LA fire chief vacancy yet to be filled

Full story: Daily Breeze

While attention has been focused on the unexpected resignation of Police Chief William Bratton, another high-profile post is about to be vacated in the city of Los Angeles.
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1 - 13 of 13 Comments Last updated Jan 29, 2013
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#1
Aug 15, 2009
 

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Not everyone agrees that Fire Chief Barry and his new "professional" standards division has good job. In fact, the rank and file of the LAFD call Chief Barry's new department the "unprofessional" standards division -- and for good reason.
Your readers should be informed that LAFD Battalion Chief John Miller (President of the LAFD Chief Officers' Association) has also recently filed a lawsuit against LA City.
See the recent LOS ANGELES TIMES article by Robert J. Lopez, 2:49 PM | July 9, 2009
L.A.F.D fire commanders sue city, alleging retaliation after reporting misconduct
Two top commanders in the Los Angeles Fire Department's arson and counter-terrorism unit are alleging they were retaliated against after alerting superiors about misconduct, including at least one false arrest and the fabrication of evidence, according to court records and interviews with sources. Battalion Chief John Miller and Capt. Michael Rueda say they were transferred out of the department's Arson Counter-Terrorism Section after disclosing violations of state or federal statutes by members of the unit, according to a lawsuit filed in Superior Court.
The complaint against the city does not specify the misconduct alleged by the two commanders. But two department sources familiar with the case said Miller and Rueda told authorities that, among other things, investigators made at least one false arrest and fabricated evidence in a case. "Ithink that's in the general spectrum of the types of misconduct that we reported," said attorney Marla A. Brown, who represents Rueda.
The lawsuit, filed July 1, follows a city audit that criticized arson investigators for poor record-keeping, failing to pursue leads and not analyzing crime trends. The January audit was conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department, which works closely with arson investigators.
"There were investigative deficiencies with evidence collection, canvassing for witnesses, interviewing all possible witnesses and exhaustive identification and follow up on investigative leads that potentially resulted in missed opportunities to advance and clear investigations," the audit found.The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified financial damages, does not disclose whether Miller and Rueda were working with auditors. But Brown said, "that's clearly implied." She said both men have been transferred back to the arson and counter-terrorism unit but are now the subjects of internal affairs investigations that are part of the department's alleged pattern of retaliation. "This is a whistle-blower lawsuit," Brown said. Both men have been members of the department for more than 30 years. Miller is the head of the arson unit and Rueda is one of his supervisors. Rueda is the brother of Fire Department Deputy Chief Mario D. Rueda.
The suit alleges that the men had their handguns taken away after they reported misconduct in the unit (arson investigators are peace officers and carry weapons). Miller and Rueda also received threats after raising their concerns, according to the lawsuit. "We believe it was somebody that felt threatened by what they were doing," Brown said.
LA City Chief Officers' website: http://www.lacitychiefs.net/index.cfm...
Article: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/07...
LAFD reform still needed

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#2
Aug 15, 2009
 
Not everybody thinks Fire Chief Barry and his new "professional" standards division has done a good job.

Inform your readers that LAFD Battalion Chief John Miller (President of the LA City Chief Officers' Association) recently filed a lawsuit.

See the LOS ANGELES TIMES article by Robert J. Lopez, 2:49 PM | July 9, 2009, re:
L.A.F.D fire commanders sue city, alleging retaliation after reporting misconduct.
Excerpt: Two top commanders in the Los Angeles Fire Department arson and counter-terrorism unit are alleging they were retaliated against after alerting superiors about misconduct, including at least one false arrest and the fabrication of evidence, according to court records and interviews with sources. Battalion Chief John Miller and Capt. Michael Rueda say they were transferred out of the department Arson Counter-Terrorism Section after disclosing violations of state or federal statutes by members of the unit, according to a lawsuit filed in Superior Court. The complaint against the city does not specify the misconduct alleged by the two commanders. But two department sources familiar with the case said Miller and Rueda told authorities that, among other things, investigators made at least one false arrest and fabricated evidence in a case.

LA City Chief Officers website: http://www.lacitychiefs.net/index.cfm...

Read entire article here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/07...

Since: Jul 09

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#3
Aug 16, 2009
 
Wow drama
taxpayers pay

Torrance, CA

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#8
Aug 16, 2009
 
What's his pension going to be?

Who says public service doesn't pay.
taxpayers pay

Torrance, CA

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#9
Aug 16, 2009
 

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Firemen should sweep the streets, pick up trash etc. when they are on duty sitting around getting paid. They are (too) well compensated for their modest skill-set.
COME OUT OF THE DARK AGES

Lawndale, CA

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#10
Aug 16, 2009
 

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The ill informed individual who wrote this quote is definitely someone who needs to come of age.
taxpayers pay wrote:
Firemen should sweep the streets; pick up trash etc. when they are on duty sitting around getting paid. They are (too) well compensated for their modest skill-set.
, you see, unlike many professions which require a single skill set i.e.(traditional white collar occupations) Firefighting has become a highly skilled occupation. No one would even balk at the idea of paying an engineering major or a business major a decent salary to perform the functions of their occupation. But as it seems, individuals such as the so called tax payer, has missed the mark on the worth of todayís professional firefighter. You see, where else can you get a person who has been trained in multiple disciplines to protect the lives of the citizens of the world. No longer do you see the men and women of this occupation sitting around playing checkers and cleaning the fire trucks only. You see, as technology has advanced so has the responsibilities of the occupation. Forty years ago, firefighters did not have to be trained as hazardous materials technicians, urban search and rescue technicians, urban and international terrorism technicians, hazardous water rescue technicians, emergency medical technicians, and many more disciplines that are required for a member to become competent in their duties and responsibilities. I do not see many occupations that require the diverse areas of knowledge that a modern firefighter has to possess to perform the responsibilities of their position. Just as a Doctor is compensated to diagnose medical ailments, and an attorney compensated to protect legal interest of their clients, a firefighter is compensated to perform the duties of their profession. When emergencies and disasters strike such as when 9/11 occurred, who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect lives and properties? When hurricane Katrina struck who was there to assist in protecting the citizens of New Orleans, when wildfires occur, who put their lives on the line to protect the very homes and personal possessions that all of the above mentioned professionals reside in. When you have a medical emergency and can't make it to the hospital, which comes to your aid. When rail and air accidents occur, who are the professionals that respond to stabilize the incident? The list goes on and on and on but you think that you know what you are talking about. I have yet to see any of the above mentioned occupations with the exception of the military members of those professions, put their lives on the line like our firefighters and oh! Please do not categorize the evening warriors and the boys who will not grow up i.e.(volunteer firefighters) as being an example of what the professionals do. Mr. Taxpayer please come of age; because your view of this matter is very short sided and the sheer ignorance of people such as yourself is a key indicator of why government has failed to truly protect the interest of its citizens. Without life, none of this would matter! We as a society have come to place many special interest and grass root ideologies before what truly has meaning. Please, take the time research the matter before you comment. Thank You, a concerned citizen.
Flintstone

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

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#11
Aug 16, 2009
 

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Most overpaid job in gov.

Make it a volunteer force like in many places back east.
Stupidity

Lawndale, CA

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#12
Aug 16, 2009
 
Yep, that's an option! And see what you pay in insurance to protect your assets! It is the ignorant people who make the comments that you do that created this debacle because they have no forward vision. Yeah, let's make all public services volunteer and see what you get! A chaotic situation. But yeah, youíre right letís make it volunteer. Please!
JustMoreoftheSam e

Covina, CA

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#13
Aug 16, 2009
 
If firefighters are so professional then why can't they run firehouses as professional work places and not frat houses triggering millions in hazing lawsuits?

Technology has increased the workplace requirements for several professions.

Is firefighting an easy job, no. Caltrans workers have a higher probability of being killed on the job, yet are they compensated for that?

Maybe their union is not able to use the same your-life-is-in-my-hands scare tactic that firefighters unions pull.

Of course trained professional are better than volunteers in any profession. The OCFA has an interesting program where they have volunteers that can take care of basic functions at an event. This frees up trained professions for the higher skill assignments. This is an example of an actual solution to help contain costs.

If firefighter positions are not overpaid, then why is there a line down the block every time there is an opening? What real world business do you know of that continues to increases pay and benefits to a level where there is a line going down the block for a single opening? Whatever actual risks are there does not seem to deter several 1000 from seeking those positions.

The budget strains on fire departments are related to both declining tax revenue and pay and benefit increases well beyond what is found elsewhere.

You might be shielded from the market realities facing the rest of us, but you are not immune to them.
Why no 8 hr shifts

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

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#14
Aug 16, 2009
 
like virtually all other jobs and even a lot of fire departments from what I have read?

I did find this online:

Ahh, but why not just schedule full crews on each eight-hour shift? Simply put, because no one wants to work graveyard. It's always hard to staff graveyard shifts, no matter what your industry, because it tends to be extremely disruptive to people's lives and schedules. The typical paramedic/firefighter 24-hours-on, 48-hours-off isn't a cakewalk either, but it lets everyone on the crew maintain a "normal" daytime schedule and spend time with their families. It also makes scheduling a lot easier - just rotate through three crews, rather than having to find full crews willing to work graveyard shifts, weekends, and graveyard shifts ON weekends. Plus, the crews usually seem to prefer it - what other profession encourages you to sleep on the job when things are slow, and gives you twice as many vacation days as work days?
awowens

Long Beach, CA

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#15
Jan 28, 2013
 

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I am a retired LAFD Fire Captain, who worked 25 years to get a service pension and I am far from wealthy. During my years on the Department, I responded to thousands of calls that were either fires or medical emergencies. We provided service that nobody needed until they really needed it. Then even atheist prayed to have us show up and save them, their property or a loved one. I always hoped the bell would never ring. But it inevitably did and we responded day or night and it didn't matter if you were rich or poor, what religion you practiced or whether you were black or white or here legally --we still came and did our best. It's true that we were paid to sit in a station and wait, but that down time was largely spent preparing ourselves and our equipment for the next emergency. The LA City Fire Department is the best in the world and the citizens of Los Angeles are fortunate to enjoy the protection the Department provides.
South central

Chatsworth, CA

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#16
Jan 29, 2013
 
If firefighter positions are not overpaid, then why is there a line down the block every time there is an opening? What real world business do you know of that continues to increases pay and benefits to a level where there is a line going down the block for a single opening? Whatever actual risks are there does not seem to deter several 1000 from seeking those positions.
Bob Lewis

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#17
Jan 29, 2013
 
More info wrote:
Not everyone agrees that Fire Chief Barry and his new "professional" standards division has good job. In fact, the rank and file of the LAFD call Chief Barry's new department the "unprofessional" standards division -- and for good reason.
Your readers should be informed that LAFD Battalion Chief John Miller (President of the LAFD Chief Officers' Association) has also recently filed a lawsuit against LA City.
See the recent LOS ANGELES TIMES article by Robert J. Lopez, 2:49 PM | July 9, 2009
L.A.F.D fire commanders sue city, alleging retaliation after reporting misconduct
Two top commanders in the Los Angeles Fire Department's arson and counter-terrorism unit are alleging they were retaliated against after alerting superiors about misconduct, including at least one false arrest and the fabrication of evidence, according to court records and interviews with sources. Battalion Chief John Miller and Capt. Michael Rueda say they were transferred out of the department's Arson Counter-Terrorism Section after disclosing violations of state or federal statutes by members of the unit, according to a lawsuit filed in Superior Court.
The complaint against the city does not specify the misconduct alleged by the two commanders. But two department sources familiar with the case said Miller and Rueda told authorities that, among other things, investigators made at least one false arrest and fabricated evidence in a case. "Ithink that's in the general spectrum of the types of misconduct that we reported," said attorney Marla A. Brown, who represents Rueda.
The lawsuit, filed July 1, follows a city audit that criticized arson investigators for poor record-keeping, failing to pursue leads and not analyzing crime trends. The January audit was conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department, which works closely with arson investigators.
"There were investigative deficiencies with evidence collection, canvassing for witnesses, interviewing all possible witnesses and exhaustive identification and follow up on investigative leads that potentially resulted in missed opportunities to advance and clear investigations," the audit found.The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified financial damages, does not disclose whether Miller and Rueda were working with auditors. But Brown said, "that's clearly implied." She said both men have been transferred back to the arson and counter-terrorism unit but are now the subjects of internal affairs investigations that are part of the department's alleged pattern of retaliation. "This is a whistle-blower lawsuit," Brown said. Both men have been members of the department for more than 30 years. Miller is the head of the arson unit and Rueda is one of his supervisors. Rueda is the brother of Fire Department Deputy Chief Mario D. Rueda.
The suit alleges that the men had their handguns taken away after they reported misconduct in the unit (arson investigators are peace officers and carry weapons). Miller and Rueda also received threats after raising their concerns, according to the lawsuit. "We believe it was somebody that felt threatened by what they were doing," Brown said.
LA City Chief Officers' website: http://www.lacitychiefs.net/index.cfm...
Article: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/07...
Huh? With 9.8 unemployment and forecasts for it to rise to 14.3% doesn't any one want a $300,000 plus per year gig with a multi million dollar tax slave funded Pension??????

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