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Daily log, 497 billion… The MRI and ultrasound I had last Friday were clear, which is good news because it means no additional surgeries. The downside is that there is no definitive timeline for a full recovery with nerve issues like this. That said, being back in the office this week has helped strengthen the leg and I’m seeing some improvement with the nerve pain. A combination of nerve medications and movement seem to help.
I’ve been able to work full days this week. My back hurts by the end of the day, but that’s to be expected. I did ask my doctor if I could return to work, and he said I could come back as tolerated. For clarification purposes, I asked if he meant as tolerated by those I work with or as I could tolerate the pain. Apparently, he’s gotten to know me pretty well, because his answer was just – yes. I asked Jen if it was difficult being home without me. She said no, and recommended I go back to work for the evening…
The first round of Fire Marshal interviews completed this week. We have three candidates moving forward. They will be in town next week on the 16th for three panel interviews. One panel includes Fire Marshals from around the state, another consists of community leaders, contractors, developers, and Chief Durre, and the final panel is the Chiefs interview. The three panels will run concurrently to keep things on track.
As part of the process for Fire Marshal, we let all candidates know that we were also looking for a Fire Inspector III and a Fire Inspector I, II or III. We have found someone that we believe would be a good fit for Inspector III and have offered the position. We have also offered an Inspector I position to someone with years of experience in the fire service from an agency in the northwest. More official information will be available the first of next week.
Ultimately, I believe we’ll end up with a very strong Prevention team. While we work through the transition, we’ll continue to use our outside contractor, Keith Eaton, for plan reviews. He has been a fantastic asset. We thought that we might fall behind with three out of five of our Prevention folks leaving at the same time, but Keith has done a great job not only keeping up with the plans, but also clearing the backlog.
You may’ve noticed that Prescott Fire is recruiting and that they are offering lateral opportunities. Our labor and management have talked about the idea of lateral hires on and off for several years. We discussed the concept again at our L-M meeting this week. There are certainly some advantages to offering laterals; however, we believe, especially for CAFMA, there are some additional challenges. The main concern is that many of you have already expressed frustration with compression. We believe that that offering laterals may only add to that frustration.
After our conversation Tuesday, I was sent legislation to review regarding laterals for law enforcement officers. The bill would have required an agency hiring a LEO from another agency to reimburse the agency for up to the first two years’ worth of expenses related to training and out fitting an officer or deputy. within the first or second year of their employment to reimburse their current agency for expenses incurred over the first two years of their employment.
The bill has been changed into one that creates a state level committee to study law enforcement recruitment and retention. At the Arizona Fire Service Institute (AFSI) meeting yesterday, we discussed finding a bill that could be used to create a fire service committee to study firefighter recruitment and retention. Personally, I think a state level study could be very helpful because it would be far broader in scope than our own internal discussions.
Ultimately, we believe that we had the best hiring process we’ve ever had during this last round. We ended the process with 78 applications, 54 complete applications, 30 initial interviews, 14 chief interviews, and 10 new hires (now down to nine). We feel these are good numbers and that we don’t need to consider offering lateral opportunities at this time.
When I talked with Patty about recruitment, she said that she appreciated that many of those who came through the last process really wanted to work for CAFMA because of our reputation. That’s a compliment to all of you for the outstanding work you do every day!
This week on the podcast, Chief Durre and I are back! I know, I can already hear the disappointment because Captain Merrill and the recruits have finished and passed the torch back to the B minus team. The upside is that we’ll have Captain Merrill and Captain McCarty on in a few weeks to provide a brief AAR of our first green academy. I’m looking forward to visiting with them! Oh, we forgot to inform Captain McCarty until this writing that he would be on the podcast. Thanks, Boone, you’ll be great!
Please take the time to tune into the podcast this week. Chief Durre and I discuss compassion fatigue and some of the things we’re doing to bolster the number of firefighters in both agencies, as well as adjusting our response models.
Hang in there, good things are happening over the next several weeks regarding CAFMA staffing. Hopefully, we’ll see a decrease in mandatory OT, and OT in general.
I’m working to schedule meetings with some of our community leaders and elected officials regarding our need to add personnel over the next three years. We recognize that adding new positions and staying competitive in the market means we need an increase in revenues. We only have one option to increase our revenues because we only have one source of revenue.
Property taxes are going to have to increase incrementally over the next several years to accomplish everything we need to accomplish. To that end, it’s important that we sit down with our stakeholders to share our current situation, our recommended plan moving forward, and seek any input/ideas they may have. In the end, we hope that folks might understand and support us moving forward.
Overall, I think we have a great year ahead with all of us working together.
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 www.youtube.com/channel/UCshgJvK9iKOILA-Z3TEDvVQ.