Well not really but for some reason he sure thought it was a good one. It was also one he pulled before. In December 2011 Ayers announced mass transfers of the Philadelphia Fire Department Medics. Now the same misguided hatred of the members of Local 22 has extended to the Firefighters also.
On November 1 2012 Commissioner Lloyd Ayers Issued General Memorandum #12-134 Here is that GM.
PHILADELPHIA FIRE DEPARTMENT
GENERAL MEMORANDUM #12-134 November 1, 2012
TO : All Officers and Members
REF/AUTHORITY : Deputy Commissioner Operations / Fire Commissioner
SUBJECT : FIREFIGHTER ROTATION – 2013
The Department will initiate an annual Firefighter (FF) rotation process that will facilitate the reassignment of approximately 15-20% of FF’s annually. This process will result in most FF’s serving in any given assignment for approximately five years. This change will ensure that all FF’s have equal opportunity to work in various assignments and acquire diverse skills. Rotation of FF’s will enhance their ability to achieve greater opportunities to facilitate upward mobility through the ranks, if desired. Additionally, by ensuring that all FF’s serve at least one rotation in the busiest battalions during their career, the on-the-job training that results from experience is more likely to occur.
This year’s rotation will include: 156 FF’s who have been in their current assignment for 10 years or more, 57 FF’s of Classes #183 and #184 who are in the same assignment since graduation, and 40 members from each of the graduating classes #186 and #187. The 2013 rotation will encompass 293 members.
The following year will include FF’s who have been in their current assignment for 8 years or more, members of classes #185 and Alpha Class who are in the same assignment since graduation and the remaining 80 members of classes #186 and #187.
This process of opening up assignments by including groups of FF’s with 5 years of service in the same assignment and those with less than 5 years of service will provide a sustainable model that will ensure that the average assignment duration for all FF’s will last approximately 5 years. This will ensure that all members have equal access to the assignments that they deem most preferable to them. Additionally, the Department will benefit from a wider number of FF’s with diverse experiences and opportunities to impact on Fire Prevention, Community Risk Reduction, and participate in the time-tested on-the-job training that enhances personnel development.
All rotating members must submit a memorandum through channels to Car 2’s Office, listing five (5) separate company choices (members should not list the same assignment with a different platoon choice [if applicable] for their next assignment). Members may elect to list their current assignment as a choice but should realize that the purpose of this rotation is to open up assignment opportunities and making such a choice would be considered a low priority for this process. The lists of assignment choices for this rotation are attached. All new assignments will not take effect until after January 1, 2013.
It is the responsibility of all Company Officers/Unit Heads to ensure that all members under their command who are scheduled for rotation submit the required memorandum. Members are to list their five (5) choices in order of preference. Members will also list all previous assignments with the most recent listed first. All memos are due by 1700 hours, November 30, 2012. The Department will attempt to accommodate as many requests as possible with the goal of ensuring more members are afforded the opportunity to work in various areas of the city.
These lame arguments about training are the same ones used when the Medics got transferred. Here was Deputy Commissioner Ernie Hargett in December 2011 in a CBS report. “We thought it was good employee development to allow people to move around and work in different parts of the city.” Obviously the folks at 3rd and Spring garden have not been listening to the fire radio much. There is not a medic in the city that has not been dispatched to the other end of the city. That is if there are units available. So why do this again?
Simple, Commissioner Ayers is upset that the people he presumes to lead don’t like his style or manner. In fact he was so upset about the members telling folks that they were being put in harm’s way by the Ayers/Nutter plan for the department that he issued a different memo banning them from saying on any social media other than LinkedIn that they were proud members of the Philadelphia Fire Department.
So whats the big deal? Well first of all many members have worked for years to get to a station they really wanted. Once there they stay and learn everything about the area they work. Shortcuts, Dead Ends, and buildings too. These firefighters earned the name “Senior” firefighter. This is an informal term used by the firefighters for the guy who is the informal teacher and leader of the company. He is also the confidant to the officer. The guy who give the officer the heads up on each member making the once every three-year transition to a new officer smoother for everybody. His knowledge and experience is the basis of the training for any new firefighter that comes into the company.
Ayers misguided plan is to transfer every senior firefighter from every station in the city. The guy who can guide the truck to your house faster. The guy who steadies the ship. If you look at the memo you will see that same comment about training. But let me demonstrate the stupidity of this plan.
I know a firefighter who has been at his company over 10 years. He lives close to the firehouse and is nearing the end of his career. His name appears on the list of members that Lloyd wants to transfer. Now for the record he does not work in what is a busy station. This of course is by design. He is ready to retire and wants to go quietly. But under Commissioner Ayers plan he will need to transfer and somebody else will be put in that spot for “training”. I can tell you from first hand experience this is not the place to go if you want vast experience in firefighting. The local is a complex one with many tricky roads and other obstacles. The new guy won’t know this. That beibng said many of these members don’t want to leave these stations they are there because they want to be. Obviously Lloyd Ayers doesn’t!
This plan puts the people of Philadelphia if more danger than they already are. It will as Union President Bill Gault said about the similar medic transfers, increase response times. Time you need in a fire situation.
Moral in the department might bottom out, but this author is sure that is the intent of Commissioner Ayers. He cares nothing about his men only his soiled reputation. No amount of transfers will ever raise Lloyd to the level of some of the best commissioners the Philadelphia Fire Department ever knew. In fact I am pretty sure he just locked up the worst fire commissioner in the country with this move.
Let’s call him and tell him he is wrong again 215-686-1300.