Monday, December 25, 2006

Dan Renner endorses Greg Borg for Local 29 President...

Brothers and Sisters,

First, I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement during the campaign. Even though I came up short, I appreciated the opportunity to talk with everyone and hear your ideas and concerns. While I have disagreed with Greg Borg in the past as to the best way to do the business of Local 29, I have never doubted his passion for the Fire Service, and Local 29. From the Labor/Management table, to City Hall, to Olympia, Greg has been working on our behalf since before most of us were even on the job. In light of the challenges we are facing in the upcoming years(s), there is no question in my mind that Greg is the best choice, and deserves to remain at the helm of Local 29. Over the course of my campaign, I repeatedly stressed that I would have a learning curve if elected even after my years on the Executive Board, committees and the like. For someone to come in cold, at this crucial time for us, the learning curve would be even greater. In my opinion, that’s something we cannot risk. I support Greg Borg for re-election as President of Local 29, and would encourage everyone who voted for me initially to vote for Greg as well.

Dan Renner

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Fire Press Release

DATE OF INCIDENT: 12/23/2006
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99201

NARRATIVE: This morning, December 23, 2006 at 05:17 hours, the Spokane Fire Department responded to a reported house fire located at 2812 W Mallon.

Engine 3, the first fire company arrived within 5 minutes. Engine 3's Officer reported smoke showing from the east side of the second floor of a single family home. Fire crews verified that all family members had escaped the fire before attacking the fire. Fire crews immediately advanced pre-connected hose lines into the home. The fire, which started in the ceiling of the first floor extended up the home's exterior walls and into the attic area of the second floor. 28 Fire Fighters brought the fire under control within 20 minutes and the majority of the home and contents were saved.

Cold winter conditions contributed to the challenges at this fire. This was the second "working fire" during the night time hours where water from fire hydrants was brought into play. Dealing with wet, frozen hose and fire clothing is routine during these cold periods.

There were no injuries at this fire. The family, (two adults and one child) were alerted to smoke in the home by their child who was having difficulty sleeping. The child's parents had invested in their families' safety by recently servicing the home's smoke detectors. These detectors did eventually activate and would have warned the family of the fire. Old electrical wiring in the home's ceiling appears to have been the cause of this fire.

PROBABLE CAUSE: Old electrical wiring.
DAMAGE EXTENT: Ceiling and Walls first and second floors.
MUTUAL AID: None Given

City councilmember submissions regarding Greg Borg...

“Greg spells out the issues in terms we all can understand. I appreciate his straight talk and input.” Councilman Bob Apple

“I am impressed with his presentations to City Council. He is an informed communicator and I, as a new council member appreciate that.” Nancy McLaughlin, Council Member

“I have the greatest respect for Mr. Borg. He is a man of integrity and an excellent communicator. I know that I will get the truth from Greg when I ask him about an issue.” Al French, Councilman

“I have always appreciated the way in which Lt. Borg presents Fire Department issues and his direct communications with the council.” Councilwoman Mary Verner

Fire Press Release

ISSUING OFFICER: Battalion Chief Joel Fielder
DATE OF INCIDENT: 12/22/2006
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
CITY: Spokane

NARRATIVE: On December 22, 2006, the Spokane Fire Department responded at approximately11.40 PM to 921 North Ash. The first crew on-scene reported smoke showing at the back of a 2-story, wood framed apartment building extending from the main floor to the roof. Fire fighters found the fire in a concealed crawl space located at the back of the structure. The fire had vented through an opening in the foundation and was extending up the vinyl siding to the second floor when it was extinguished. Additional fire crews completed search and rescue, ventilation and salvage and overhaul. The fire was brought under control within 30 minutes and there were no reported injuries to the occupants or firefighters. Eight fire companies with 26 firefighters responded to this fire and were on scene for approximately 2 hours. The Spokane Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to stress the importance of working Smoke Detectors in your home as they played a vital role in alerting the occupant of this apartment who was home at the time of the fire.
PROBABLE CAUSE: The cause of the fire is under investigation by Fire Investigators Lieutenant Greg McClatchey and Captain Kevin Smathers and they may be contacted at 625-7053.
DAMAGE EXTENT: Fire damage was confined to the exterior siding on the north side of the structure and the crawl space in the basement with smoke damage through out the rest of the structure
MUTUAL AID: None Given

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Greg Borg Letter

To all my brothers and sisters,

Here we are, a few days from Christmas and the election is not over yet! Never before in my 31 years as a firefighter and 29 years of union involvement have I seen a tie in an election. This says a lot about your mood and thinking. Thank you for the reality check.

But first, a big thanks to all of you who have trusted me with your vote. I have talked with Doug Bacon and Dan Renner to get their input about what people are telling them. Thanks to them for their insights and their endorsements for my reelection. I have also talked to many of you during this campaign process about your concerns. This job of union president is never easy, and when decisions are made many may be happy with the result, but some are not. I have strived to do my best for everyone; that is my job as union president. It is also important to protect the minority’s view and make sure they are respectfully heard. In six years of decisions, I have made some mistakes and perhaps not followed through for the minority view when I should have. Needless to say, I have learned a lot in the past two months of campaigning. Thank you.

With your support, together we can fix the things that you want fixed and foster better communication to make job improvements for all of us. I have heard your worries and unease, and I am making the adjustments that I need to make.

The elections committee is mailing the ballots Friday the 22nd, so we can have the election complete by the January 9th union meeting.

I will be in the office over the next two weeks. If you need anything or have ideas, please call or stop by.

Merry Christmas to you and your families. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!

In unity, Greg

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Newsletter On Hold...

Valued Readers,

This afternoon, Greg talked to me about the newsletter. We had planned on getting it out today along with news of who won the election. He had felt that it was important to wait until the end of the election so he wouldn't have an unfair electoral advantage speaking as president in the usual "President's Message." So today was to be the day. But now, it looks like it'll be January before the newsletter comes out - unless there's another tie!

So, even though neither Greg nor Chris won yesterday, there was one winner - your newsletter editor - with yet another reprieve. Happy Holidays! Another Mexican huevo nog - and don't skimp on the tequilla this time!!



Doug Bacon endorses Greg Borg for Local 29 President...

Brothers & Sisters,
I had planned to stay out of this and maybe my opinion doesn't matter to any of you. If it does, this is what I think.
Chris is energetic & willing to learn, but there really is an awful lot to learn and little time to learn it. Greg has spent almost his entire firefighting career working for the betterment of firefighters. Chris is the "outsider" with many new and interesting ideas and a willingness for "outside" opinions, but no experience in dealing with the Administration & City as a negotiator. Greg hasn’t always appeared to listen to “outside" opinions, but he tells me that this will definitely change. Chris's inexperience in how the union "works" will mean it has to take him some time to learn the rules, as we do have to follow the rules of the State of Washington, the WSCFF, the IAFF and the other labor organizations we belong to. Greg knows what a Union is and how it works. If Chris is elected, can he get things done, I’m just not sure he can. If Greg is reelected will he continue his way of doing things, he tells me that things will change. That is really the question, is it time for new leadership. I think it is time for a new leadership style. Greg brings the experience to find the way to change things. This election will not give either one of them a "mandate" and I truly hope the winner realizes this! The bottom line is that I believe Greg will be able to better lead this Union with our help. If Greg takes this opportunity to reach out to the disaffected and encourages everyone on this job to communicate their thoughts and ideas to the Union, we can make progressive changes to this Union and improved benefits for us.
Doug Bacon

Fire Press Release

ISSUING OFFICER: Mike Inman / Battalion Chief
DATE OF INCIDENT: 12/20/2006
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
INCIDENT ADDRESS: 5807 N. Division Apt. 32
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99207

NARRATIVE: At 12:51 am December 20, 2006 the Spokane Fire Department responded to 5807 N. Division on an apartment fire. The first fire crew on scene reported light smoke coming from a 2nd floor apartment. Upon entering the apartment they were met with a kitchen fire and heavy smoke. Both adults in the apartment at the time got out on their own but the female resident complained of smoke inhalation and a tightness in her chest. She was transported to Holy Family Hospital in Spokane Washington. The Fire Department responded 3 Engine companies, 1 Ladder, 1 Pumper Ladder, 1 Rescue and 2 Battalion Chiefs. A quick knock down of the fire prevented it from getting into the structure and the fire was contained to contents of 1 apartment. Red Cross was called to assist the apartment resident as the apartment sustained significant heat and smoke damage. All other apartment residents in the building were allowed back into their apartments shortly after knocking the fire down. 25 Firefighters were on scene about 30 minutes when the fire was reported contained. There were no Firefighter injuries. Fire damage to the kitchen was significant with heat and smoke damage throughout the apartment. The fire will be looked at by an investigator but initial impression is a fire caused by combustible materials on the kitchen stove and a burner on. It cannot be overstressed the importance of not leaving a kitchen stove unattended when in use.
PROBABLE CAUSE: Combustables unattended on a kitchen stove that was turned on.
DAMAGE EXTENT: Significant damage to the kitchen, heat and smoke damage throughout the rest of the apartment. Confined to one apartment in the building
MUTUAL AID: None Given

Chris Phillips Letter

Brothers and Sisters,
I just wanted to thank you all for the overwhelming support during this never ending presidential campaign. Your letters, phone calls, and words of encouragement have been humbling to say the least. I appreciate all the challenging questions and the opportunity you’ve given me to discuss the things which are important to each of you. I hope I have been able to answer your questions thoroughly and thoughtfully while at the same time expressing my position in a satisfactory manner. If I've accomplished nothing else it’s clear that I provided at least 137 of you with some additional cannon fodder! I’ll be out of town for the holidays, but if anyone has a question or comment, please feel free to email me at I should be able to check my email while out of town -- unless sand or beer manages to destroy my computer first! Tis the season, so again I wish to say thank you. I am proud to work alongside each and every one of you, and wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.
Chris Phillips

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fire Press Release

ISSUING OFFICER: Ken Kirsch Battalion Chief
DATE OF INCIDENT: 12/17/2006
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99201

NARRATIVE: On 12/17/06 at approximately 0840 hrs units of the Spokane Fire Department responded to 3908 E 2nd upon report of a house on fire. First arriving units found heavy smoke coming from an approximately 900 square foot, one story, single family residence. These crews were also able to determine that all occupants of the house had exited safely prior to SFD arrival on scene. Fire Department crews advanced pre-connected hose-lines in the front door of the structure and extinguished a fire in the kitchen area. While the fire was being extinguished, others crew members laddered the roof of the building, set-up fans to ventilate smoke from the house, and established a water supply for engine operations. The fire was extinguished within approximately 10 minutes with overhaul of the fire area continuing for about the next hour. Damage to the structure included fire damage to the kitchen and an adjacent utility room, with smoke damage evident throughout.

A total of 34 firefighters on 12 apparatus responded to this incident. No injuries were reported to either firefighters or civilians.

Three tenants occupied this structure two adult males and one adult female. The structure is considered un-tenable at this time and the Red Cross is working to find housing for those displaced.

PROBABLE CAUSE: The cause of the fire has been determined to be a cooking fire. Cooking oil was being heated on the stove, it was left unattended, and the oil ignited. The fire then spread from the stove to surrounding materials in the kitchen.

It should be noted that the house did have a smoke detector but that the battery had been taken out so it could be replaced. Unfortunately the new battery had not been re-installed. This incident could have easily been a tragedy as the tenants were asleep at the time the incident started and were actually awakened by the smoke from the fire itself. Fortunately in this incident all tenants were able to safely exit the structure. The Spokane Fire Department would like to remind everyone that fire detectors do save lives but only if they are in proper working condition. Test all smoke detectors often and change the batteries often.
DAMAGE EXTENT: Damage to the structure included fire damage to the kitchen and an adjacent utility room, with smoke damage evident throughout.
MUTUAL AID: None Given

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bone Marrow Donor needed for a local child.

Hello All,

I would like to challenge all firefighters of Spokane County to step up to the plate and help out a local child who is in dire need. Four-month-old Caden Atchley has Severe Immune Deficiency Syndrome, and is in need of a bone marrow transplant in an attempt to save her life. After a nationwide search, they still haven't found a donor match. And that's where you come in. You could be the lucky match for Caden. For more info on her, go to and scroll down almost to the bottom.

On Thursday, the 21st of December at 10:00 a.m., the Inland Northwest Blood Center (INBC) will be at Spokane's Fire Station One. They will be gathering DNA samples from local area firefighters looking for a potential donor for Caden. All that is required is 20 minutes of your time to fill out paperwork (medical history), and a simple swab from the inside of your mouth.

If you wish to pick up your paperwork early, you can do so at the Inland Northwest Blood Center anytime or at Fire Station One, starting on Monday the 18th. For on-duty crews, Chief Schaeffer has approved you to rotate down on Thursday. Just let dispatch know. If you are unable to make it on Thursday, you can go to INBC anytime and identify yourself as a firefighter and they will give you the paperwork and take your sample.

In this time of giving, you may be lucky enough to give someone the ultimate present - the gift of life!

Kevin Haughton

City of Spokane Fire Department

Station 1 B

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Santa Float...

Had a very good time. I think there are sill slots available. Amaze your friends and neighbors. Wake up babies. Set dogs howling. Get flipped off by gangstas and sneered at by the police. The next day they will all wonder if it was just a yuletide dream.

Contact Station 8 to sign up!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Firedog Contest...

Hi, Bill –

My name is Rachelle Lacroix. I am getting in touch with Local 29 on behalf of Circuit City and its brand new service, firedog, which has inspired a new nationwide “firedog Across America” contest to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to America’s firefighters. Click on the following link to view the contest site, featuring Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: We’d be thrilled if you could let Local 29 readers know about the contest so they can help raise money for America’s fire safety professionals and win great prizes.

Circuit City’s new service, firedog, is a one-stop shop for consumers’ technology needs: Circuit City’s firedog technicians install, optimize, repair, and make technology purchases simple so consumers don't have to waste time with piles of manuals and tricky cables.

To help commemorate and launch the new firedog service in a unique, cause-focused way, Circuit City developed the contest, “firedog Across America,” which will provide great donations and prizes to local firehouses and the consumers that nominate them!

The contest works like this:

1.) Tell firedog Your Story
Tell firedog your personal story about how a local firehouse has demonstrated service to your community. If your story is chosen as one of 10 finalists, you will receive a $10,000 home “techover” from firedog and your fire station will receive a $20,000 donation.

2.) America Votes
Once the 10 finalist firehouses have been chosen, the stories will be posted on and America will vote for their favorite.

3.) The Best Part, Everyone Wins
All of the finalist firehouses win. For every vote cast for a finalist firehouse, that finalist firehouse will receive a $1.00 donation (total donations based on voting for all 10 firehouses not to exceed $250,000). After 16 days, the station with the most votes will be the national grand-prize winner and receive an additional $100,000 donation!

The firedog Across America contest was launched last week. As part of the launch, Circuit City and firedog also presented $100,000 donations to both the FDNY Foundation, which supports New York City Fire Department initiatives, and the National Law Enforcement and Firefighters Children's Foundation for its efforts in helping children of law enforcement and firefighting personnel. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New York City Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta were on hand to receive the donations.

Again, we wanted to share information about the firedog Across America contest on Local 29 in hopes that you would let your readers know about it and help us honor and generate donations for America’s fire safety community. Please let us know if you decide to let your readers know about it and let me know if I can provide you with any other information!



Rachelle Lacroix
Fleishman-Hillard, for firedog

Monday, December 11, 2006

fire Press Release

ISSUING OFFICER: Mike Inman / Battalion Chief
DATE OF INCIDENT: 12/11/2006
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
INCIDENT ADDRESS: 239 W. Cleveland
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99205

NARRATIVE: At 10:56 AM on December 11, 2006 the Spokane Fire Department responded to a house fire at 239 W. Cleveland. The first crews on scene reported a lot of smoke coming from the residence and upgraded the fire to a "working fire" which added another fire apparatus and an investigator to the incident. The fire, which is under investigation by the Spokane Fire Department, was aggressively attacked and with coordinated ventilation was quickly brought under control. Firefighters also did a complete search of the house to make sure nobody was inside. Fire crews remained on scene until the investigation was completed. Nobody was home at the time of the fire and the resident was eventually contacted. There were no civilian or Firefighter injuries. Four Engine Companies, two Ladder Trucks, one Pumper Ladder, one Rescue unit and two Battalion Chiefs responded for a total number of 30 fire personnel. One incident occurred at the fire scene that the Spokane Fire Department needs the assistance of the public on. During the active firefighting a private vehicle heading east on Cleveland ran over the fire hoses going into the house for fire attack. This is not only illegal but dangerous to citizens trapped in the fire as well as the safety of the Firefighters inside the fire. Our primary means of fire attack and protection is the water in those hoses. When a vehicle runs over the hose damage can result to the point of stopping the flow of water at the nozzle.
PROBABLE CAUSE: Under investigation by the Spokane Fire Department
DAMAGE EXTENT: West wall, interior and exterior, part of the roof and significant fire damage to about 1/5 of the second floor. Smoke damage throughout the second floor
MUTUAL AID: None Given

Union Meeting - Tuesday the 12th, plus some other items...

Due to a lack of stuff to put in the newsletter, there won't be a December WORKER until after December's union meeting. I like to get the newsletter in your mailbox right before the union meeting, as a reminder that there's a union meeting coming soon - so please let this posting serve that purpose this month.

Between family tragedies and campaigning, our usual contributors have been understandably busy, or tied up with other stuff. But, as soon as I get their articles, I will put the newsletter together and get it to you.

Also, don't forget if you want to receive the newsletter as a PDF that you can read on your computer please let me know. Quite a few brothers and sisters opt to have both an electronic version and the printed one.

Some of you have been asking about the fire incident press releases that have been showing up on the blog. Chief Schaeffer has been sending these (and other releases) to the news media. He's also forwarding them to me, so I can post them on the blog. Thanks Brian. I think we all appreciate the work you are doing to get the word out. It's also great for us to see what kind of fires the other shifts are getting.

Thanks for reading, John

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Another Fire...

ISSUING OFFICER: Battaloin Chief Dan Brown
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
INCIDENT ADDRESS: 307 West 2nd Ave
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99201

NARRATIVE: On December the 8th at 5:44 p/m the City of Spokane Fire Department responded to 307 West 2nd Ave to a reported room fire in the Tscany Apartments. Upon arrival it was reported that light smoke was showing from the second floor. Fire crews entered the building and discovered a room on fire on the second floor. A search was immediately conducted on the second and third floors to check for possible trapped tenants and at the same time attack leads were advanced to fight and extinguish the fire. This took about fifteen minutes to knock down the main body of fire. Over haul and final extinguishment took about three hours. No one was located during the search. The fire was confined to the room of origin and there was no spread upward. Sixteen rooms were occupied in the twenty five room apartment. Light smoke was sent throughout the second and third floors. The fire room suffered extensive damage causing the tenant to be displaced. Red Cross was assisting those tenants who need help. No injuries were reported. The fire was determined to be accidental electrical. Nine fire apparatus and two command vehicles were dispatched to this incident for a total of thirty personnel.
PROBABLE CAUSE: Accidental electrical
DAMAGE EXTENT: Room of origin total loss
DOLLAR LOSS: 30,000.00
MUTUAL AID: None Given

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Some sad news...

SSUING OFFICER: Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Chief
INCIDENT TYPE: Information
INCIDENT ADDRESS: 44 West Riverside
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99201

NARRATIVE: The Spokane Fire Department was notified by the King County Medical Examiner's office last night with news that Taiylor Dawley had passed away at 1825 at Harborview Medical Center. Taiylor was rescued by SFD Firefighters early Sunday morning when her home received significant damage from an accidental fire on the second floor.

The news of three-year Taiylor Dawley passing away has stunned the entire SFD family. I personally cannot imagine any pain more severe to a Firefighter than that suffered when a child dies. Our deepest condolences go out to Taiylor's family at this heart-wrenching time. Her passing is particularly distressing to the members of the SFD and SPD due to the extreme heroic efforts made by both agencies to rescue her from the second floor apartment.

Please know that the thoughts and prayers of our organization are with the family during this highly difficult time.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Holy Smokes! Church Fire Press Release - December 5th...

ISSUING OFFICER: Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Chief
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99201

NARRATIVE: On Tuesday, December 05, 2006 at 10:19 AM, two Spokane Fire Department companies; one Engine and One Ladder from Station 4 were dispatched to an automatic alarm sounding at 115 West Riverside, the Lady of Lourdes Cathedral Church. Upon arrival, the company officer began investigating the cause of the alarm when a working fire in the foyer area of the Riverside entrance was discovered. The alarm was immediately upgraded by Acting Lieutenant Groe to a first alarm-working fire. Fire Chief Bobby Williams responded from the immediate area and assisted the initial crews by helping them stretch supply line and coordinate their efforts. After a large amount of smoke developed from the bell tower of the church and the potential for rapid fire spread was realized, a second alarm was requested. The second alarm resulted in Fire Dispatch assigning one Rescue Company, two Pumper/Ladders, eight Engines and two Senior Ladder companies under the direction of Battalion Chief Ken Kirsch and Bruce Moline. Arriving Firefighters assisted the Station 4 companies and initiated an aggressive interior attack focusing on confining the fire to its area of origin in the foyer while simultaneously confirming that all occupants of the church were evacuated and accounted for.

Engine and Ladder companies were successful in controlling the fire within 30-minutes. Ladder and Rescue companies worked diligently to protect and overhaul the church's property while also providing forced positive pressure into the building to clear the atmosphere inside. Companies were assigned on all of the building's floors to coordinate searches and locate hidden areas where fire potentially could have traveled. In all, nearly forty (40) Firefighters and Chief Officers were utilized to mitigate the incident. There were no injuries to civilians; however a Fire Officer was injured during a ladder company assignment.

PROBABLE CAUSE: The cause of the fire remains under investigation by SFD Investigators; however it has been ruled incendiary. The local office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been notified. The Spokane Fire Department is asking for anyone that may have information regarding this incident to please call 509-625-7052.
DAMAGE EXTENT: The main area of damage is located in the foyer. The contents near the origin of the fire and adjoining areas sustained significant damage and the entire building received varying levels of smoke damage.
MUTUAL AID: None Given

Greg Borg for President Letter.

I respectfully ask for your vote again to serve as your president.

Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you very much for your votes in the primary. More importantly, thank you for supporting the e-board’s request to redo our dues and build a legal defense fund. Your support on these issues will help assure the strength and stability of our Local in the coming years. I would also like to address a few issues.

Our future - together: While I’ve been president, I’ve tried to encourage active participation in Local 29. A union is about inclusiveness. And on some level, in the past six years, we’ve all had a say in our union’s direction. Many new members have sought e-board positions and have won them. They’ve worked hard for all of us. And I’ve always sought to have you vote on every major decision facing the body. When the chance came to buy the union office building, I thought it was a good idea. But, I made sure you decided. And with your vote, you agreed. And many of us joined together in the fight to gain firefighter representation on the LEOFF II Pension Board via I-790. Together, our individual donations of time, work and cold-hard cash won a big one for the whole job – even for those who contributed nothing. Your list of “wants” went in with me during every contract negotiation. During my term as president, we implemented the Local’s first budget. This, along with the support you just gave on dues and legal defense, gives the Local a bright financial future. Together, we are positioned in strength to win the issues of the future – whatever the future holds for us!

Experience: In this coming year, we will start negotiations for a new contract. I will use my experience to build a contract that, hopefully, will be even better than the last one. And our last contract was great - a 22% wage increase over the life of this contract! In addition, we gained more deferred comp, free uniforms, more gains for our medics, and water rescue finally received tech pay. You know how hard-fought this contract was. We gained these things not because the city likes us, or because they wanted to do the right thing. You know that we won only through tough bargaining. If I am elected again, I will do it again.

Knowledge: I have had the privilege of serving you, in some capacity, for the last 25 years. Over this time, I’ve attended around 50 educational seminars put on by the WSCFF, IAFF, L&I, labor council and LEOFF. I have worked in about 30 lobbying campaigns in Olympia and Washington DC - striving to protect and improve our bargaining rights and LEOFF II.

I have the knowledge to do the job. And, this knowledge is not just put to use during negotiations, but each day when you call, or when I’m meeting with the mayor, Bobby or the city council. I constantly deal with contract questions, LEOFF I and LEOFF II pension issues, L&I problems, disciplines and the city budget. For example, in the last few months, the knowledge of labor law has gained clothing and better shifts for Fire Prevention. You know the war stories. You know the battles. You know our string of wins. And you know the value of knowing what you need to know!

Passion and Integrity: I have dedicated 27 of my 31 years in the fire service to working for all of us. It has never been about me, or issues that just affect me - it has been about the body (you) and unionism. I have helped influence improvements in LEOFF II, and was on the L&I committee that re-wrote our safety standard three times.

I have had the integrity to stand up for what was right, and not let politics, friendship or personal gain affect my decisions or actions. And, I know this has angered some. But, I believe I have a charge to keep. That’s why you elected me.

In many ways, keeping this charge has proven successful. Mark, Mike and I have improved the Local’s relationship with the administration. We’ve done this only through hard-won respect. Things are better now than any time in the last 10 years. And things are only going to get better.

I have been there for you with knowledge, experience, passion and integrity. I am asking for your vote, so together we can build a great future for us and for all who follow.



As you decide on your vote for this election, please consider that the following e-board members: Greg Haff, Darryl Wisniewski, Bill Gonzalez and Thad Frater all support my re-election. I also have the full support of Mike Bacon and Mark Vietzke, as well as Dan Renner’s and Doug Bacon’s endorsement.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Another Fire Press Release! Yikes!

ISSUING OFFICER: Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Chief
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
INCIDENT ADDRESS: 2220 East 3rd Avenue
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99202

NARRATIVE: On December 4, 2006 at 07:26:13 AM, nine Spokane Fire Department companies; one Rescue Company, one Pumper/Ladder, four Engines and one Senior Ladder company under the direction of Battalion Chiefs Dan Brown and Bob Green responded to a report of a fire in the home at 2220 East 3rd Avenue.

Firefighters arrived on scene within 5-minutes and 38 seconds to find a two story home with smoke showing from the front of the house. Firefighters immediately began an aggressive interior attack and focused on confining the fire to its area of origin while simultaneously confirming that all three occupants were evacuated and accounted for. A grandmother and two teenage grandchildren were home at the time of the fire and awoken by their smoke alarm activating. They were able to evacuate safely primarily due to the early warning from the smoke detector and taking the time months prior to develop an evacuation plan.

Engine and Ladder companies were successful in controlling the fire within 15-minutes with the assistance of ventilation provided by Ladder companies. Firefighters were utilized to mitigate the incident in approximately 2 hours and there were no injuries to fire or civilian personnel.

PROBABLE CAUSE: The cause of the fire appears accidental and a portable electrical heater is to blame. The area of origin was determined to be located on the first floor and the home's "balloon" construction aided fire spread to the second floor.
DAMAGE EXTENT: The home's contents and interior walls were significantly damaged. The Spokane Chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting the family by providing temporary accommodations and clothing.
MUTUAL AID: None Given

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fire Press Release

ISSUING OFFICER: Joel Fielder/ Battalion Chief
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
CITY: Spokane

NARRATIVE: Today, December 3, 2006, the Spokane Fire Department responded at
approximately1:12 AM to 307 East Nora. As fire crews were responding, Fire
Dispatch reported that members of the Spokane Police Department were on scene
reporting a small child was trapped on the 2nd floor and would need to be
rescued. The first crew on-scene reported smoke and flames showing from the
2-story of wood framed apartment building. Fire fighters aggressively attacked
the fire from the back of the structure while a rescue team entered a second
floor window via a ground ladder placed at the front of the structure. Within a
matter of seconds the child was found on the living room floor of the apartment
and was transported to a local trauma hospital, where her status is unknown at
this time. Additional fire crews completed fire extinguishment, search and rescue, and salvage and overhaul. The fire was brought under control within
30 minutes and there were no reported injuries to firefighters. Nine fire
companies with 30 firefighters responded to this fire and were on scene through
out the remainder of the morning.
PROBABLE CAUSE: The cause of the fire is under investigation by Fire
Investigator Captain Mike Zambryski and he may be contacted at 625-7052.
DAMAGE EXTENT: Fire and smoke damage was confined to the second floor apartment.
MUTUAL AID: None Given

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Pres: will be a runoff between Phillips and Borg,
ballots will be mailed Monday.
*Phillips 94
*Borg 82
D. Bacon 44
Renner 39

*Waller 136
*Frater 131
Carr 86
R. Peterson 79
Cassell 44
Haughton 30

Awards Committee:
*Libby (I don't have the numbers)

*Rossi 222
*Matthews 210
Jones 62

Dues restructure: pass 75%
Legal Defense Fund: pass 72%
No Confidence vote on Leo Griffin: pass 93%


Still waiting for official results. But, I've heard Phillips was number one in the presidential election, followed by Borg. There will be a runoff between the two. I haven't heard about eboard elections, or the ballot propositions. I'll post it all when I have it.

Thanks, John

Another Fire Press Release

ISSUING OFFICER: Bruce Moline/Battalion Chief
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99201

NARRATIVE: On 12/1/06 at 5:55 P.M. the Spokane Fire Department responded with 3 engine companies, 2 ladder companies, a rescue unit and two battalion chiefs to a reported house on fire located at 1908 W. Dean in the city of Spokane. First in fire crews found a home that was well involved in flames on the second level. A rapid entry was made to search the structure for anybody still inside. At the same time hose lines were advanced to extinguish the fire. All occupants were not at home at the time of the fire and the fire was successfully extinguished in approximately 30 minutes. The tenant who lived in the house will be staying with a friend. The cause of this fire is unknown at this time; however it is currently under investigation. A total of 20 firefighters responded to this fire. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
PROBABLE CAUSE: Unknown at this time. Under investigation by the Spokane Fire Department Investigation Division.
DAMAGE EXTENT: Personal belongings, carpeting, walls, floors and ceilings. Smoke and water damage throughout the structure.
MUTUAL AID: None Given

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fire Press Release

ISSUING OFFICER: Battalion Chief
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
INCIDENT ADDRESS: 2515 East Upriver DR
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99207

NARRATIVE: On the evening of November 30th at 9:58 the city of Spokane Fire Department responded to 2515 East Upriver DR to a reported structure fire. E8 reported smoke and flames showing as they were approaching. Upon arrival E8 reported a one and a half story wood frame house fully involved in flames, it was confirmed that all occupants were out of the structure. Hose leads were placed to cover exposures and attack leads were advanced to the interior. A search was conducted to make sure that everyone was out and accounted for. The main body of fire took about thirty minutes to knock down, overhaul and final extinguishment was completed in about two hours. Cold weather and ice made it difficult for Firefighters to work. There were no injuries reported. A family of five that were displaced is being assisted by Red Cross. Initial response to this alarm brought five engines one ladder one rescue and two command vehicles for a total of twenty four fire personnel. A fire watch was kept on scene through the night.

The cause of thie fire has not been determined; investigators are on the scene today.

PROBABLE CAUSE: Underinvestigation
DAMAGE EXTENT: House and contents a total loss
DOLLAR LOSS: 180,000.00
MUTUAL AID: None Given

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A couple of fire press releases...

SSUING OFFICER: BC Craig Cornelius
DATE OF INCIDENT: 11/29/2006
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
INCIDENT ADDRESS: 5802 S Meadow Lane
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99201

NARRATIVE: At approximately 0220 hours on November 29, 2006 the Spokane Fire Department received a 911 call for a reported house on fire at 5802 S Meadow Lane. Six fire apparatus consisting of 2 Ladders, 3 Engines and 1 Rescue vehicle responded to the fire.
This residence is located in an area that some distance from city fire hydrants so an additional fire apparatus from Fire District 8 was requested to Tender Water.

Access to this residence was provided by a gravel road approximately 3/4 mile off the main road (Meadow Lane). This access road was uphill and covered with snow and ice. Responding Fire Officers anticipating problems with the road requested 3 additional "four wheel drive" Brush Engines to negotiate the road. The "four wheel drive" vehicles were used to shuttle equipment and Fire Fighters up the road to the fire.

The first crews to the home reported fire in the walls behind the wood stoves on the first and second floors. These walls were covered with stone and brickwork slowing access to the fire. Hand tools carried up the hill by the Fire Fighters were used to force open the masonry walls. Garden hose lines belonging to the home owner were used to knock down the fire until hose lines from the Brush Engines could be brought into play. The home owner also provided the ladders and tools he had on site for use to the Fire Fighters. His efforts lead to a positive outcome in the extinguishment of this fire.

There were no injuries to any of the residents of the home. The residents were not displaced from their home. The fire cause is still under investigation at this time. Early indicators are pointing towards the area around the wood stove.

PROBABLE CAUSE: Still under investigation
DAMAGE EXTENT: Exterior wall on the first and second floors.
MUTUAL AID: Fire District 8

ISSUING OFFICER: Joel Fielder/Battalion Chief
DATE OF INCIDENT: 11/29/2006
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
INCIDENT ADDRESS: 1303 East Illinois
CITY: Spokane

NARRATIVE: Today, November 29, 2006, the Spokane Fire Department responded at 5:13 AM to 1303 East Illinois. The first fire crews on-scene reported smoke showing from the front door of the structure and from the eaves. Firefighters discovered fire in the attic of the residence above the kitchen and an aggressive interior fire attack was initiated. The fire was brought under control within 30 minutes and there were no injuries to the occupants or firefighters.
PROBABLE CAUSE: The cause of the fire is under investigation by Investigator Tom Oliver.
DAMAGE EXTENT: Fire damage was confined to the kitchen and attic space with smoke damage through out the structure.
MUTUAL AID: None Given

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rick Pennington comments on recent events...

This has gotten far beyond what it should be. We are sending emails, information packets and blog responses back and forth and all this does is perpetuate the situation . In hindsight there are probably many things that could have been done differently on all sides. The sad thing is that if we just took a step back we would realize is that there is no "your" side or "their" side, there is only our side. This issue is becoming an 800 lb. gorilla and polarizing the membership. I don't believe any of the candidates for any office is intent on hurting the union. We will never agree with everyone but we will have to, at times, put our personal opinions and differences aside to work for the good of the body. I imagine Admin is loving all the turmoil that this has caused. When this election is over, and for me it can't come soon enough, regardless of who is in what position we need to get back on track, work together, and provide a united front.

Rick Pennington

Rick Horey responds to Griffith's blog entry...




SFD Press Release - Hotel Fire

ISSUING OFFICER: Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Chief
DATE OF INCIDENT: 11/21/2006
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
INCIDENT ADDRESS: 4301 West Sunset Drive
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99206

NARRATIVE: On Monday, November 20, 2006 at 5:58 PM, ten Spokane Fire Department companies; one Rescue Company, one Pumper/Ladder, five Engines and two Senior Ladder companies under the direction of Battalion Chief Joel fielder responded to a report of a fire in the kitchen at the Travel Lodge Airport Hotel, 4301 West Sunset Drive.

Firefighters arrived on scene within 6-minutes to find a five story hotel with fire showing from the roof and heavy smoke throughout the public-access areas of the lobby and restaurant. Firefighters immediately began an aggressive interior attack and focused on confining the fire to its area of origin while simultaneously confirming that all hotel residents were evacuated and accounted for. Engine and Ladder companies were successful in controlling the fire within 15-minutes with the assistance of positive pressure ventilation and vertical ventilation provided by Ladder companies. Companies had to be assigned one every floor to coordinate searches and locate hidden areas where fire had traveled vertically to the roof. The hotel had approximately 89 rooms with a current occupation of less than eight persons at the time of the fire. In all, nearly forty (40) Firefighters were utilized to mitigate the incident in approximately 60 minutes and there were no injuries to fire or civilian personnel.

PROBABLE CAUSE: The cause of the fire remains under investigation by SFD Investigators, however preliminary information gathered at the scene suggests the fire's cause was accidental. The area of origin was determined to be near a cooking area in the kitchen. Reports from employees indicate that the food "flashed" and produced a rapidly moving grease fire which traveled up the hood system and horizontally in the kitchen area. A hood and duct fire protection system was activated, however was not successful in keeping the damage limited to the cooking area.
DAMAGE EXTENT: The fire extended vertically through the ductwork and caused significant damage in the duct and void-space areas of nearly all floors and the roof. The kitchen suffered severe damage and the results of investigation will most likely be known late tomorrow.
MUTUAL AID: None Given

Sunday, November 19, 2006

pdf of investigator supplemental agreement...

Click title to view.

Chris Phillips Response. Please click on this title to read document.

What a despicable way to end what was otherwise a clean campaign. I am disgusted and embarassed that we fight amongst ourselves like children. Poor timing, mis-information and hurt feelings once again...when will it stop so that we can move our membership ahead as a functional "team". Please see my reply to the recent unfounded accusations at this link.


Chris Phillips Response.

Just to let you readers know, yesterday, Chris sent me a response to Greg's response. Chris' letter is 5 pages long. Because of its length, I didn't know if Chris wanted it as a linked document (easier to read, easier to print), or the whole thing cut and pasted onto the blog. It would be more accessible this way, especially if folks don't have WORD installed on their home computers, or the capability to view PDFs. But such a lengthy response would be a little bit more unwieldy. I emailed Chris, as soon as I received his post, asking him which he preferred. As soon as I hear back from Chris, I will post his letter in his chosen form.

Please, stay tuned!

Thanks, John

Friday, November 17, 2006

A comment from John Griffith regarding the comment by Todd Powell

I think we would all agree that e-board members must respect the confidentiality of members involved in grievances and other issues. What I find odd about this matter is that if an e-board member leaked the information about someone being asked not to negotiate for himself, I didn't hear anything about it. And nobody I know did either. I would suspect most of us didn't know anything about it, until reading the email from our brother.

So, let me get this straight. An e-board member whispered that a certain member (one who's running for president) received a letter asking him to comply with long-established union policies and procedures (not to mention laws). And the response to this privacy infraction was a job-wide email telling everyone that the union had "reprimanded" and "punished" this member! This universally-dispersed email concluded with an endorsement for the member as president. Huh!?!

Is it a coincidence that these events unfolded as ballots arrived in our mailboxes? I hope so. I would hope that the email and subsequent endorsement were borne out of a genuine concern and was not simply a campaign publicity stunt.

I feel bad for the member who wrote the job-wide email. It seems he was told things that weren't exactly true and, because he's a good guy, he justly acted upon what he was told.

Now that the correspondence (including the letter which started it all) is in all the stations, everyone can read that there were never any mentions of punishment or reprimands - just a simple, nicely-worded request. In my book, being kindly asked to stop doing something, without any kind of threat attached, is a far cry from a reprimand or a punishment. But, that's just how I see it. I guess we all look at the world, and how we interact with it, differently.

And that leaves me wondering what this is really all about.

Thanks for letting me have my two-cents worth!


A Comment from Todd Powell


Could you post this on the Blog?




A cornerstone of any successful organization is its ability to maintain privacy and confidentiality when dealing with sensitive issues regarding its members. The members, customers or clients not only should expect this but demand it of any organization they belong to or do business with. Because issues of a sensitive nature are discussed with the board of directors or E-Board, they are required to sign confidentiality agreements. In a well run organization, a violation of this confidentiality agreement requires swift and aggressive action. If violations are allowed to happen with no consequence, the credibility of the organization quickly erodes.

The question is:
When the E-Board is allowed to discuss private, confidential issues to outsiders without consequence, where is our organization headed?

Todd Powell

Important Notice


Dear Brothers and sisters:

Yesterday, one of our members claimed that Local 29 had “reprimanded” one of its members for negotiating pay and benefits outside the union contract. I would like to address this issue.

First, let me say that the union did not reprimand anyone. Nor, does the union have the capability to “reprimand” any of its members. Nor would we want to – ever. Also, the narrative account of what compelled this member to address this “WRONGING OF A BROTHER” is inaccurate. While what had happened was confidential for protection of the member, it is public information – especially since the email that went out over the city’s email. So now we have to address the issue, as it is important for all members to understand not only the events, but also as a reminder of what it means to be a union.

As many of you now know from the email, we had a member who was asked if he would be interested in coming back for several months to mentor new investigators. From the beginning, the administration should have brought the union on-board in this conversation. They did not. Accordingly, the member wanted to be paid the rate he was being paid before, when he was previously as an investigator – and he said so in an email to the chief. The local was then informed by these negotiations by one of our members. I called the Assistant Chief to ask if this was accurate. He sent me the email from the member who was negotiating.

As many of you already know, individuals cannot negotiate individual benefits for themselves. For those of you who don’t know this let me talk a little bit about this. First, it is not legal for a member to do this – according to Article II Recognition of our current contract.

Beyond the legality issue, here’s the “why” of it. We stand together as a union, or we fall together as a union. It’s my job, as president to protect the integrity of the union. And when I say “integrity” I mean that the union is about all of us. It’s not about one person over the other. I am required to safeguard the institutional strength of the union. As president, I would have to take action when any member approached management to negotiate wages, hours or conditions of work.

So, let me tell you the action that I took. On the 7th of November, I received the email from the Assistant Chief. I then forwarded it to all the e-board members and said that we would have to discuss this issue at the November 14th e-board meeting. At the e-board meeting, our last order of business – with only e-board members present – a motion was made and carried to send a letter to the member asking him not to negotiate on his own behalf. I abstained from this conversation and vote because of the election. And that was it – no reprimand, no discipline – just a request and a reminder that Local 29 could be subject to an Unfair Labor Practice because of this. Please see the attachments to see this and other emails.

A reminder – I wanted to keep this matter between the parties involved. But, because one of our members mailed it through the city email, it’s now a matter of public information.

Since this has transpired, we have received a request from the Investigation Office that they would like us to negotiate for this member to receive his justly deserved compensation. And we will. There’s also the issue that the city has engaged in an Unfair Labor Practice by talking directly to the members involved in these proceedings. To resolve this issue, we will argue that the city pay the member more than what he originally asked for. It’s important that everyone honors our contract. It’s this unifying document that defines who we are and what we do.

In closing, I will address the “WHAT YOU NEED TO ASK YOURSELF ARE THESE QUESTIONS:” segment of the email.

1. First, an individual cannot ask for something that is not in the contract. Only the union can do that. Second, while arson investigators have additional pay for what they do, it is not a “supplemental pay.” There is language in the contract to address this HazMat issue. There is no language to address arson investigator pay around the same issue. Any clarification that comes from this will come from Local 29.
2. The decision was made the first time the e-board met, after receiving the information. We had a responsibility, as your elected officials, to respond immediately. And again, I didn’t release the information. You know about this matter because of the email sent by one of our members.
3. After reading the correspondence and talking to Chief Schaeffer, we had the information needed to ask the member not to contact management about wages, hours or conditions of work. There was no finding of guilt, there was no punishment. It was simply a request.
4. See # 3. No guilt found. No punishment delivered.

Additionally, I would like to address the closing comments in the email. This solicitation asking a member to vote for one candidate over the other, on the heels of this error-filled email, does a disservice to all, including those running for office.

I have contacted the IAFF Vice-President and our labor attorney. They both concluded that the executive board made the correct and legal decision in requesting the member to cease. Please read the attachments.


Greg Borg

Local 29 President

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Greg Borg for President Letter!

Re-Elect Greg Borg

Brothers and Sisters,

I have thoroughly enjoyed serving the past six years as you president. I have been in your service for 25 of 28 years on the job. My service to you has never been about me, it has been about you, it has been about the cause. I firmly believe that we all have a right to be treated equally and fairly, I have seen to that as president. I believe we deserve a fair wage and good working conditions, I have seen to that as president.

I believe it is about results not rhetoric, are you better off now than six years ago? Yes we are! We have seen a 22% raise, water tech pay, 3% more for medics, medic training pay, the city buys our uniforms, a new debit/day system, increased deferred comp, and much more. All of which were negotiated under my leadership. Disciplines are fair and consistent. SAFO now lives by our agreed upon interpretation of the contract.

All this was not easy to get. There have been times when I have had to hold the departments’ leadership to the fire. I had the knowledge, courage and tenacity to do that. I have built a successful political program that has paid off with a great contract and all your grievances settled in our favor. It is knowledge and experience that knows what battles you can win and when to fight them. In the last 18 months I have worked hard to build an improved labor/management relationship. We now have a pleasant and productive working relationship with SAFO and our Chiefs.

I am asking for your vote one more time. I have the knowledge, experience, education and passion needed to be a successful president. Vote for the one that got you ahead!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Chris Phillips for President Letter!


Change does not change tradition. It strengthens it.
Change is a challenge and an opportunity; not a threat. — Prince Philip

Over the past several weeks I have been visiting with the members of Local 29 and one thing is clear: The time has come to change the direction our Union is headed. The animosity, name calling, and negative press have hurt us. We have lost support from the citizens, Administration, local government and even from our fellow firefighters in surrounding unions and at the state level. How can we hope to effectively confront a dismal budget and negotiate concessions that benefit our members after we’ve spent years creating enemies and losing supporters? I’ve heard the membership express their displeasure time and time again and I fully agree. We must repair the damage if we wish to move ahead.
The LEOFF II Pension is not what it should be. If you question where deficiencies exist just ask any LEOFF I member and he’ll be happy to explain! Unfortunately, many of the issues that affect LEOFF II reform happen at the state level. We need to regain the respect we once had at the local and state levels and work to encourage positive changes. If we expect to see things change, we need to make a concerted effort to present a united front with other locals throughout the state. We can’t force change alone but together we can all push for beneficial changes in our pension. For this to happen we need local leadership with a vested interest in seeing the LEOFF II pension improve. I have many years left in my career and will be here to work toward making the changes we all want to see. The task is tremendous and it will take a great deal of time and effort to overcome. I don’t expect a LEOFF I member to have the same concerns and fears about my retirement needs and benefits. The LEOFF II Pension issues affect me daily and will for the remainder of my life, not just at election time.
For a Union to successfully represent its members it must have guidance and should be abreast of the issues that concern the membership. Not everyone can attend the Union meetings nor should it be the only way to obtain information on the issues that affect you. You deserve support because you are a member in good standing, not because you joined the crowd on Tuesday night. I will utilize the Union newsletter, and more importantly the website, to disseminate the minutes of the meetings in a timely manner. In addition, I will explore other avenues of getting information to our members.
I don’t believe you can adequately represent your members if you don’t have an idea of what their concerns are. I want to see the individuals who fill positions on the E-Board traveling to the areas they were tasked with representing. They should be there to gather the facts so that we can represent those members accordingly. There is absolutely no excuse for not bringing forth concerns from the entire membership. When a member has a concern or problem, the leadership needs to recognize that the concern is not trivial to that member. My message is clear … If you want to hold a position on the E-Board, you will represent the concerns of the areas you are assigned, or you should be replaced by someone who will when the opportunity arises.

You all have a right to know how your money is being spent. In the past I had questions about our Union budget. I approached the previous Secretary-Treasurer and was told that the fiscal health of my Union was none of my business. A short time later I went to a Union Meeting and brought forth a motion to prepare and have posted a budget for members to review. To my surprise the motion passed overwhelmingly. I know I do not stand alone with my concerns. When we send a member of our Union to a conference we deserve to know how it positively influenced our Union, and if the money was spent wisely. I do not agree with blindly supporting political candidates because of party affiliation. We need to adequately research a candidate’s history and position on issues before we offer support. We have failed in this task in the past. Support can be given in a number of ways and need not always be monetary in nature. I believe that when we have a number of members laid off and set back in rank we should not display fiscal irresponsibility. If there is excess spending and fat in our union budget let’s try to identify this waste and correct it before we ask members to pay more dues.
I have made it a point not to promise outlandish things as I visit the membership. I don’t carry around a list of numbers that will wow you. There are two candidates running against me that have held the position of Union President in the past. I have never doubted the passion either has for the Union or our profession. I only ask myself how they represented me when they held the position (6 years each). Both have served, and have been or soon will be voted out for a variety of reasons. Now I am asking for my chance to represent you and vow to do my best to make positive changes that will carry us forward in this ever changing profession.
I have been involved with the Union in a variety of ways. I served on the Grievance Committee, attended working family rallies across the state, I door belled, and stood on the picket line with our brothers and sisters at Kaiser. I regularly participate in Fill the Boot and the Bloomsday water station. As many of you know, I have been in the Investigation office for the last four years, and have gained an insight into how the Administration operates. I am returning to the stations in November and bring with me a fresh new perspective on the Fire Department. I have the proven ability and training to negotiate in a professional manner. I have stood my ground in the professional and legal arena and have the ability to stand toe-to-toe when a situation demands. I have developed professional relationships and am well received throughout the City and by Administration. I think this is something we haven’t had for several years and I can use this to our benefit.
I am asking for your support and look forward to learning from those who have previously held the position of President. I don’t want to alienate those who have held the position in the past, and in fact I welcome their input and assistance should they be kind enough to grant it. I have spoken with the Vice President and Secretary and they have pledged their assistance in any way needed should I be elected. I think the time has come for our Union to benefit from positive representation with a fresh outlook. I feel I can provide both and would greatly appreciate your vote.

Thank You,

Chris Phillips

Dear Fellow Union Members,
This unsolicited endorsement for Chris Phillips as our next Local 29 Union President was very easy for me to make.
Chris has the intelligence, the calm demeanor and the attitude that is needed in our Union leadership. As our Union moves forward, the time has come for changes to be made.
The question to ask one’s self is, “Am I satisfied with our current Union leadership?” I know my answer and that is why I am endorsing Chris. True leadership change must start at the top.
I would respectfully ask each and every member who voted for me in the two previous Union President elections, to cast your ballot for Chris Phillips.
Thank you.
Kevin Smathers

I support Chris Phillips for Union President. I believe local 29’s relationship with management has been adversarial for a very long time and Chris Phillips has the ability to once again build bridges. A good working relationship with management is absolutely necessary for successful representation of our membership. Chris deals with difficult issues using his intelligence to develop an effective argument and has proven his ability to work closely with management as a Fire Investigator the past four years.
With only 19 Leoff I members on the fire department, it is time for the majority of our membership to be represented by someone in the same pension system. The members of local 29 will be very well represented with Chris Phillips as the next union president.
Todd Powell

As you all know, Chris Phillips has worked with me in the investigation office for nearly four years. When he first came into the office there was a tremendous amount of material he had to learn, which required and received his total commitment. I will tell you that he is a fast learner and quickly became an asset to the office. Chris brought many life experiences with him to investigation, with the most applicable being his quick wit and attention to the “details”. Lately I have had the opportunity to talk with some of you and fully agree that our Union is in need of a positive change. I strongly believe that now is the time and Chris is the person that can lead us in that direction. Please join me in voting for Christopher Phillips for the position of Union President.
Michael Zambryski

Brothers and Sisters,

I have had an opportunity to work with Chris in each of the positions he has held within our organization. Chris has earned my respect in each of these positions. He has impressed me with his intelligence, his commitment and most importantly the fact that he can get the job done!

As each of you know, the members of Local 29 have had a long tradition of dedicated, committed leaders that have done their best to represent the members’ needs. Chris Phillips has the necessary personal attributes that will allow him to function as a strong, effective Union President. He will be a staunch advocate for all Local 29 members and positively represent all of us at the city, local and state level.

Fellow members of Local 29,

Anyone who knows me, also knows I don’t get involved in politics very often if at all—but at this point in time I feel very compelled to speak out in support of Chris Philips. I for one do not like the ongoing level of animosity between Local 29 and our administration. I agree with Chris that it’s gone on too long and is very counter-productive to the Fire dept’s health and future growth. I believe that working closely with senior Administrators has given Chris some valuable insight to how they think and react, and this knowledge could be very valuable during negotiations, grievances, or any time a member has an issue with management.
Being an over-the –hill LEOFF 1 member, I think it would be foolish for the vast majority of you to re-elect a LEOFF 1 president again--although the current president does a fair job, I know Chris would support LEOFF 2 members and issues 100%.
I have known Chris since he was hired and have watched him mature into the man he is today—I like what I see; honesty, integrity, sincerity for a new era of trust and communication, guts to stand up for what he believes in, and the composure and intelligence to make it all happen. I respect the fact that Chris is not running a campaign full of promise—he is a realist and will only declare what he would like to see happen, and that he would do his best to keep the Local going in the right direction.
I urge all of you to vote for Chris and let him take us into the future with new hope, vigor and fresh ideas.

Thanks for listening,
Dale Michael –L2

Brad Cassell for E-Board Letter!

Brad Cassell
The louder alternative
For E board

I would like to ask for your vote for E Board. Anybody who knows me knows that anything I have to say I say loudly, and for all to hear. I have been on the job for 9 years and feel that it is time to get involved. I’ve been the station rep for station 16 and having worked all over this job I think I have a handle on what is going on with our job and union. I, as many, feel that the communication between the “man on the street” and the many at the top has been cut off at the ankles. I personally don’t have a plan on fixing this problem, but am willing to try.

I would like to see many more of my union brothers and sisters involved in the decisions that our union and admin leaders are making. It seems to me that it’s always the same people running for our union leadership positions, and I think it’s time for a change. If you’re not in the circle you don’t have any input. If elected, I plan on listening to any and all ideas even if they suck! I hear good ideas every day around the kitchen table. No matter how good these ideas, if they are not heard at the top then they will never get implemented. If you have something to say I will listen and try to do my best to make this job even better.

I would also like to see more opportunities for our brotherhood to get together. When I came on this job just a few years ago there seemed to be endless opportunities available to hang out together as a group. Lately it seems that other than union meetings, the prom and carousel night, there aren’t the opportunities we used to have to get to know one another off the job. Even these events have the same people attending most of the time. I don’t have any answers for this either, but once again I’m willing to try.

Well there’s my pitch, I tried to keep it short and simple,


Don Waller for E-Board Letter!

Brothers and Sisters,

I would like to thank you for taking the time to consider me for a position on Local 29’s Executive Board. I think all the candidates would do a great job. I have been interested in the union dealings since I started my career as a firefighter. The union, through the committees it has representatives on, and negotiations has major input on the direction our department takes on most issues. In the past I have been involved by helping with the gathering of information for the last contract negotiations, PR committee during the budget cuts, and debit day committee. One of my major tasks on the PR committee was putting together detailed information for a media packet and presentation. I was on the recent debit day committee in which I developed a plan for a possible solution. I think that it is an e-board member’s responsibility to look at every issue in various aspects and weigh each one. These aspects include the following: Is it something the members need or want? How will it affect all our members? What will the future consequences be? In other words will a new policy be made in reaction to our decision that ends up being worse for the members? Is it worth what we may have to give up? I would try to look into every issue in depth evaluating the benefit of now versus the effects in the future. I strive to look at every conceivable solution, even those that may be considered “outside of the box”, and those negative solutions others may want for us. We need to look at new creative solutions that can benefit all sides. One of my strongest attributes is my ability to analytically look at a problem from all sides. This was a big help when I served on the debit day committee and came up with a possible solution. I had even more options that were not agreed upon by both sides. The near future is going to be very important for SFD and L29. We will have new contract negotiations, possibility of a levy lid lift election, fire bond election, mayoral race, and other political races. The next couple years will impact our department’s future immensely. If we are not proactive in the solutions and changes we could feel the negative affects throughout all of our careers. The union needs to make sure the public is aware of how our department is being run, how their money is spent, and where things may be overly or inadequately funded. We will all be better off we can get the public support, the politically support, support from our department leaders, and support from our members to be adequately funded so that we can have a safe, efficient, effective fire department. It will make our fight for wages and benefits a smaller battle to win. I do not have a specific agenda, or an issue that I want changed. I promise to look at every issue fairly, analytically, and think of all possible solutions. I will make sure every opinion, desire, or issue that is brought to me is forwarded to the e-board or appropriate committee. I will support what ever side of and issue the majority of the job wants, no matter what my personal feeling is on it. I think if we can come up with new solutions, showing that all sides can benefit we can succeed. The time of the fat budget, doing it the way we always have is gone. We are going to have to change to survive, and it will take some thought to make sure that change happens in a positive way and we not only to keep what we have but always stride to improve.

Don Waller

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dan Renner for President Letter!

Brothers and Sisters,
Hopefully by now I have visited most of you, and I appreciate you taking the time to sit and talk about the upcoming election. As always, there are a lot of good questions and good ideas out there. Many people asked what my priorities would be if elected, what my goals were, etc. Obviously we will be entering negotiations soon, and that would be priority #1. Then there are the chronic budget challenges that we face, and have to try and creatively deal with. But that’s just the beginning. I would ask you, what do YOU want our priorities and goals to be? You, the members, ARE Local 29. You decide where you want us to go, and then it is the job of the elected leadership to work to try and get us there. When you vote for a President, you are voting for the candidate you feel has the right personality, the experience, and the knowledge of what Local 29 does to effectively communicate on your behalf, and work to accomplish the things that are important to you. That is the job of the President, and I feel that I have the tools to best do the job for you. If you agree, I would appreciate your vote.
Thanks for reading.
Dan Renner

Doug Bacon for President Letter!

This Union is facing challenges in communications, contract negotiations, & LEOFF II improvements. I can lead Local 29 in resolving our issues. I have the time, experience, job knowledge, ideas & drive to accomplish these goals. I am eager to listen to you and resolve your issues.
It is imperative that we improve communications from the kitchen table to the City Council chambers and at every level in between. We cannot have our members feeling left out, ignored and uninformed. We need a Local 29 Media Committee to develop & implement ways to make sure that the public is aware of what we do and what we have given and given up for the citizens. Using the Executive Board & Station Representatives more effectively is imperative. Local 29 must be accountable to you to effectively lead.
We must start negotiations as quickly as allowed. We need to either have a contract signed or be in arbitration by September 2007. We cannot let the contract expire without being in Arbitration. The City needs to know we are ready for this step at the first negotiations meeting!
If we don't take a leadership role in LEOFF II in this State, who will. We have many ideas on what needs to be changed or improved. We just need to put these ideas into legislation and make sure these proposals are passed in Olympia. We need a Local 29 LEOFF II Pension Board to find ways to get money for medical expenses after retirement. I've expressed possible ways to do this. We need to make sure that the 790 Committee & the W.S.C.F.F. are listening to our concerns and our ideas. What is important to Spokane Firefighters better be important to these entities.
I ask for your support with these issues.

Doug Bacon

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Pension Board - Something Fishy About Spokane Retirement Director's Actions...

To: Greg Borg, President Local 29
From: Mike Rose, Clive Jones, and Doug Bacon, Firefighter Pension Board
Re: Leo Griffin, Retirement Director
March 2, 2006
Dear Greg,

 We wanted to inform you about several Pension Board issues that have unfolded in the brief tenure of Director of Retirement Leo Griffin.

Financially Leo has made decisions that are going to increase medical services costs significantly. He negotiated a contract with Premera for 2006 and had it approved by the Fire board, both firefighter members voting no, in Dec 2005. At the time he represented that we had a 30 day out if we wanted to switch provider networks. A proposal brought to the board in Oct 2005 by Benefax for services provided by A.W. Rehn would have saved $232,848 in Administrative costs for both Fire and Police boards over the Premera contract. Additionally the Premera contract has no customization to pay for claims outside of the contract. A.W. Rehn would have provided that service at no extra charge. It is unknown at this time what the additional cost will be. Someone from the city will now have to process and individually pay each of those claims. It was later uncovered that there are significant penalties for early termination of the Premera contract that Leo negotiated.. Leo also negotiated with Premera to file for Medicare Part D subsidy at a cost of $52,000 per year for both boards. Restat would have performed the same service for both boards for $3996.00 per year, a savings of over $48,000 per year. Not a misprint! These 2 items alone are going to cost $280,848 at least this year alone between both boards. Additionally there has been 1 Federal HIPPA complaint filed by a member. More may follow as the Retirement Department was sending confidential HIPPA protected information to Fire Department staff. The cost of federal fines may be substantial. We are very concerned on how well Leo will handle our multimillion dollar trust fund.

Professionally Leo has been very difficult to work with. In our Oct 2005 meeting 5 city attorneys came to our meeting presenting a legal opinion, with the T.V. media called in, that the boards must go thru an RFP process for the services provided by Benefax. This was done by Leo without board knowledge or approval. During the RFP process that ultimately went to Benefax former City Councilwoman Cherie Rodgers asked Leo if he would take a lie detector test at her expense, he declined. Councilwoman Rodgers also said in the committee that the way the RFP process was handled was so out of line with normal procedure that the city could be held liable. During the Dec. 2005 City Council meeting statements were made that prompted a vendor, that we have had an 18 year relationship with, to seek legal protection to defend his reputation. Mike Rose formally asked Leo on Feb. 6, 2006 to cease bringing resolutions to City Council without board knowledge or approval. The next week Feb. 13, 2006, Leo brought the Premera contract to pre-council meeting for approval. He did this with full knowledge that the contract for approval was on the March Fire board meeting agenda. There is such a cloud of secrecy surrounding Leo that both Fire and Police boards have sought access to emails by the freedom of information act. We have also contacted the Washington State Council of Firefighters who have pledged to spare no legal expense to protect our fund.

In the past 35 years that the Firefighters Pension Board has existed in the LEOFF 1 system there has never been such an atmosphere of mistrust between the Firefighters and a Director of Retirement. We believe that nothing short of Leo Griffin’s replacement will restore fiscal responsibility and professionally integrity to Director of Retirement’s office.  Sincerely
Mike Rose
Clive Jones
Doug Bacon

Sunday, October 15, 2006

FDNY Shirts and Hats

> Hello Everyone,
> I have some leftover "FDNY" hats and shirts that I am going to get rid
> of. The hats are the Navy ball caps with the FDNY on them and I also
> have many shirts in different sizes.
> If you would like to see them or pick one up, all I would ask is a
> small donation to the Benevolent fund and you can have your pick.
> The shirts would make great work shirts or play shirts for that matter
> and the hats are just that, hats.
> Get a hold of me and you can take a look.
> Thanks
> Gonzo
> 13's D

Friday, October 13, 2006

Dean Carr for E-Board letter!


> I just wanted to drop everyone a line that I had email addresses
> for to let you know if you didn't know already that I am running for
> eboard this election.
> I feel very strongly that, as a union, we need to be more
> inclusive of all of our members. I know there are people who are so
> disenfranchised with the union that they don't feel comfortable even
> going down to the union office to buy a t-shirt. While I don't think
> that there is actually any animosity from the union towards any of the
> members, we need to make sure that everyone in the body feels included
> in the union. I will do my part to actually stop by the stations in
> the district that I will represent to make sure that everyone's
> sentiments are shared with the eboard and principal officers on a
> regular basis.
> We need to understand that the local is not a magic wand that
> just needs to be waved to fix every problem but more of a process that
> we work through to ensure that everybody on the job is treated fairly
> and with respect. I also believe that it is important for the east
> side of the job to have more of a voice in being represented in the
> leadership of the local.
> It is important to me that the job comes before any specialty
> group. We all (with the exception of the very last class that was
> hired, laid off, and now partially re-hired) came to this job as an
> EMT Firefighter. But there is quite of bit of marginalizing of this
> group going on right now due to these specialties. This must stop
> because the whole job is nowhere without that foundation.
> In the 14 years that I've been on, I feel that we have never had
> a better working relationship with the administration of the
> department. We must capitalize on this to cooperate with them to make
> this job a better place. The union is merely a reactive measure
> unless we foster cooperation with them.
> I will make every effort to hit all shifts and every station in
> the next month so that you can beat me up in person.
> Thanks for taking the time,
> Deano

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Nominations made at the October 10th Union Meeting...

President - Dan Renner, Greg Borg, Doug Bacon, Chris

E-Board (2 positions)- Don Waller, Dean Carr, Thad
Frater, Brad Cassell, Kevin Haughton, Rex Peterson

Trustees (2 positions)- Mike Rossi, Clive Jones, Rob

Grievance Committee - elected by acclamation - Brian
Turpen, Frank Wood.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Medic School

Some of you have been asking, "Hey! What are you learning in medic school?" It's no surprise that I can't talk a lot about it. It's not so much that I really don't understand it (although that's true). It's just that all of us in the paramedic (paramagic) class are beginning that transformation from EMT-B (caterpillar) into EMT-P (Monarch Butterfly) and we're not allowed to talk about some of the rituals. However, I did find this video which will give you a good idea of what we've been going through. It could serve as a powerful enticement to those of you sitting on the EMS evolutionary fence.

Warning: one "F-Bomb" contained within this video.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Zombies protest for rights. Pirates stage counterprotest.

It all happened in Austin TX. And it reminded me of our picketing of Millwood (2?) years ago. We never had to contend with pirates, however.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Spokane Labor Council Rally - Wednesday, Sept 27th!

Hosted by the Spokane Regional Labor Council, this event isn't just a way to connect with our union brothers and sisters. It's a chance to eat food and drink beer for only a buck! Things kick off at 4 pm and go until 7 pm out at the fairgrounds, in the ag trade building. And if a dollar is going to set you back, Thad has some free tickets.

The Rally only happens every other year. So, if you have a chance to get out there, you might not want to pass it up!

Spokane Labor Council Rally - Wednesday, Sept 27th!

Hosted by the Spokane Regional Labor Council, this event isn't just a way to connect with our union brothers and sisters. It's a chance to eat food and drink beer for only a buck! Things kick off at 4 pm and go until 7 pm out at the fairgrounds, in the ag trade building. And if a dollar is going to set you back, Thad has some free tickets.

The Rally only happens every other year. So, if you have a chance to get out there, you might not want to pass it up!

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th

Five years ago.

343 of our brothers gave the ultimate sacrifice. And they did it in front of a horrified nation.

Five years ago.

And our nation has changed - in more ways than anyone could've thought possible - in five years.

A lot to think about. A lot to talk about. A lot to do.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

June's newsletter.

Some of you are asking, "Where is it?" Some aren't.

I am still missing a few crucial submissions, so it's going to be a combined issue of June and July. And if I don't have the needed articles by early July, then it's going to be a summer issue. You see where this is going.

In the meantime, summer is upon us, and it's hot! Hopefully, you'll have some timely relief - with the latest installment of The Housefund Chef. The test kitchen at Stn 13 has come up with a killer recipe for homemade ice cream - all from the bounty of their housefund cupboards! Coming soon.



Thursday, June 08, 2006

September Is Next Union Meeting

Still waiting on a few articles for the June newsletter, so it will be a little late. Just wanted you to know that meetings have been suspended for the summer. E-Board continues to meet, however.

Thanks, John

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cheney Golf Tournament Rescheduled...

Unfortunately we have had to reschedule our golf tournament from the
Friday May 19th for several different reasons. But, we have rescheduled
it for Saturday September 23rd at 1:00pm at Indian Canyon Golf Course.
We will be sending out new registration forms in the near future. We
hope we can get a good turn out for this end of the season tournament
and a fundraising opportunity with MDA.

I apologize for the short notice with the rescheduling.

Thanks for your support!

Cheney Firefighters Local 1919

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Webcam of firehouse lightbulb - burning continuously since 1901!

Four watts and handblown glass - 105 years of work. I wonder if the Livermore Fire Dept. would trade the bulb for a couple of MDCs, a thin client, some FDM software and a case of CHARGE...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Anonymous letter regarding editorial from last month.

Well, it's taken me a lot of work. I had to scan it. Convert it to a jpeg. Load it up. Link it. And here it is! I think it's worth it. To read this beauty, simply click on the title. As best I can tell, the letter is one of disapproval for my editorial in last month's WORKER. But, I'll leave that up to you, gentle reader, to decipher. My thanks to this anonymous "wife" of a firefighter for taking the time to write. I don't think you read my editorial before you responded to it, but that's okay. I appreciate the time you put into this and hopefully others will too!

P.S. "Mrs." Anonymous, remember you can always comment on the blog anonymously too.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

A reply to Deputy Mayor Lynch's link to the Journal of Business article..

Haven't heard anything from anyone regarding this email I sent a couple of weeks ago. You can view the attachment by clicking the title above. It is curiouser and curiouser that we are projected for deeper and deeper deficits at the same time Spokane gets to be a hotter and hotter market, and the economy is surging here. Something just doesn't add up.

Seattle is hiring dozens of new firefighters, yet we're still severely understaffed. Strange indeed.

From: Griffith, John Sent: Tue 3/28/2006 11:30 AM
To: Feist, Marlene; Lynch, Jack; Hession, Dennis
Cc: Bacon, Michael; Borg, Gregory; Vietzke, Mark
Subject: RE: Journal of Business editorial on City budget
Attachments: JOBeditoct2705.jpg(430KB)

Hi Marlene, In light of the editorial from the Journal of Business editorial Dep Mayor Lynch had you forward citywide, I am requesting that an editorial that I wrote for the Journal of Business (10/27/05) also be forwarded to all city employees. This editorial was written before the lidlift vote and also before our union voted for each member to donate 24 hours of free labor to the city. But, I think the gist of the piece is still pertinent.

Thank you for your consideration, and if you decide that it's appropriate to forward this on, you will find the article attached as a jpeg. If you would rather have it in another format, I will gladly provide it.

Many thanks,

John Griffith
Local 29

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Local 1919 Cheney Firefighters Golf Tournament

This is their 4th Annual Golf Classic. If you, or someone you know, is interested in playing and/or sponsoring a hole, please contact Donovan Cathey. He can e-mail you the forms and any other information. It's on May 19th at Indian Canyon. This is a great event (so I've been told by golfers) that really does a lot to help MDA Washington.

An invitation from Dean Carr...

The Spokane SaberCats men's minor league football team is starting it's second season this Saturday April 1 at 2 PM at Mead High School. I have had several people ask me if I am playing for the Shock or am involved with them. I am not. I'm trying to make this team that I own a success. I could always use a few volunteers to help with stuff during the games or if you just want to come and watch, we do have a $5 ticket for police, fire, and military. I am not playing this year, as Tippy has finally put her foot down about me taking the chance on getting hurt. I just wanted to use this forum as another opportunity to get the word out about the team to everybody on the job that I haven't been able to talk to.

If you would like to volunteer, or buy tickets, or just have a question about the team please give me a call at 951-3725.

Dean Carr

Saturday, March 25, 2006

When organizations listen to the workers (the unions) they profit...

This is a link is to an article from the Christian Science Monitor. It tells the story of one airline whose management listened to what workers had to say - and turned their red ink into black.

I link this in response to Dep Mayor Lynch's desire (sent through Marlene Feist's email) for city workers to read a recent editorial from Spokane's Journal of Business. This article alludes that unions are to blame (at least partially) for the city's financial state.

And speaking of the city's financial state, a casual observer traveling our bustling streets would conclude that business has never been better. Are we still in the hole? Strange.

Those of us who were at the Public Safety Committee, meeting months ago, remember Mr. Lynch's umbrage when city council members wanted to revisit the AMR contract. He was downright angry that the union, along with the city council, wanted to open the contract up for scrutiny. This scrutiny has opened the door for city coffers to swell with potential penalties paid by AMR to Spokane for contract violations. More importantly, this scrutiny has righted a wrong, and has served Spokane's citizens well.

I think our citizens are beginning to see Local 29 for what we are - an organization that wants to see that citizens are well-served, an organization that wants to protect citizens' lives, property and their pocketbooks. In short, our citizens are beginning to realize that this union (and many others) are in their corner. And knowing how Mr. Lynch feels about us, this has got to hurt.

I wrote an editorial for the Journal of Business last November. I will ask Mr. Lynch for equal time using our city e-mail, as he has.

In the meantime, spread the link above. Unions are saving businesses. Unions are protecting the notion of livable wages in the United States - and a middle class. Unions are protecting the family. Unions have been, and always will be, a voice that calls for accountability, scrutiny and clarity in our government. Ours is one of the few voices left. Don't let it be silenced - our country and our city are depending on us!

John Griffith
Local 29