Management Committee and implemented by previous Fire Chief to increase SCFD quality of applicants was arbitrarily LOWERED to a score of 70.
Lifting weight requirements during pre-employment testing were lowered from the upper limits allowed to the LOWEST limit permitted under the published standard. (I.E. Easier to pass).
Recruit Academy Instructors were micro-managed and threatened with discipline up to and including termination related to Recruit Academy Policies that they were told had been approved and were enforceable.
Fire Chief station talks involve continual threats of termination related to accusations of hurt feelings, picking on someone, singling out an individual, or the impression of harassment related to job description and requirements.
A firefighter while on-duty and after MULTIPLE requests to use personal sick leave was given a direct order to take an EMS Ambulance ride to a local ER for evaluation by a Chief Officer and referred for further testing by a specialist. Upon release for return to work, and AFTER Risk Management member emailed that all bills related to the event should be forwarded for payment---payment was DENIED. Firefighter was made to pay co-pays and deductibles on personal insurance after collections letters were mailed and Management refused to accept responsibility for their direct order for transport.
A firefighter had a "near-miss" incident while attending training certification on his days off. When he inquired whether or not he was "covered" in the event of injury/death while performing off-duty training as it relates to taking care of his family financially he was advised by Risk Management members NO COVERAGE. This firefighter was then ridiculed and harassed by members of SCFD due to refusing to participate in off-duty/uncompensated training from this point forward.
SCFD Administration continues to show they no longer put the safety of our members as one of their top priorities. They have proven this by continually running stations short on a daily basis. It is now not uncommon to have a 5 person station running with 3 personnel and being backed up by a station running with 2 personnel on an Engine.
Instead of maintaining a well-trained and highly skilled full time Fire District, our Administration continues to lower the standards and reduce the quality of service of SCFD by promoting the hiring of part-time personnel and recruiting volunteers to fill full time vacancies.
For the first time in Fire District history we are seeing early retirements and resignations by members directly related to the poor leadership by SCFD Administration.
LABOR / MANAGEMENT RELATIONS –
Non-existent due to Management feels attacked by Labor at every turn. (Refer to above issues and justify accordingly).
Labor continues to try and dialog and resolve issues thru Chain of Command before filing Grievances; plausible deniability happens due to Management breaks in communication/"nobody ever talked to me directly" answers.
Decisions are made outside the Chain of Command related to department and Accountability, Responsibility, Ethics, Integrity, and Morality are used as punching bag words with no depth of meaning.
Members of Management have such hatred towards Labor that they will take personal attacks and initiate unfounded investigations on members of Labor. They have also tried to coerce members of Labor and Management to “make friends” with Labor Executives and “try to get them to incriminate themselves and document it” all in an effort to terminate the employment of specific members of Labor.
Even with Labor going above and beyond in trying to repair/initiate good Labor/Management relations, Labor is continually met with defiance and immediate lack of cooperation by members of SCFD Administration.
In conclusion, the items listed above and multiple others are what have put our once Fully Accredited and cutting edge Fire District into the unfortunate state it is now in, thanks to the current Administration and Leadership we are currently suffering from.
IAFF Local 2612 Secretary/Treasurer Firefighter Bo Whelchel