Friday, August 3, 2007

Albero is way off course

Any one that has read the Watch Desk for any amount of time knows it is a den of half-truths, speculation, rumors, and scandal. Not all those that post there are litigious and it is quite easy to recognize those that aren’t by paying attention to the manner in which they present their views. I would venture to say someone new to the site and not of the a fire service background would do well to spend quite a bit time reading and understanding the issues before posting anything or forming opinions. Not so with Albero. He has again taken the word of his mole(s) within the Salisbury Fire Department and has managed to veer so far off course I doubt that a GPS from NASA could get him close to being on track. Not that he ever was anyway. His perspective of the new policy concerning the volunteers is at best clouded. Totally obscured is probably a better analysis. But again, that’s nothing new for Albero

Hearken all who gather here. A brief explanation is in order to understand the system in place for the volunteer firefighters in Salisbury.

In order to remain in good standing with in the department a member is required to maintain a 35% attendance record of meetings, drills and bell alarms. This figure is set by the volunteer organization and not by the administration. Over the years with increase in alarms, more stringent certification requirements, expanded scope of responsibility, and an extended meeting schedule it has become more difficult for members to meet the attendance requirements. It has also become more difficult for employers to release their employees from work to attend alarms or even be sympathetic to the fact that an employee may have spent several hours in the middle of the night serving the citizens. Such is the nature of an ever-growing city.

In the not distant past a new idea was hatched in order to make it easier for the volunteers to garner the 35% required to maintain good standing. That being each volunteer would be given credit for standing by at the station for a given number of hours each month. This gave each member another option to earn credit at his or her convenience. Any combination of meeting, alarms, drills, and hours committed to the station could be used to earn the required percentage. Problems arose with this plan. It was never possible to know for sure what the staffing of a station would be from day to day. Many members may choose the same period of time to be on stand-by. This would result in an over abundance of staff one day and lack of such luxury the next. Although the program is still in use, a better more comprehensive operation was needed.
One that would:
1) Improve staffing for the shifts.
2) Not create a hardship on individual member,
3) Maintain the option of choosing a time to serve.

In order accomplish this a senior officer of the volunteer division was asked to formulate such a plan. He did.

All the changes proposed were made by this senior line officer. The key word here is “proposed”. Chief See did not compose, institute or mandate any change as of yet. He probably never will, rather he will only approve or disapprove of the plan once it is carefully reviewed and presented to the membership.

How does the new plan work? It’s very simple. The current active volunteer force has been divided into 4 platoons. Each of these platoons are designated A, B, C, and D. This matches the battalion designations for the career division. Each platoon is made up of 6 to 8 members. Now—The career shifts work 24 on and 72 off. In other words the shifts work every 4th day. The new plan calls for 1 member of the volunteer platoon to work a shift of 14 hrs (5:00 pm to 7:00 am) each time that the battalion they are assigned to works. Each battalion works an average of 7 days a month. If a volunteer platoon has 6 to 8 members, this means that an each member will only be required to obligate their self at the most 2 shifts a month and more often than not only 1 shift a month. Remember this is a 14-hour shift—not a 24-hour one and it will a time period of their choosing, not the administration.

The goal is to better guarantee staffing on a regular basis when it is needed most. It also improves the member’s opportunity to earn and maintain the percentage required by the volunteer organization to stay in good standing. The members are also offered the ability to choose which of the 7 or 8 nights per month their platoon is obligated to fill. A long term goal, and I am assured this is long term, is that when membership roles increase it will be possible to not only increase staffing of a single engine, but to completely man an additional capitol piece of apparatus.

What this plan does not do. I have been assured that this plan does not in any way limit any volunteer from responding to any alarm that has been sounded. Any attempt to impose such is ludicrous. It does not limit any member from spending additional hours on shift if he or she so desires. Extra staffing is always most welcome.
Any member showing up for an alarm will be given full credit for such regardless if they are "on Shift" or not. It is simply preposterous to think otherwise. Why on earth would anyone deny credit to a volunteer for doing what they are supposed to do? Why don't you take another hard left Albero, you certainly missed the "right" on this one.

So Albero, how about you do some real reporting instead listening to some wannabe that can’t extinguish candle with a deluge gun. (Know what that is?) And your idea of a name change is stellar also. I am sure they will jump on that one and change a few hundred years of tradition across the entire country (and the whole world for that matter) because you say it is a good idea. From what I have read a good idea to you is as foreign as a china man in the Amazon.
Teams belong to sports. Firefighters belong to brotherhoods, or did you forget?

This is a big story not reported by real news organizations? I don’t think so. This is not an earth-shattering event. It is merely a proposed change of policy within the Salisbury Fire Department. It affects no one but its members.

Are Ocean City paramedics making $100,000? Maybe they do with plenty of overtime but certainly not as a base salary. Did See and Gordy screw up with poor management? Not on this issue. It was conceived from within the volunteer leadership. Chief See did not in any way mandate this change.
Lost revenue from fund raising? Why don’t you tell us all you know about the millions of dollars in fund raising done by the Salisbury Fire Department Albero? This should be interesting. By the way Albero, I promise you my source for this information is far more reliable than yours. I did go the horse’s mouth and it wasn’t Chief See or DC Gordy. The horse’s mouth to which I refer is the sole author of this plan. Certainly not a mole that aligned himself with you in order to gain some sort of notoriety by riding on your coattail


TomCat said...

WTG Soap, thanks for enlightening us. Keep up the good work of proving what a sh*t stirrer Albero is.

Gunpowder Chronicler said...


I don't doubt what you have written (my own inquiries had turned up bits and pieces of the same).

But I am curious-- is your source official, or off the record?

Soapbox said...

My source is 100% official. I cleared the entire article with the author of this plan and he gave me permission to post it.