Signals AZ

A Full Schedule – The Chief’s Desk

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This has been a whirlwind week, one in which I was unable to assign drafting The Review to any other staff. Chief Rose is on vacation, and everyone else is with me at the AFCA/AFDA Leadership Conference in Glendale. As I draft this on Wednesday in between meetings, things seem to be going well.

CAFMA, Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority, Chief Scott Freitag, From the Chief,

On Wednesday, Jonah and I presented a morning and afternoon session on podcasts. As we told the class, we can tell you how to set one up, but we cannot tell you how to be good at it 😉 By that I mean, we do have tens of viewers, but we do not have 1000s of viewers. In all reality, our intention has never been to go viral. Rather, we simply want to share information with CAFMA folks and our community while also having some fun, and we can report that in that sense it has been a success. As Jonah pointed out this week, the podcast has given us a means to control our message internally, as well as in public. That’s a significant benefit.

Wednesday afternoon, Local President Ben Roche and I were part of the NextGen program panel. The intent of NexGen is to have very open and frank conversations with labor and management regarding the development of the next generation of fire service leaders for both the labor group as well as management.

On Thursday morning, I worked with Chief Tom Shannon (Scottsdale) and the Executive Board of the Arizona Fire Service Admin Professionals (AFSAP) to facilitate a seminar loosely structured around leading beyond operations. The seminar serves as the summer portion of the Chief Executive Office Program (CEOP). Participants in the program will have one more week-long session in October of this year before they graduate. We’re already receiving inquiries regarding the 2023 CEOP cohort, so it seems the program will live on.

I had the privilege of working with Executive Director John Flynn, AFDA, co-facilitating a panel on Thursday afternoon to discuss legislative issues, processes, and the importance of being involved at the state level. It was a great panel discussion with some influential players in state politics to include Senator Paul Boyer, PFFA President Bryan Jeffries, incoming AFCA President Chief Tom Shannon, and AFDA VP Chief Danny Johnson.

I’d like to take a moment to thank all of those that drove down to attend the opening ceremonies to show their support as I received the Alan V. Brunacini Chief Fire Officer of the Year Award. I had no idea so many people had come down until they all came up on stage at the end to take a picture. Honestly, I was very moved by the gesture. Thank you to Captain Fournier and Captain Burch who came down as part of a joint Honor Guard for the opening of the opening ceremonies and stayed to escort me to the stage for the award presentation. They were gracious enough to provide escort for the two Bob Weber Lifetime Achievement Award honorees as well (Fire Chief Randy Karrer and Fire Chief Bryan Savage). It meant a lot to be surrounded by CAFMA folks and their families.

As I said in my remarks, it is hard to put into words what it feels like to accept an award for work and accomplishments that were only made possible because so many people worked together. I want to say thank you to everyone here at CAFMA that has supported me over the years and helped make our collective vision a reality. We’ve only been able to accomplish what we have so far because of all of you. I’m truly blessed to be part of our organization, and privileged to be able to work for and represent the CAFMA family.

Just in case you were wondering, yes, if we boil it down, my peers gave me an award in recognition of me being a pain in the ass. What we’ve accomplished has not been easy, and we have had to buck some of the norms to get things done. That is one of the things I like about our organization, we’re not afraid to roll up our sleeves, get our hands dirty, and put in the work, no matter the obstacles. It’s something CAFMA does within our organization as well as in our region and around the state. It’s pretty amazing when you stop and think about it.

Our folks are driven to succeed, empowered and encouraged to participate, and challenged to strive for more. If we keep those things in mind, and we continue to participate, you, and by default CAFMA, will be successful.

Our keynote speaker this week was former Navy SEAL Jason Redman. He is the author of The Trident and Overcome. He was outstanding! If you have not read his books or heard his story on the Jocko Podcast, I highly recommend all of the above. At the conclusion of his presentation, there was a long line of folks to purchase his books, take pictures with him, and get his autograph. He sold out of all of the merchandise he brought which was also outstanding!

On the legislative front, the 1/10 of a cent sales tax will be on the ballot as Prop 310. The PFFA has established a social media presence for the Prop, as well as a website. As a reminder, while in uniform, or using agency equipment, we cannot take a stance for or against the ballot initiative; however, we can provide factual information regarding how we are funded today, and what we might be able to accomplish for our community with additional funding. We do not want to stray from “just the facts ma’am” while in uniform. What you do in your off-time when not in a uniform (uniform includes baseball hats with our name or logo) is totally up to you.

I’ll be on vacation next week with family in town, but will be in and out of the office as well as available by phone. And I really need to start putting my presentation together for FRI which is just over a month away. Now that the legislative session is done, the AFCA conference is over, and my son-in-law’s Ford Ranger is rebuilt I should be able to focus – maybe…

CAFMA has now introduced The CAFMA Connect Podcast! Get to know the personnel and stay connected to your local fire service agency. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on their youtube channel at

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