I think it's awesome the class that Coach Patterson and the Horned frogs showed this season which I feel surpassed all other "championship" caliber teams. With that said I was disappointed with Baylor and grew annoyed of the constant whining of and bringing up their 3 point win and overlooking being beat by WV which TCU proceeded to beat 2 weeks following.
I feel that by the CFP leaving either Baylor or TCU out of the playoffs they might as well hand the trophy to Alabama now because I am not too impressed by any of the other conferences.
Posted by FWFD1247
on 11 September 2014 - 02:13 PM
My understanding is the training center now at 1000 Calvert is actually owned by the TRWD and is being leased by the city. I don't know about the police side of the training center, but the burn tower and burn lab is actually condemned by OSHA and we are not allowed to burn anything in there for any training. So we have to pay TCC and Johnson County to use their facilities, not only for new hires but also for scheduled training. It will be a state of the art facility, and we will be charging surrounding cities to use the facilities as well. When finished it will have everything we need to do all of our training in house and it will also be the new home of Station 17's, which is currently located down Felix just west of 35 which is in need of a new station anyways. I know we are repurposing the large warehouse buildings and it will house all FD and PD main offices. For the FD side this is something that is past due in my opinion, and I think we will be a better suited department as a whole when finished.
Before the city of Fort Worth granted Tony Landrum 17 million in tax abatements there was not a SINGLE residence a person could purchase in downtown Fort Worth. Just 10 years later, was that a prudent investment? I know they’ve collected 6 figures in taxes from me alone.
By the way I am not anti Tax abatements I do understand the concept of spending money to make money. My only issue was the corporation in which they give abatements to (Walmart) which was recorded to bring 80-100 jobs (I would assume to be fork lift drivers and working class jobs ) as opposed to trying to score some skilled labor jobs (technology). I think we can all agree that any investment in our cities CBD and Infrastructure is a win for all of us, and I think that is what we all want to see done.
...We worked around some nasty chemicals but we had respirators or breathing protection, but not as nice as fire fighters do...
You are correct the self contained breathing apparatus that we use in fires are rather nice. Still that is apples and oranges you are in a controlled environment with a respirator that OSHA finds adequate for the chemicals you were around. In fires we NEED the SCBA if the smoke doesn't kill you the super heated gases will kill you!
Also I wish the breathing protection was the only thing we have to worry about in fires. The carcinogens can also be absorbed through your skin which bunker gear cannot protect you from. There are studies that have been done from Harvard that firemen are 300x more likely to die of a heart attack than any other profession. A study conducted at St. Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta states that firemen are known to have a 300% increased risk for cardiac disease. No matter which website you look at firefighters are in the top 3 of most stressful jobs.That is just some of the physical hazards from fires. The psychological hazards like seeing trauma, burn victims, death, and especially when they involve children.
We also have to keep up with all the training that is always changing seeing that we respond to fires ( Structure, Grass, Car, & Aircraft), wrecks, ems calls, HAZMAT, WMD, swift water rescue, underwater recovery, high angle and low angle ropes rescue, heavy machinery rescue, trench rescue, confined space rescue, Bomb squad & I am sure there are more emergencies we respond to and have to be fully trained for but those are the specialties that I can think of off the top of my head.
I'm not sure how much the article went into it but what has me scratching my head, it's not what a firefighter makes year to year, it's calculating the retirement on the highest paid year or the highest 3 paid years, then retiring on 80% of that which could easily be higher than base pay. I've been in a union so I know for a fact that if someone is in their retirement calculation year they get first dibs on overtime, regardless of what the company policy is. So for ease of calculation, say base pay was 100k, they could easily make 60%+ more of that in OT. When they're cutting heads and stations, there is a LOT more chances for OT. That is what's breaking the city. ...and what's with that huge lump sum payout when you go on retirement, 200K+?, even in my union days that was unheard of, sweet deal.
I can't speak for the police and civilian side of the city because I don't know their benefits. As for the firefighters, we have a program that is far more fair in regards to the OT, it is based on your last OT day worked and we have an OT cap that changes every pay period and if you are in the top percentile than you are not allowed to sign up until you are below the cap which makes the 60%+ unobtainable. As for the cutting of personnel, there is nobody to blame but the city council that didn't hire the class last year, that would have made up for the attrition rate and short staffing, and wouldn't have cost the city as much in OT even though the fire dept. explained to them the deadline of the tests and issues it would cause in the form of OT, but yet they act dumbfounded that we couldn't just hire them after the test expired. Now they are playing catch up and trying to make up for there mistakes and hiring 110 people off this last test.
I think the pensions have evolved over the years through contract negotiations between unions and the city of Fort Worth. The jobs and pensions I'm talking about are not crappy jobs and they have descent pay to start with and when you factor in the fact that they're not paying into a 401K ALL their pay goes into their pocket, pension and retirement is pure gravy.
People shouldn't retire making more than their salary simply because they found a way to game the system, while taxpayers foot the bill. Getting one of those jobs shouldn't be like winning the lottery, they have a hire to application rate to rival ivy league colleges, an example would be this years testing / applications for Fort Worth:
...lines out the door of a gymnasium.
...these are not low paying jobs.
Yes, it is a competitive process for us and for many reasons. We have a great department as a whole, we are well trained, we have great equipment, we are very aggressive ( which is why you don't see many huge fires on the news in Fort Worth, and fires aren't as uncommon as you may think), the larger the cities the more promotion opportunities you get, and as for our pay, they look at firefighter salaries across the region and compare us to comparable cities in size and we are in the middle. All of those reasons are why people come from all over the US to come and work for Fort Worth Fire Department. This upcoming class is comprised of active firefighters from out-of-state as well as in-state from Dallas, Arlington, Keller, Southlake, etc. Many are taking pay cuts just to come work for our department for all of those reasons. Some even had rank and 10+ years experience elsewhere.
As for the pension there has been the taxpayers haven't had to "foot the bill" ever in the city of Fort Worth, we have one of the strongest economies in nation, which is why the recession hasn't hurt us as much as it has other cities in the nation.
Although this is an article from 2011, one thing to keep in mind is that our economy is better than it was in 2011, in the 15 months of "negotiations" we brought forth multiple offers from our side which were reasonable, that the city shot down and at the beginning of the year they give us an unreasonable offer and give us a take it or leave it ultimatum and declined to have an arbitrator mediate our negotiations. What is why we voted unanimously to sue the city only costing us (the taxpayers) more money to pay for lawyer fees. I don't know about you but I do not consider that a fair "negotiation"
Lastly, everyone wants to relate our "impending Doom" to that of the great city of Detroit. In this article from last year, they look into all the reasons for the fall of the city and only one small excerpt makes reference to the pensions, my only point is those "Money sucking public servants" seem to still be there and helping the local community and the city expects them to still work efficiently even though they make more fires and shootings than any other city in America ( New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston all included) all with far less and worst resources. I encourage anyone to watch the documentary "Burn" ( I believe they still have it on Netflix) it not only puts a name and face to those that are still serving the city today, but also what we in the fire department experience day in and day out. I guess the corruption in the Detroit's government was minuscule compared to the hard working police and firefighters that serve the city today.
Does Fort Worth have a fire code and zoning codes so stringent that nothing above 6 floors is practical?
I apologize I didn't emphasize that the type 5 buildings only being allowed up to 5 stories is not necessarily a "Fort Worth" fire code but a national one for safety. That's why motels and hotels around the country seem to stop at 4-5 stories unless they are in CBD's then they actually build high rises.
Man every time I worked at 10's just south of that theater on Hemphill, I always thought that would be such a cool place if they restored it and maybe played some indie films or something. I have never been inside, but old theaters are awesome!
(in light of the Fort Worth fetish for 4-6 story structures lately).
There is a reason for all of the 4-6 story structures. Due to building and fires codes, buildings using a type 5 construction (light weight wood construction) can not exceed 5 stories. Anything more than 5 stories pretty much has to be type 1 ( Fire-resistive) which is reinforced concrete like high rises and hospitals and such. So simply by building with lightweight wood structures, like most single family residences, is much more cost efficient.
One point to make on how builders cut cost is the use of finger joints to hold to scrap pieces of wood together or wooden I-beams which are essentially particle boards and 2x4's that are used in place of the sturdier 2x12's used as main structural supports, and the use of gusset plates. All of which make the dangers of interior firefighting much more dangerous today due to the heightened risk of structural collapse.
...Bring on and include a Nordstrom and a Kroger Signature and you have a sure bet.
I hope they bring a grocery retailer from Texas like Central Market, I know there is the location at 30 and Hulen, but I am all for HEB/ Central Market being the prime grocery retailers in Fort Worth. I hope Whole Foods and Neiman Marcus regret the opportunity they passed up.