Round Rock Association of Professional Firefighters Local 3082 DEPARTMENTAL SURVEY Union Brothers and Sister, A version of this survey was initially given to all department members in March of 2003. The results of the survey were tallied and submitted to the City Manager (Jim Nuse) for his review. After numerous meetings with Union and department officials, Mr. Nuse hired an outside consult (Dr. Lewis) to assists the department in finding and correcting its problems. Almost six years have now past and there have been many changes in our department. Some of you may not have been here during the first survey. Regardless, it is imperative that we as a Union have and understanding and ultimately a say in how these changes are currently affecting us, which in turn directly affect the safety of our citizens as well. This survey gives each individual the right to directly express how you feel about our working conditions, safety and our department in general. It is important that this survey be filled out in a professional manner and is not to be done on duty. Sarcasm and personal comments toward any specific individual in this fire department need not be expressed. All comments that are submitted in this fashion will be excluded. Percentages will be found for each of the answers and will be submitted to the city management for evaluation. Feel free to expand on any answer you provide. This will provide the Union with a more specific and comprehensive understanding of your needs. 1) How would you rate the Fire Administration on firefighter safety for our department? Excellent Good Fair Poor 3 23 23 10 (59) Comments: -Command had nowhere near sufficient manpower for the La Frontera fire. Austin FD was sent home when they offered assistance and our firefighters were sent to the hospital for exhaustion. Command didn’t care. -Safety seems to be of great concern around here. -The only personal experience that I have seen fire admin directly handle firefighter safety was at the La Frontera fire when they took command. Communication was horrible and strategies taken put several firefighters in danger. -It seems to be more about creating policies and procedures to the point where it is inevitable to not succeed at our job in a safe manner while following policy. -Safety guidelines were ignored at La Frontera fire. -La Frontera fire had no commander and terrible accountability. We could have gotten someone hurt or killed w/no leadership. -Administration makes suppression maintain safety, but does not practice it. Admin just ran the La Frontera fire and did not practice safety. Examples: Turning down help from AFD, 2 hours to get RIT established, FF using up to 8 air bottles, Training officer running around with and empty air bottle and assistant chief was on the roof while running operations. -Overall, we look out for the safety of the firefighter. -La Frontera fire could have been a little safer. -La Frontera fire showed lack of firefighter safety on fireground. No RIT, and all firefighters working long periods with no relief. -Our fire admin has our best interest at heart. Sometimes it looks like they don’t. I wish that would improve. -Good equipment and emphasis on safety in training. Sometimes, though we are “policied” and it reduced our ability to think freely. This could create dangerous situations. - The PPE program has been consistent and proven to be invaluable to all firefighter personal. Training has been consistent for ISO, IFSTA, FEMA, EMS (CE), IFSAC training. But safety has to be a bigger picture, than one to two persons’ agendas. I believe that with changing policies and agendas, individuals will be trained by micro- management instead of industry standard. -Some tools of importance for extraction operations, have been placed in areas for strategic response, but should be placed on more units. The fire on Country Aire Dr. had administration spraying water in civilian clothes. -Only from the training admin -I believe in equipment and training Admin are strong in Safety. In ideas on how work should be done on dangerous scenes, I believe they expect us to go too far with too little. -Our department is all about safety until it’s not convenient anymore, then it’s just whenever it fits; i.e. La Frontera -At times they strive for the utmost safety and then at other times they do what would benefit the department and not firefighters as individuals. -It doesn’t seem like the La Frontera fire and the Industrial Fire went well. Those are 2 examples where admin assumed command and things didn’t go well. -I feel that Administration’s actions on structure fires have placed firefighters in danger i.e. La Frontera Fire. -I feel our department Admin is extremely concerned with firefighter safety. -We stress important issues such as driving policies, seatbelts, and use of PPE. We fail in staffing, tactics and the whole auto-aid agreement fiasco. All are directly related to our safety. -Some fires in the past have made me question what training has taught me and admin are doing. -I believe we have a safe working environment because as a crew/station we take care of ourselves. The administration’s idea of safety is to write policy after policy stating what we should not do. They will then hang us out to dry if something happens. -We have good equipment and operate safely on fire scenes. -I believe they do not want anybody to get hurt, but the inconsistencies in policies and constant change hurts the department more than it helps. -Forcing someone to take a specific skill class that has no interest in that skill does not help promote a safe work environment. -Poor decisions. Do not think about others. -I believe that if admin is going to show up on scene and run things then they should show up and meet our training requirements. -BC and up scary. Captains on down, fair. -The La Frontera fire was a good example of a complete disregard for firefighter safety. From start to finish, that fire scene was run as if there were people and property in the structure. -I think that if I observe an unsafe situation I can bring it up and it will be addressed. Safety is not taking 5 units at a time out of service. Take a look at the La Frontera issue. We have never hurt firefighters at fires like we do today, I would question the asst. chief and chief’s abilities to keep up with the growth. What are they telling the city, I can just imagine. -“Micromanagers” they do not trust the decision of the Captain and Lt. -We have good gear, equipment, and facilities. That is great. The only thing that I have a difference of opinion is in trying to standardize the apparatus, is the removal of equipment that will no longer be a standard. It does not make sense to sell equipment (tools) because the department will no longer supply (replace) them. It makes more sense to me, the more tools, the better we can operate. Just do not replace them. I feel our department Admin is concerned in firefighter safety. 2) How would you describe the overall work environment that has been set forth by the Fire Administration? Positive/Encouraging Stagnant Hostile/Punitive No Opinion 9 13 36 5 (63) Comments: -This by far the most hostile and punitive system I have ever worked under. Our firefighters not only have stress from the job itself, but also stress from the constant punitive actions that are commonly displayed by our fire chief and assistant chief. No kudos are ever given for these men and it seems like every time you turn around someone is getting their job threatened or written up. Are we all that bad? -I like the work environment around the station. -I feel that if I make a mistake, big or small the punishment will be to make me feel ashamed and useless, as opposed to help me learn. -It seems you are guilty when questioned by administration on many subjects. -It seems that if a person makes a mistake the first thing they want to do is fire you instead of trying to correct the things that went wrong. -People are afraid to voice an opinion unless they remain anonymous from fear of retaliation. -Coercive actions and micro-managing. -You definitely know what no to do. -Administration has a double standard. Suppression personnel are micro-managed and called on nearly every infraction. Mistakes by admin are ignored. We have too many policies which causes suppression personnel to freeze up when safety decisions are needed. FF are constantly afraid of retaliation from admin either directly or through the training division. -Walk the line. -Seems like we’re always walking on eggshells. -There are things that are used as punitive tools when they should be used as learning opportunities. -I think that attitude is number the number one problem here. We are all professionals here but we insist on micro-managing everyone from our AC down to our Lt’s. There is no point in being this uptight about everything. If everyone could relax a bit, we could all enjoy our jobs/careers many times more. -You are scared to make decision for fear of repercussions. Everything you are told to do is followed by an “or else” remark. -I think that I work closer to admin than most. I hope that all stations would have the chance to see what I do. Maybe they can go to the subs (sub-stations). -We are a very rule based/procedure driven department so we know what we have to do and when we need to in advance. That said, there could be more professional encouragement. -Everybody seems to be walking on eggshells. Officers are so worried about making decisions that it is forcing indecisions. - Every day when I come to work and do my shift, I have a six sense. I have to defend myself in all directions. The environment that has been produced is hostile, defensive, harassment, micro-managed, insulting and patronizing. -Reports with a turn out time greater than 2 minutes are flagged. Times on after run are different that Fire House and Adm. Battalion Chief’s has. -When your job is threatened when you make a mistake -I believe that Chief believes you are guilty before being proven innocent. -The administration has caused the morale of this department to hit an all time low. Some of the things they have recently come up with blow my mind. -Someday it feels like we are doing good, other days we can’t do anything right like one step forward and then two steps back -They seem to want no one to be sure in their crew and its abilities. There is no team, only department concerns and its welfare. -I feel they are trying to always find a way to get us in trouble and ultimately punish us. It makes you afraid to do things at times for fear of repercussions. -Depending on the officer and admin. -Round Rock Firefighters are constantly afraid of major punitive actions for even the most minor offense -I don’t feel that feedback is seriously taken into consideration which in turn can lead to dissent. I also believe that there has been some questionable decisions of respect to discipline. -It seems that admin is satisfied with the status-quo. The city is expanding/growing at a phenomenal rate, we can’t keep the old system going and expect to meet the needs of our community/customers. -Very hostile, seems like I can not go to our admin for anything, not even advise. I feel that personnel show up for work and wait to get off to get away from the environment. Anything and everything, minor or major, results in a write up. I feel like my job is always at stake. -Some people in the department believe they will be written up for using discretion on calls. -I circle both because it seems things are stagnant until they decide someone needs to be made an example of. -They look at the bad things and not the good. -I do not feel feedback is seriously taken into consideration, which in turn can turn into dissent. I also believe there have been some questionable decisions of respect to discipline. -It seems that we have way too many policies. It feels like we have to think about every decision more than the job (task). Every time someone makes a mistake, a policy is written to try to fix it. Admin should read Fire Chief Lasky’s book. We should have a love for the job and not feel like this is just not another business. -No positive feedback from Admin only negative. -They lead by intimidation, the Chief is a dictator, the Deputy Chief is little Hitler. We come to work and do what they say and nothing more, we are scared for our jobs and it is good we have this survey to speak for us, I do not trust admin. -I do not have any problems with the work environment. -The work environment at RRFD is 100% punitive. Even if you make a mistake in training (Where you are supposed to make mistakes) you are punished. -I believe that our firemen are forced out of their comfort and capability zones, and this makes for a negative work environment. 3) How would you rate the quality of the equipment that we use (Any equipment other than our apparatus)? Excellent Good Fair Poor 31 37 1 0 (69) Comments: -I would have rated this “excellent” if they had not taken so much equipment we need off of these trucks for no apparent reason. -I think that we have mostly what we need. -I would have given this an “excellent” score except that a lot of our equipment has been taken our units. -All equipment is kept in good shape. It’s just we are getting less and less equipment to work with due to things being taken off the apparatus. -For the most part it is great with few exceptions. -Very good equipment. -No complaints here. Only comment would be to outfit all units and reserve units alike. -Engines and trucks will break down, but for a paid department we have great apparatus. -Good equipment - top brands -Do not understand why units had large Halmatro units replaced with small Halmatro units. Specific equipment removed (Administrative BC) -The City has done very well (recently). - I have always appreciated the city, for reasoning our equipment is top notch. -Would like proper extrication tools -Most equipment is excellent; a few things were bought cheaply though -I would say excellent, but there are times that we cut corners on equipment to save a few bucks. -Overall, the equipment we have is great. A few things are difficult to operate or start, but it isn’t too bad. -I believe that we work with and are provided with all could ask for. -The issue I have is the reduction of equipment from the apparatus. I feel like they expect me to do more with less. -With the exception of our outdated Thermal Imaging Cameras. -Overall I think we are provided good equipment. Some minor stuff could be better, but it does not affect our job. -But I do not think that hand tool equipment placement is a needed issue in a staff meeting. -We need to keep our equipment clean and sharp. -Some things could be better. (I.E. Rescue hydraulic combo tool.) We sit there looking like idiots when a big set takes care of business. Especially in isolated areas or situations. -I think that we should have left the tools we all had on the trucks because I do not see the point in taking away what we have already. -The city is committed to providing excellent equipment. -I would like for every engine to have a big set of tools (rescue). The reserves have no business having them if front run engines don’t. -I believe we work with and are provided with all we could ask for. -We need to get rid of the small combo rescue tools. 4) How would you rate the quality of the apparatus that we use? Excellent Good Fair Poor 51 18 0 0 (69) Comments: -No complaints -I think we are very fortunate. -A few little tweeks here and there, but overall excellent. -Station 4 should have a manned engine company. -Apparatus are kept in good shape and we always have newer equipment. -Very good equipment. -Great! -Very positive to not have any frontline over 10 years old. Good replacement plan with finance. -We should of stuck with Pierce Quantums. All rescues w/pump capabilities. -Our reserves NEED full equipment. -Always the best. -Rescues all need water -Some apparatus are not properly equipped for the area St 4 needs an engine and Quint 3 needs a ladder that is longer -Nice, new and updated -The engine replacement program the city has is an excellent plan. -Most of the equipment in our fleet seems to be of quality (some literally). Any deficiencies aren’t a result of lack of effort. -Apparatus have never been an issue. -We need to modernize our usage of companies. Trucks-should not do engine work, Rescues – need to carry heavy extrication equipment, Heavy Rescue – we need a toolbox that brings everything to the fight. -I think that if there is anything at all that I can say Chief has done well, is that he has gotten us some apparatus. -No apparatus will be perfect. They all have quirks. -Most of the equipment in our fleet seems to be of quality (some literally). Any things that do not work are not from a lack of effort. -The reserves have always been an issue, with the new replacement program, things look a lot better. -Great equipment. (Apparatus) -I blame the Chief for the rescues. They are worthless. Ask the guys on Rescue 3 from La Frontera. -The best I have ever operated. -I think we have good modern trucks. 5) Many times units are taken out of service for various reasons. When this occurs, do you feel that you have adequate resources remaining available (staffing and equipment) to mitigate an emergency effectively? Yes No Somewhat Don’t Know 17 31 21 0 (69) Comments: -Chief has been advised that training is continuously taking 5-6 units out of service at a time. He advised they are not to take more than ¼ of our available units OOS but yet training continues to do so. -This needs to be handled a different way. The citizens come first. -It depends on the number of units taken out of service. Just 2 units, then yes. If more than 2, no. -Many times too many units are taken OOS at the same time for training. Even when some of the classes can be on polycom. -At times when half the resources are taken out of service it could result in delayed response times. -Some training evolutions strip the City between training classes, TRT event training, hazmat training, calls, and running around for administration. -Too many units go to training stripping the city of coverage. This needs work. BC’s and up are the problem. -The normal process here is that the dept. is consistent about taking 3-6 units at a time out of service for training. Recently 6 units were OOS during the A.M. of a shift and 5 units in the PM. The same night of the La Frontera Fire we almost had ½ the department at a Pflugerville night drill. However, the call came in just before these units left the city. -One day it will bite us. -It just may take some time to get more help. -Use the Polycom. Spent thousands on it and still not utilized to full extent. Maybe new IT contact. -Depends on training, day to day OP’s and the unknown. -When many units are tied up in a training exercise – absolutely not! We should train, we need to train, other reasons we should not be OOS for lengthy time frames. -Why not use the very expensive system that our department insisted on buying to incorporate training. -We NEED a city training facility in the city limits! -If we pull 1/3 to ½ of our units at any given time 3-4 days out of the week then we are not truly covering the city. Our station #’s and apparatus #’s look good on paper, but in reality not all those units are available for a good amount of time. -I have no problems taking units OOS for the various reasons, but we need to make absolutely certain to replace man-power in training with available personnel. Man for man coverage. If you have 16 personnel in training, we need to replace them with 16 personnel on duty cover. This also would free up apparatuses as well, so they are not OOS. -Example was the La Frontera fire -When 4-5 units are taken out for training and you have 4 left and they are spread out it only delays adequate response times. -It would be nice to not worry about transferring equipment from one truck to the next -For medical calls; most of the time. Any multi-company responses- no. -At times, yes because the situation is thought thru, but at other times no thought at all goes into it. -Now I do. Before these 2 new engines were put into service I did not, though a back up aerial would be a good idea. -I think that there are too many units out of service for training that could be conducted at the company level in house. -There is without a question times we have too many units out of serviceunnecessarily. There are instances we could be set back in a situation because we have too many units O.O.S temporarily -I think we roll the dice a lot and it usually works out to our benefit. As an officer I do worry if I will have enough resources to respond to an incident. -We take many units out of service for training and admin events. Taking half the city out of service for a CAFS salesman to talk to us is irresponsible in service to the city. -4 – 5 units going to Station 6 is not acceptable. We spent a lot of money on Polycom. We should use it. -This happens on a weekly basis, we take half the city out of service for minor training that could have been done over our expensive polycom system. It is only a matter of time when something happens in Round Rock and we are caught with our pants down, so to speak. -After Dr. Lewis first arrived and made his findings that taking units O.O.S. was a concern given the city. We then stopped the practice of taking so many units O.O.S. but we have started do it again. Why do we have polycom? -For the most part we are well covered. -Having units OOS at station 6 is one thing, but when 5 units are in P-ville is another -Depends on how many units are out of service at a time. -Units are spread too thin and no help. -Most of the time. -Too many units go out of service for certain training classes. Makes it tough for the citizens and the remaining units in service. -There have been times where 50% of units are OOS for training. If a box alarm drops on the west side, there would be a serious delay in response time. -I think we take too many units OOS at once for none emergency reasons sometimes. -All the chief cares about is looking good on paper. Our priority is to serve the citizens and be ready to respond. How can we, when we are out of service two districts away? -Too many. Nice Polycom system is not being used for training. If I lived in RR I would be pissed to see 5 fire trucks OOS at one station. (Polycom) We take 5 units out of service to train, but when we have a large incident need multiple units, certain BC’s insist that we hurry up and clear. (Public 1st) -I feel a lot of the training could be done over polycom or company training, keeping apparatus in their districts. On the other extreme, it is drilled in our heads to clear calls as soon as possible, even if no one else is on a call. Except for the basic medical, any unit should feel free to call for back up (assistance) without being questioned or having to justify each call. -There is without question times we have to many units out of service unnecessarily. There are instances we could be set back in a situation because we have too many units OOS temporarily. -We need to utilize Polycom more, this would keep units in their district. 6) Do you feel that the fire department/City has an interest in you (the employee)? Yes No Somewhat Don’t know 15 15 38 0 (68) Comments: -Problems have been brought up to both HR and FD Admin and they are ignored. Nobody cares. -A lot of times I feel my/our opinions do not matter. I think our opinions are sometimes asked, but don’t change anything. -I feel the city makes huge efforts, but the fire department, not so much. -The city does. Fire Admin doesn’t. The BC’s many times are ungrateful when you ask them for something. -It seems most of the time when it just helps the employee it will not happen. But the other way around and it is pushed through without discussion. -Not from administration’s view. -I don’t feel that HR is here for us. I think of them as more of damage control for the city. -FD – Yes, City – No. Personally I feel that they do. I feel that some of the other guys they don’t care about, though. -I have never been asked or commented to in a manner that would show that the FD/City has an interest (Dr. Lewis doesn’t count). The only interest that is shown or demonstrated is micro management, pointing out your wrong doings and retaliation. -I think they would try and fire anyone in a heartbeat. -The upper end of our department is out for only one and that is not me. We are only a number and can be replaced. -We can be replaced immediately when/if we leave. City business will go on regardless. We are just a number in the City’s system. -My crew and other fellas on trucks do, but nobody above the Capt. level cares about an operational guy (At least on A-shift). -I am given training to do my job better but first sign of problem, your job is threatened. -I do not agree with the department allowing me to live in a certain area. This affects the way I raise my family. -I doubt the substations feel the same way I do. -The point has been made very clear by our administration that we are replaceable and that problems that may occur in our personal lives that could affect our work performance is not their concern. - Some shifts, I feel I am just a number on a board and then there are times, I am looked upon with admiration. Being a driver I feel that I have no voice in the department. -At times we are asked on shift our input on trucks and tools and five minutes later we are told how things are going to be. Why ask? -When it benefits the fire department -I think the two should be separated. Admin appears to not care about the individual. The city I believe does. -Not really; just a number -Yes and no, to fill a spot as a firefighter but not as an individual that is asked what they might think -One of the main reasons I decided to work for Round Rock instead of a bigger department (like Houston) was so that I would know everyone and admin. I thought the smaller department would give a family feel to it. That hasn’t been the case at all. I don’t feel that the city admin really cares about us as individuals. We are just another warm body to fill a position and then if we make a mistake they will come after us. I thought they would be more understanding and compassionate. -Sometimes I feel like a warm body needed to cover a spot. I do not feel my ideas are listened to. I do feel the core supports the FD mission. -I get a good feeling from line officers and BCs that they care about my future. Also, get the same feeling from people at city hall. That good feeling is absent when I talk to our admin. -A number. -I used to feel that we were not just another employee #. -I feel the city does, but I do not feel the fire department does. I feel like I am dispensable, and can easily be replaced. Our Chief and Assistant Chief rule by fear. They threaten people every week with their job if they don’t get their way. -Depends on which shift you are on. -All the FD seems to care about is the bottom line. RRFD is nothing more than a business. When caring and concern for the employee stops, so does the quality. -We have adequate training. The city’s education program shows they have interest in our development. -I think I do my job well, but looking around it looks like there are rules and policies written to cover any circumstance. When a new issue comes up, no one seems to discuss the situation to learn from it. Its hush hush, and the employee is disciplined. We should all learn from our and each other’s mistakes and learn from it. Not scrutinized. -The “people” atmosphere is not there on my shift. I firmly believe it comes from the shift commander. -Maybe training, I think the city listens to chief too much. Is he telling the truth? I do not think so. He’s known to lie even within the stations. -I think fire admin and city sometimes takes us for granted. No compassion at all for employees. Too much run like a business. 7) Do you know what the 5-year plan for the Round Rock Fire Department is? Yes No Somewhat Don’t know 7 28 27 6 (68) Comments: -This has changed so many times that I would venture to guess nobody but chief knows. We have no idea where we are going and how to get there. -I was told once about 3 years ago and haven’t heard much since then. -No idea. -Just recently found out. -Chief just came by and told us what it was in March. -We have been shown some station placing for the future, but it’s unclear. -I would like to see our admin communicate this more. -I have a general idea, but a presentation on this would be good. - It changes all the time. How can anyone know? Also there is privileged information only given to officers and above. -With the economic situation, I am sure no one knows. -I think the 5 year plan is dynamic, I think it is ever changing. -Stations, equipment, and people. An example would be the apparatus replacement program schedule. -If you ask me, it is a bunch of BS. Excuse my language but how can you expect your department and personnel to follow a plan and commitment, when as a Chief, you yourself do not. -5 year what? -? – Hearsay only. -Never heard it. -Trying to get Station 8 on line and try to achieve 4-man staffing and get a better ISO with apparatus replacement plan. -I bet the chiefs do not know we are back to budget to budget. Chief is incompetent. -We have been presented the 5 yr plan a number of times, however this was prior to being in the current state of our economy. I am sure it has changed somewhat. 8) How would you describe the overall morale of our fire department? Excellent Good Fair Poor 3 14 30 22 (69) Comments: -People are constantly beat down by their BC’s and above. People are striving to do the best they can with so many demands put on them, but nobody is ever recognized for the good work they do. People want to put in their time, go home and not think about this place until their next shift. -There are always a few bad apples, but mostly everyone is great. -The excellent morale within most companies helps to bring the overall morale of the department up. -Some shifts are higher in morale than others. This is directly reflected by the way each BC runs each shift. Not being able to use vacation time really hurts morale. -Suppression is afraid to stick their necks out with the threat of being punished because it wasn’t done a certain way. -Only due to such a close-nit family-like group. -I think we are all happy to come to work. But it would be better if we weren’t micro- managed and not a “CYA” environment. -This revolves around the recession/depression we are currently in. We need to get cost of living raise where it needs to be and better positive communication. -We put on a pretty good show and we serve our public well. Most of us have a good morale that we generate from within. Those of us who are willing to admit it are always concerned about our punitive environment. -The only time morale goes down is when the administration rears their heads in. -The training Gods run people down. Our upper end could care less about us. They go home. -BC’s make a big difference (B-shift) -I answered this way because of the way admin approaches certain situations. -If #6 was answered yes, I think the morale would improve. -There are no benefits from working out of fear. Folks around here do different tasks to keep from getting in trouble. This attitude starts from our BC. -Excellent at Central. Moderate to poor at substations. -It depends on what station you are at. Our group works very well together, so may not see all the problems that exist. -People seem to just want to come to work do their job and leave. The team attitude is almost gone. -It is all about business. Family does not equate into the picture. This also goes back to Question 1 on how it effects the department; low morale only inspires poor safety practices. -Good and bad days, upper management needs to work on communication skills and upper management communications. -Until they take away when you can take vacation or limit it due to rank. -I think people are afraid of Fire Admin. At the station morale is good. -Very Poor! No Tradition! -Guys like coming to work for each other; but not for admin. -People are not as motivated to come to work in fear of what they might face or have to deal with. -There seems to be a lot of negativity these days. There is a lot of complaining and angry people. It is a hard to stay positive and enjoy work when it is like this. -Employees need to feel like they are valued. They need input and ownership in their job. -We have a lot of people that work towards a common goal, despite obstacles put in front of us. -I think we need a change in leadership. -As stated before, the morale is poor. I feel our fire Chief and Assistant Chief are to blame. I used to feel good about going to work, used to have pride and honor for my job. The Chief’s do a great job at taking it from you. -Getting worse. -Below poor -I say fair because I am so disconnected with things outside my station because I am so busy. I am always trying to keep up with the constant change and new policies or procedures. -Certain employees always have a negative opinion. -People are down because of admin and a few BCs. -It varies from shift to shift. -Younger guys seem to be more up beat than those who have been here for quite a few years. This seems to be the case with many departments from what I can tell. -The day is full of policies, training, preplans, quick plans, hydrants, meetings. There is less time for our own company/personnel training. No time to care for our equipment above the normal needs. Too many policies. Do the job. -I can only speak for my shift. I’ve heard several times “my day was great until he showed up”. -We are beaten down. The City Manager has got to do something; he would not treat us this way. I feel if nothing is done we will implode, and it will go public. -I think it is usually pretty good, some of the older guys complain sometimes, but they are trying to make sure there are checks and balances. -Everyone feels that the administration is not looking out for them at all. -I think the punitive atmosphere has brought the morale to an all time low. 9) Do you feel that you are encouraged by your supervisors to reach your personal career goals? Yes No Somewhat Don’t know 31 9 29 1 (70) Comments: -They never encourage you to reach YOUR goals only the department’s goals. This is apparent when they force people into relief officer positions when people feel they are not ready. That is unsafe. -Only by my direct Lt. or Capt. -Some employees are being pushed into choices they feel they are not ready for. -In house – yes. Higher than Captain – No -I’ve never been asked what my goals are. But, I think training is preparing me for some of it. -We still have no career development other than the captains down. There is not enough training to help captains succeed to the next level. -Other than overly redundant dysfunctional semi-annual evaluation process, my supervisor and/or the department does not have any idea what my personal career goals are and have never asked. -But it’s up to that individual to push him/herself. -Forced to do it if you are not ready. -My supervisors work to improve me on a daily basis. -The last person that talked to me about this was John Burton when he was a Captain. -Keep getting turned down for training that I sign up for. There is no OT for attending training for non-mandatory classes. -By my immediate supervisor. -Encouraged by my direct supervisor. IE: Lt. -My immediate supervisor is coasting. My captain and the St. 7 captain are very encouraging. -My officers have trained me formally and informally very well. -My station supervisor yes, but the actions of the Fire Admin and the Battalion Chiefs, I think turns people off from promotions. -They either try to force you into it or they couldn’t care less either way -By some yes and by others no, like they don’t care -I feel very disconnected from my officer. -I feel we are driven towards acting status before we are ready in order to avoid overtime and save money. -I do not feel like my BC really cares about my career goals. He talks a lot, however never really listens to what I have to say. -My Lt, Captain, and BC encourage me to meet goals. -My immediate supervisors, I do believe care and would go out of his way to help me succeed, but after Battalion Chief I do not believe anyone cares, and they have shown it. -Lt.-yes, BC-no -Too much, if I do not want to promote leave me alone. The supervisors are pressured by admin. And training to have everyone who can should move up. -I believe all Captains want us to do our best. Most BCs tend to follow orders no matter what. Questions and input should be encouraged. -By my supervisor. -Sometimes your goals are not their goals. -At the company level. -My Captain and Shane Glaiser; not Admin. -With training classes being denied left and right…..No. Don’t threaten me with not approving a class when the request was placed 5 months ahead of time. -There are a number who do and a good number who don’t seem to be too concerned. 10) How would you rate the current working relationship between the Fire Administration and the general populous of the fire department? Excellent Good Fair Poor 0 6 25 37 (68) Comments: -People constantly talk about how beaten down and micro-managed they are by our upper fire administration. I personally don’t respect them as leaders or people. -The chiefs need to listen to the Indians. We’re the ones running calls day to day. Our opinions and needs should matter more then they actually do. -I’m finding it more and more difficult to see that fire admin’s vision for the department matches the general populous’ vision. Which I feel causes a huge amount of tension. -I think the problems exist between certain BC’s and the officers they manage. -There seems to be a “us” VS “them” mindset. -I’m scared of our chief, that he can do whatever he wants. Like treat people different. I don’t like the way I’m spoken to by my battalion chief. -Comes and goes. Some days it’s good and some days it goes south. Too many knee jerk reactions to stuff they want done. Quit micro-managing and let the station officers do what they are paid to do. -We walk a fine line from being policy drunk and doing our jobs well to serve the pubic in a safe manner. In contrast, while we walk this fine line we are constantly fearful of a punitive/retaliatory environment from our administration and/or the training division that is being used by the administration. -One way street. -BC King and Training Division – Good. Everyone else (Admin) – Fair at best. -People follow what they say because they have to. I don’t see where the Admin is willing to listen to the operational guys on the rules they are setting forth and how it affects us. EX: Vacation time and taking tools OFF of the trucks. -Decisions are made from the top down. You feel that you can’t go and talk to them or they won’t listen. -Please work on communication with the substations and higher ranking officers (Capt’s and Lt’s) -It gets different marks depending on who you ask. I think we are in an improving period where we have structure in the department now. But sometimes admin is too “business- like” and should improve on viewing us as a “family.” -It is them first, labor second. It is all about negativity (aka evaluation practice) business first; family last. Vindictive and disrespect to all personnel especially to mid-management and labor. I have to laugh with the department’s mission statement and the departments goals that are in each station. Everything on there is “BS”. It’s only happens when it is convenient for our current administration. -Some admin get to know the firefighters or make an effort -By their constant unpopular actions, i.e. vacation, discipline, judgmental ideas and lack of input from line personnel, I believe there is a very poor relationship -Mostly the guys don’t like admin. I cannot think of one guy who is happy with admin. -I don’t believe Admin is in touch with the general populous and don’t base decisions on what the general populous wants and needs as a whole. -I don’t believe there is one. -Please see comments to question 1, 2 and 5. 1. I feel that Administration’s actions on structure fires have placed firefighters in danger i.e. La Frontera Fire. 2. Round Rock Firefighters are constantly afraid of major punitive actions for even the most minor offense. 5. I think that there are too many units out of service for training that could be conducted at the company level in house. -It seems like I hear a lot how lazy suppression staff is. I’m not sure they understand we can only do so much in a day. -There is a great deal of “us versus them” attitude. I am unsure where it started, but both sides contribute. -Once again it is very poor. The chiefs rule by fear and threaten everyone with their job. It is a very hostile environment/relationship. The chief writes and changes policies on a daily basis to suit his needs/desires. In the 3 years of my employment I have received several surprise memos that I had to sign, that if I did not, the chief would try to find a way to terminate me. -Can’t trust them! Lie to your face! -Seems as if admin.’s motto is “Do what I say and not what I do”. Communication is a one-way street in our department, Top-DOWN. -It seems to be abrasive. There seems to be quite a few things the general populous appreciates and respects about what fire Admin has done for this department. At the same time there seems to be a feeling that Admin is arrogant, does good work, gets things done, but ultimately for whose benefit? -Needs work. Not willing to listen and support suppression. No trust in officer’s decisions. Too much micromanagement. -People are looking everyday to transfer from Central. -I’ve already explained it, no one cares for Chief but they’re all scared to talk for fear of their jobs. The union has to do it for us. -Some micromanaging has gone on fire scenes, but I think it is being addressed. -Everyone has to watch what they say/do down to the most minor detail. -Suppression is never a part of the decision making process. They come up with all the ideas and never get input from the line staff. 2 BCs in particular. -I think there was head hunting at one time and this made an unstable base in our working relationship. 11) How would you rate the training that you receive so that you may perform your job safely and effectively? Excellent Good Fair Poor 14 43 9 1 (67) Comments: -Training is good but it has been used as a punitive tool against individuals. They tear people down that need extra help instead of encouraging them. People have been written up for not doing well in drills. Training is the time to make mistakes! If we are so good that we don’t make errors then what is the need to train? -All the training you need is offered. -I find our training is very advantageous. I would like to see more training that relates to recent calls that we can learn from. I.E. La Frontera fire communication. -The training dept. is awesome. We do need a training building in the city though. -The training department has gotten better over the last couple of years. Work in progress. -Most training is great, but occasionally we have a class that seems to be a waste of time and money. -It would only be better if we had a training facility and training props. Training has let me check out books to read, that aren’t at the stations. -The training we get is beneficial. I sometimes think we might be getting carried away with it a little. Let the officers train more and evaluate. We are intelligent too. -Some training received is good and pertinent for job specific purpose. Other is more or less filler training for hours credit. -I believe we should have training at our station so we can grow tighter as a company. -Training grounds would help a lot. Some of the trainers are poor teachers. -More aerial specific training. -Training is good for everyone. Sometimes taking a break from training is good too. With a staff of 5 in training they should do a good job! Compare our training of our personnel to other departments including Austin and I’ll bet we get more hours per capita in training than most any FD around. -I think that our training department has an old school mind. I would like to see them encourage our FD populous more. -Our training division has dramatically improved. Now we just need a fire training tower/field. -“NO TRAINING FACILLITIES”. Training material and hands on are very good, but Captains in training has his own personal agenda and horrible instruction practice. He is disrespectful, bad tempered; vindictive methods have lowered the training grade. Remove him and I would grade higher. -Very good training just not class adequate training resources -A lot of variety -Some are important and others are not so much related to our job.. -I am glad we do a fair amount of training. However, it doesn’t seem to be consistent across all shift and it also seems that training tries to come up with new ideas but doesn’t know how to implement them. -I would prefer more field work. -We need less bookwork and more fieldwork. We should stop using an incident as a training ground. -Our training department is great. Need to focus on more fire training, less EMS and policies. -I think overall we have good training, I just agree on the ways it is presented. Seems like all we do is go to Station 6 because it’s more convenient for training, when it should be about the public. -Lots of training is good. -Fire training is good. EMS training is a joke. -I believe our training is excellent, but when do we get free time to catch up. -Maybe a little too much training. -We are getting stagnant. We need new ideas – same, same, same. We need something new. -I believe our training division does good to provide us good training, but we could do more live burns and have a better facility. -Training is doing a good job, we need a training field. -Training department is excellent and are doing an amazing job. -We have good training. Some of the basics could and should be done at the company level. We need more fire (live) training and more fire scenario based training. -There’s always room for improvement, however some of the new programs they have presented for training have been really great. -As a department we need to get back to more company level training. 12) How would you rate our living conditions (stations)? Excellent Good Fair Poor 30 31 6 2 (69) Comments: -Stations are top notch! -Stations in other cities are very, very bad. Not all the stations look like “7” but are just fine. -Nice stations with everything we need. -Some stations need new beds. -Top of the line living conditions. -Stations falling apart. -I think we could have better beds, but most of all matching furniture. It’s embarrassing. -Stations 1,3,4 and 5 are over populated. Not enough cabinet space. Hassled when we ask for additional plates/silverware. Holes in ceiling. Frankly, embarrassed to show fire station when public tours are held. Need a station facelift. -Great stations because the men taken care of them. -Most stations are fairly new. Duel company stations are somewhat crowded. -First class. -Warm and Dry. -Great stations. -Admin still regulates what we can/cannot put in the stations. EX: Pictures, furniture, accommodations. St. 6 does not have one picture hanging on the wall. Like a Jiffy Lube! -Station design is decent. Our IT department needs more help. Tommy can only do so much. -Except the beds. Spend the money and get us some good beds so my back doesn’t constantly hurt. -Can’t complain for the most part -Some stations need to be updated. -Some stations are cleaner than other, but overall they are all good. -Some stations are nice and some need a lot of work. -Need some repairs. Central fire station should not have to share their “spartian” living space with our admin. Admin belongs at city hall, that would free up the company officers to worry about training their crews, not staying out of admin’s line of fire. -Overall it is good, we do occasionally have problems or broken appliances, but logistics does a good job of getting it taken care of in a timely manner. -Can’t complain. -Central station living conditions is really bad. Admin. Should not be in the same building as a made station. -Some stations are more home like. -Over crowded and needs work on stations. -Of course some stations are much better than others, but overall conditions are great. Beds could be better though. -Stations are great!!! -We have nice stations. -The best I have been in. -We need some remodeling done. 13) How would you rate our pay in comparison to other departments in the local area and the state of Texas? Excellent Good Fair Poor 8 27 28 4 (67) Comments: -We have fallen behind Pflugerville now. Our officers in most cases are making 5-8 thousand a year less than a city that has nowhere near the financial infrastructure that Round Rock has. The city needs to commit to keep our salaries up. -We should have the best pay aside from Austin. Round Rock is too big and wealthy to let some of these other smaller less wealthy cities make more than us. -I feel blessed to have a job I love that pays decent, especially in these hard economical times. -Every year since I have been here we have gotten raises but have fallen further behind competing departments in the surrounding areas. -Falling further behind some departments, while being past by others. -We need to be higher that Pflugerville. We have more to cover and more people to take care of. Why are they getting so much? Who are they? -We are better than some. We are behind some. Such as Austin, Pflugerville, etc. -Could be worse but could be better. We have jobs. -Lucky to have a job. -Not bad, but could always be better. -I believe we are too far behind Austin. -It costs too much to live in this area. Insurance is too expensive to make it with a family. -Or department works harder and smarter than any other department (city and area). We have better service than Austin and we struggle to get paid 10% less than AFD! -Good for our county. But falling behind for a department our size that is growing. If we don’t keep up with “City” dept. pay, then we may struggle. -Need a cost of living adjustment or equivalent to departments in area or city population size. -Glad to have a job with RRFD. -I think it could be standardized or kept close with other departments -I think the city has ever changing ideas as to how we should be compared to other areas. Our pay is not bad but it’s far from good. -Other smaller departments make more with a smaller population base. No real incentive to make Round Rock Fire Department home. -Austin will probably always get paid more, but that makes it difficult since we always hear about them getting a raise. -I wish I could complain about pay but I find it difficult. -No real complaints. A lot of people do it for less. Though to attract and retain the best people we need to stay ahead of the curve. Area departments are catching up. -I think our pay is fair, but could be a lot better. Our neighboring department, which is less than half our size, has many ranks that make more than our ranks. Don’t think this right or fair. -In today economy our pay is good compared to being laid off, but when the economy kicks back in, that will be a different story. -Our pay is not bad, but the expectation upon us is ridiculous. RRPD always seem to be the golden child of the city. -Little low. -We now have other small departments besides Austin keeping up with and passing us. This will make us the stepping stone for firemen to go elsewhere. -We are competitive. -I think we are paid very well and we should stay within the same area as every other department. -We are over 20% behind Austin and now Pflugerville has passed us up. What next? I think we need collective bargaining to fix these issues, our Chief is not helping any. -Will never complain about pay when there are people getting laid off everyday. -We may be behind, but in the grand scheme of things we are okay. Police appear to be in better shape than we are. -In the past couple of years it has begun to lag a bit on the lower side, management levels especially. Other departments are more than competitive. 14) How well would you rate the Fire Administration with regards to listening to your overall needs? Excellent Good Fair Poor 0 10 17 42 (69) Comments: -If it doesn’t match their vision then your ideas are disregarded. -I think the intentions are good. I don’t think people maliciously make opposite choices and decisions. I just think Admin believes they always know what’s best and we never do. -The fact that admin takes it upon themselves to make decision about our units and what is on them without asking, and then not listening to our concerns is an excellent example. -My personal experience has been good. -It seems they have a closed mind attitude when it comes to listening to the other side of the story. -If it wasn’t their idea, it’s not going to happen. -Goes in one ear and out the other. They act like they want to hear what we have to say but I know they don’t. Maybe they know something we don’t but I doubt it. -On a personal level this is very poor. As far as equipment and needed items for our work areas it’s better. -They usually get us what we need. -Do they? -Administrative BC – Good. Rest of Admin – N/A -They are going to do what they want to anyway, which will/is causing many of us not to speak up. -Admin seems unapproachable. -They don’t make attempts like the previous administration did. -I think they listen to input in some areas, but dismiss it in others. We get good equip on request and they are open to new ideas but can get to fixated on policies/procedures that are rigid. - It is simply a waste of time to talk. -Not from any personal experience -There is no input -It doesn’t matter what we say, most will not listen. Their mind is made up, even if there are better ways to do things. -They listen; and then do what they want anyway. So guys get to the point where they don’t say anything because it doesn’t matter anyway. -They listen, but don’t take it into consideration they do what they want anyway -I don’t think they are interested in hearing our needs. When I had an accident on the job, they wouldn’t allow it to be workers compensation case. I was not given any kind of an explanation. It goes back to not feeling supported or cared about. I am also resentful that they tried to fire me a while ago and I specifically reached out to the Assistant Chief for guidance and he would not even return my phone calls. Admin only seems interested in their own needs and protecting themselves. -I don’t think administration has a real concern about the individual’s needs. -I don’t feel like my ideas matter. -I believe they try to do their best once a problem or need is addressed. It is not always our preferred solution, but I truly believe they try. -If it is not their idea, it did not happen. -The admin does not care about you as a human being. They make it clear that they don’t care about your problems, your family, your way of life. It’s their way or the highway. -It is about them, not about the shift guys. -The opinions of the suppression division should be valued more. I have heard some great ideas not valued. -Our needs are only listened to when it is convenient to achieve their goals or needs. Communication is one way – down from the top. -BC on up do not listen. -They listen but do not take it into consideration. -I do not ask for anything. -Some things are heard, but mostly, Admin dictates to the BCs what they want and that is it. BCs are overwhelmed with things like payroll instead of running the shift, which they can not do anyway without Admin’s approval. -They do not listen. -Is there a policy saying they have to listen? -Chief does what he wants that is why when he is in charge of a fire we are back in the 80’s tactics. It does not matter what we say. We have no input, if every time it is ignored. -I have not had any experience with that. -Communication with out Admin is a one way street – them to us. -Two BCs in particular never listen. Tired of ideas getting shoved down our throat. -I believe that they do not care about our needs. 15) Do you feel that communication from the Fire Administration down to the front line personnel is efficient and effective? Yes No Somewhat Don’t know 6 40 24 1 (71) Comments: -Communication is horrible. IF you ask your BC something, he doesn’t have a clue. This also ties into the 5-year plan. We have no idea where we are going or how they plan to get us there. -It seems like there is always some big secret. A lot of times you wouldn’t know certain things unless you asked. -Overall communication is very poor. -It seems that when admin is getting information to the BC’s it is good. Then each BC conveys the message differently and sometimes not effectively. -It seems orders are just handed down and response is not either relayed up or not listened to. -Too much micro-managing. As a firefighter I have my Lt. or Capt. giving me orders then my BC also giving orders watching over my work and Admin watching over him. -I feel as though I get emails that should be for officers only. I’m a firefighter and there are emails that I receive that don’t concern me. -Maybe communication amongst themselves is good but from the BC down sounds like more BS and ultimatums with negative discipline attached to it. -No. It is selective. It is either what makes them look good, or micro-managing messages or an overall punitive tone from the top. -We need to find things out sooner. They need to explain more, not just say “because we said so.” This might ease tensions some others have. -Chief and Assistant Chief – It’s not their nature. Look at AC’s track record – Montgomery, Reynolds and Tanner. Not being sarcastic just stating facts. -You need two sides to communicate. Right now Admin says something we have to do it. There is no “listening to what we are saying.” EX: tools OFF of trucks and new Firehouse reports. -To the people easily accessible – yes! To the substations, no. Please work on this somehow. A mandatory noon or lunchtime Polycom would be wonderful. Make it low key and DON’T RECORD IT! Make it a BS session! It will work! - Info sometimes gets to us slow or incomplete. This has gotten better though. -Thank God for email or we would still be in the dark. Even then it is limited. Management practices are still behind the times. I like to call it snail mail from admin. -Some things are communicated clearly -Terrible communication; we only communicate through unexplained policies with no reasoning. I guess they are always secretive to avoid a confrontation. -It takes forever to get info, like it’s a big secret. -There is a complete lack of communication within this whole department and then rumors get started and things get misconstrued. -Communication goes well down the rank but not so well up the ladder. -It seems to be getting better with station visits. -I have a sinking suspicion that things from the top are filtered down to us. Often in a way that fulfills the need of the person disseminating the information. I don’t believe the true intent is often conveyed. -There is defiantly a breakdown. -We have a chain of command that is not followed. They micro manage all day everyday. I as a firefighter feel very bad for our BCs and captains. Seems like all they do is jump through hoops whenever the Chief wants them to. -Non effective -It comes from the top and the explanation from the BCs is “That is just the way it is”. (i.e. Capt., Lt., Driver time off) Policy is made with NO input from people it affects. -Things often get taken out of context. -In many cases communication has shown to be poor. -BCs, two in particular do not know how to communicate at all. They can not deliver a message very well. They basically talk down to the guys that keep the department rolling. -What is the 5 yr. plan? Chief is a dictator and as long as he’s here our department will be stagnant and God Forbid get behind like we were before. Bizzell listens to us after the last survey, but Chief won’t change. It’s his way or the highway. -It’s efficient but usually not portrayed effectively. If I have to follow chain of command they should too!!! -Very little actual communication from Admin. -We are told what not to do, when to do, and how to do. Very little is taken back up the chain as far as how it is working and what ways would work best. -Sometimes it is great. Sometimes it is a bit delayed, but this happens everywhere. It is effective. What they say goes. -Admin communication is lacking. This adds to low morale. 16) If you were facing disciplinary action, how confident would you feel that our Fire Administration would treat you fairly and justly? Very confident Somewhat confident Not confident at all 4 21 43 (68) Comments: -Chief and assistant chief continually infringe on people’s rights to have union representation. They are currently being sued for this right now. -I think they would, but I have “heard” of unfair treatment. -I definitely feel like they are trying to get you on something. They come after you instead of support or understand you. -I have been coerced into signing discipline paperwork. I don’t believe I was treated fair the two times I have been written up. I do not agree with the reasons I was written up. I think it was unfair. -The punishment that I’ve seen in the past few years has been extreme. Where does this come from? The decisions on discipline are too much. What basis? -Admin has consistently denied union representation to all except for our recent case. Retaliation along with whether you are liked or disliked has been considered normal treatment. Fears and concerns are with the chief, assistant chief, BC’s and training division. -Good luck! -Code of conduct is there. -Without the Union backing me, I would not feel confident. -Don’t trust them. -Depends on the circumstance. -It is Fire Admin’s nature to cover the City’s behind. -The rules/discipline are very clear, but how they are implemented may be inconsistent. -They would wash their hands of me. -It is judge, jury and executioner with this admin. I feel, every time this admin is purposefully and ruthlessly trying to fire personnel and with a vengeance trying to make personnel into micro-managed robots. -I am not sure, never had a problem but have heard some bad and good. -They seem to break a lot of civil service rights when they see fit -I believe they would do whatever they wanted that would benefit the Department and only the Department -I was almost fired before, I thought Chief was out to get me. He told me I was a liar and taking advantage. He never gave me the benefit of the doubt. He never gave me a chance. -Please see question 2 2. Round Rock Firefighters are constantly afraid of major punitive actions for even the most minor offense. -I’m not sure I like the case by case basis of discipline. It should be the same across the board. -Admin is not accepting of our Weingarten rights. I would hope to be treated fairly, but I feel that the department has, recently, targeted people and treated them unfairly. -They will hang you. -I feel that civil service rules are followed when they want them to be followed. -This is very disturbing, but I do not think that I would be treated fairly. I have already been down that road with the chiefs and I had to stand up for what I thought was right. They did not like that and tried to coerce me into signing whatever they put in front of me. I did not. -These days I am not sure who we can trust. -I have been there and know they do not treat you fair or justly. You are guilty before you can prove otherwise. And we are to know every policy; our policy book is about 3” to 4” thick. Get real. -Our Chief was put here to control us not to direct us into greatness the city seems to think he is doing. ISO 2, is a sham. Look at Charlotte, NC. That city was an ISO 1 and 9 FF died. The city needs to wake up and look into the department and see what is really going on. Discipline, control and rules are all needed but should not be the focus of the administration. -Ask those who have been disciplined. The reason, employee, and procedure. -With recent events I would be denied union representation. -Chief uses coercive actions, and then lies about it. I sometimes feel he hates fire fighters. He listens to his stupid lawyer and then the city has to defend it. Don’t fix it if it’s not broken. -Between our Admin and our union it would go fine. -Admin will throw the book at you no matter the offense. -Can not trust anyone anymore. I think they pick and choose who they go after. -History shows that you are made an example of and that they try to strip you of your rights. 17) How do you feel that we as a department can attract motivated and qualified personnel to start and finish their careers with the Round Rock Fire Department? Comments: -We have a reputation from people around Williamson County as a department that has a tyrannical chief and has a dept. that wants to help no one else but ourselves. Our department is nicknamed “the island.” Install an Admin (chief and assistant chief) who treat people fairly and encourage instead of constantly tearing them down. That will change how we are viewed by others and encourage them to apply and finish their careers in RR. -We already do. Raise the pay and dump the 45-minute living requirements! People want to work here but a job is not worth making family life hard. -We need to promote a positive, healthy work environment and assure personnel that “moving up the ladder” will better the department and a new position will not be filled with fear. -Compensation is not as close to Austin and other depts. Are getting closer to ours. And there is no OT when you want it. -Better Pay -The environment needs to get better and the pay needs to be competitive. -Compensation to attract them here. Less micro-managing. -Quit micro-managing the officers and personnel. -Keep up with pay increases and not just when the city feels like giving us one. More college education opportunities. Better morale. -First you must have a fire department/city administration that truly believes and treats its personnel with a cultivating environment and not a punitive/hostile one. A cultivating/professional environment speaks volumes as far as recruitment and quality saturation. -Become more traditional, if a guy starts off at a station, let them try and finish their career there. -Keep who we have and not run them off. Then maybe we would. -Continue to have and increase training opportunities. If a training tower was added, I think this would attract qualified and motivated personnel. This shows that the department is serious about the safety and the importance of continuing education. -Don’t know. I think its all good. -Pay is a big attraction for new applicants. Once we get motivated and qualified personnel we need to make sure our pay stays competitive and that morale stays high. BC’s that cause problems for no reason will make people look elsewhere for employment. -Recruitment group. -Create an environment of trust. It has to happen from the top down. Allow people to do their jobs. If a problem arises, confront it or that officer individually. Officers need to feel like they can be trusted. Mistakes are made, we learn from them and we become a better person because of it. -I feel like we offer a lot. It does take a stronger willed person to work at RRFD. That’s what we strive for but that’s also what makes it difficult to get more applicants. -Compete with Austin’s pay; maintain our current equipment standards or improve/open lines of communication to where fire personnel are more involved with decisions that effect them. -Consistency. This department is run 7 different ways depending on the shift and which chief you talk to. -We lie to them. Get a Chief or Assistant Chief we can be proud of. Bring back the morale! Get leaders not managers! -Quit being Nazis up top. Our Admin is why nobody in the county likes us and why we don’t attract experienced personnel from other local FD’s. -“Pay” and benefits -Remove the 45-minute rule. Work on our retirement pay. Other departments receive a much larger percentage at a shorter amount of time than RR. -I think that we educated our employees well. We are lucky enough and paid well enough to stay. -First – A feeling of welcome environment. We should create better traditions and create a more “family” atmosphere. Second – Competitive pay and benefits that keep up. -Reorganization from the top down with more qualified administration members who value input from their crews and the crews themselves. -Excellent question. Quality training not quantity training, consistent salary raises, secondary retirement investments, higher education classes (for Associates’ and Bachelors’ degrees). Separate admin from labor. Have mid-management run stations, not admin. -Work on communication skills -I think we do a pretty good job of that now -Begin by having a different administration. Word has got out about how poor our admin is. -By trying to change the way this department is looked at from outside. People from the outside see our new administration as poor, that reflects on us. -Better benefits, pay and treatment of individuals -That is difficult with Austin FD so close. Offer a training academy, better pay, better benefits and hold more statewide training. -Competitive pay -I consider RRFD a career department if there are a few changes made in administration. -Having real leadership, like a Brunacini in charge. FF would flock in droves to work for a person like that. Keeping updated with the best apparatus and equipment, and keeping Round Rock ahead of the pay curve. -We can keep them if we do not run them off or make them retire early. -Pay -Honesty, Trust, Care or the employees all the way from the top. -Well overall we have great starting pay and equipment, etc. But if you do not think other departments and cities do not know bout our problem with the chiefs, you’re wrong. I have friends in small departments that are very qualified that will not test until we get a new chief. -I feel that we can attract them, but not sure I we can keep them. -Remove top 2 admin. -Competitive pay. -No – morale is horrible. A great morale, Happy people say happy things. -Work on how we are viewed by other departments. -Not good – scared of our BC rank and up. -Pay, Admin upgrade, less hostile work environment. -Outreach programs – recruiting. -I am not confident anymore. We as a department have become disliked in the area. The arrogance we show from Admin has hurt our reputation. We as a bigger department should be willing to help at all times. -I think people think we have a good department. I think we can attract more qualified personnel if there was no living distance. -Long-term motivation by feedback and training. -Cut the B.S. -I believe that we can pick the best and not settle for lesser as unfortunately smaller departments really have to. -Get a new Chief and Assistant Chief, Charles Dittman is just the same, but John just needs a little help. Shane is all alone. Have a 5 yr plan that majority can feel safe about. -Have an Admin that is willing to listen and stand behind the decisions of officers and firefighters. -Let or encourage more input from the firefighter/driver/Lt. Build more love for the job and build a department the guys feel a part of. Less feeling of a business and more of a job (group). -This department is provided all the equipment we could need. Our pay could be a little better, moral a little better, and defiantly our relationship of respect to neighboring departments. We do not assist anyone and have a bad reputation because of it. We are called the “island”. -We need to quit talking negatively about the department as a whole especially in front of the rookies. 18) How would you rate the medical benefits you receive as a Round Rock Firefighter? Excellent Good Fair Poor 5 28 23 12 (68) Comments: -Cost has been past on to employees! -Happy -The benefits compared to previous jobs I have had are not near as comprehensive. -Could be better but good. -Atena is terrible insurance. Wait until you have a family that has some sickness/injuries come up. -They are while you are employed, however there is nothing when you retire. I can’t speak as far as extra dependent coverage. -I don’t have a family and I don’t use it much but it works well for me when I do. -Scott and White should be offered. -More out of network providers. -Family rates too high. Dental/vision is non-existent. Needs a lot of improvement. -Needs to be more affordable. -Too expensive for family -It would help to have more paid for spouse and family. -It would be excellent if it was an indemnity. -Decent, but I don’t have to insure family members. If I did I would rate it poor based on cost. -Scott and White insurance is much better. More clarification on current TMRS. Secondary retirement, help from the city. The city encourages secondary retirement programs. -City should be shopping for better rates or other plans and options. -I think medical could be better -Could be much better -They could be better -The city benefits are alright. I thought that as a member of a Union that there would be better benefits, especially in case of a line of duty death. -They are better than my spouse’s. -The city plan is not the best, but it is good. -Overall I think they are good, but could be improved with more coverage for me and my family. If I die protecting our citizens, the city is only giving my wife 1 year salary. That is like a slap in the face. -Should be better. -I believe the medical benefits suck for the city as a whole. -Haven’t had to use my insurance very much. Vision and dental need to be improved. -Nothing after retirement. -Everything that my family needs. -We should not have to pay for average medical care. We should be able to provide excellent health care, period. -We need medical benefits after we retire. -I feel the city could do better with insurance plans. I feel our plan is low grade. -I hope I can get benefits after I retire. -With the economy I don’t expect any better. -Too expensive 19) How would you rate the retirement benefits you receive as a Round Rock Firefighter? Excellent Good Fair Poor 7 32 26 2 (67) Comments: -7% 2 to 1 match isn’t bad. I wish the state would allow 9% with a 2 to 1 match. -Could be better -TMRS with a 2 to 1 match. -Could be better. I would like to see firemen get lifetime medical benefits like the military gets. -TMRS: it’s the only umbrella system we have. Things could always be better like medical after we retire. -Our pension would be better. -2 to 1 is good. Better than 0 matching. -TMRS rocks. Wish we could invest more than 7%. -Not yet researched. -We still need to look into what else we can provide. -We need retiree medical benefits! -TMRS is a well run pension system and I trust it to be financially sound when I retire. -Better than Enron’s -I don’t know, I still work here -2 more years and I will find out -Could be much better, i.e. opt out of social security through the city. -Other than no medical after you retire, not to bad -You have to put in almost 30 years to get your full salary, which seems like a lot. I wish there was a better way to save. -I believe retirement and medical benefits are shabby. -It would be nice to have what Austin has, but we don’t have the # FF to make this happen. -Overall I think we have a good retirement. I don’t agree however at the fact we are not given more options. I have lost several hundred dollars in my deferred comp, but the city has not presented any other banking options. -Needs improvement. -I think a private retirement would benefit the department. -Hope cost of living decreases when I retire. -If we had our own would be better. -We have to work too long to make it worth while. -We need collective bargaining to get any better. The city is maxed out on TMRS, that’s all they can do. -Looking forward to receiving them next month. -I feel TMRS is good, but I wish we could as a group have a good risk free additional plan. -If we did not have to pay for health insurance and put more into retirement. Retirement can and should provide a good retirement life. -They are similar to most I guess. Other departments (larger) have much better. 20) How do you view this department in general? Be specific. Comments: -A department that has a lot of potential if we could just get the right chief and admin to lead us-not manage us. -I view it very well. Progressive and professional. I just think that RRFD has taken the firehouse out of the firehouse and make it too much of a business. I realize times change and we need to adapt, but, tradition is important. -An excellent department with huge potential. Although we are going through tough economic times right now, the city will continue to grow in the future. We have potential to be one of the finest departments in the nation. There are numerous self-motivating employees who can contribute to the overall mission of the department to provide the best level of service to our citizens. -RRFD has a lot of growing as far as experience goes. Older departments seem to be more efficient and simpler than ours. Policies and disciplinary matrix are too complicated and not followed in many cases. -Good, highly motivated, progressive. -I think the overall morale of the department is down due to the relationship between administration and suppression. Everyone is walking on pins and needles. The punitive attitude of administration is the cause of it. -Good as long as my work can stay in house. -This is a great department. It is pro-active. Safety minded. But we could use better leadership at the top of our department. -It’s an ok department. Feels there’s no flexibility in our work. Too many policies and micro-managed by our BC’s and higher. There’s no incentive to go above and beyond in my work. -I view it fair. We have good equipment and good people. So-so pay. So-so benefits, and great stations. We need to fire Dr. Lewis and start holding everyone from the BC and up accountable for the implementation of better communication, better discipline, better morale development, their own negative actions, positive career development (city help with getting education degrees. Without this – first come first serve BS), and get us a cost of living raise. Not asking all that much. -The personnel, FF’s in general, are great people and I am very proud to be ranked and employed with them. The department as a whole is lead by an administration that is very insecure and has no people skills. Because of this the department is ran on a punitive/hostile level that in turn affects the overall safety and fairness of its employees. In the large picture careers are not properly cultivated and recruitment is effected negatively. We desperately need a change at the top! -Every department has positives and negatives. I don’t like how we never are seen in public during parades, but I like how we stress safety. -An up and coming department that has grown fast and is trying to keep up with the changes. Efforts have been made to purchase quality equipment and apparatus. Since we don’t have opportunities to fight fire very often, at times personnel seem to get discouraged and lose motivation to train. Relationships between operations personnel are good, but between administration, there is often strain. Overall it’s a good place to work. -Shifts are managed different so there is confusion on how things should be going. -Excellent department. Love it here. We have our problems but so does everybody else. It could always be worse. -Overall, I feel good about the department. We are provided with the tools we need to do the job and station life is pretty good from shift to shift. -Good. -When I first started my endeavor with the fire service, Round Rock was my first choice of employment. Since then, I have worked for two departments until I finally was hired here. -I think generally we are on the right path. The policies are overwhelming. The micro- management is rampant and the nitpicking is out of control. -A great department with outstanding people. A very progressive department willing to meet the needs of citizens through hiring personnel, building stations, training and adding new fire apparatus/equipment. -The busy work sucks the life out of me. I want to demote. -From an Engine/Truck/Rescue viewpoint we are a good department. From an Admin viewpoint we look good on paper but the reality is we have NO good leadership examples to learn from. IE: chief and assistant chief. -I view this department as a nice person with cancer. Overall we are trying to be a good organization. But our cancer lies within for positions that have influence over much of the department. Why are we writing people up for not signing their timesheets while they are on their honeymoon? Why do we make it so difficult to send trucks to CRC calls? Why does RR insist on making this job so difficult to begin with? -Good dedicated frontline firefighters. Morale is brought down by Admin. -Good. The citizens are taken care of very well. Now we need to be taken care of. -Overall a very professional department that is good to work for. We’re too heavily governed by policy and procedure. Allow people to think independently. The department is too “office-like” and has no real tradition. We should add some “character” to the station environment and create lasting traditions that are learned from day one. -A department experiencing growing pains being led into the future by incompetent administration managers without any input from line staff. -All business; no family or brotherhood. Backstabbing at all levels. Admin is very vindictive, micro-manage, lazy, demanding, untrusting, humiliation, harassment, hostile environment, trying to union bust, degrading and demoralizing to its personnel. Every day I come to work defensive, angry and pessimistic because I know someone and somehow will come to the station and mess with me and make me do their “pet peeve” or personal agenda. In my opinion we have went backwards in management since the last survey. The administration’s performance has been horrible. -Department as a whole could work on communication. Classes, training, administrations should have their own building. -Think we have a good overall department but a few issues that never get fixed and just get swept under the rug, such as non standard pay toward the market. Need some restructuring in Admin -I believe the infrastructure of our department has gotten much better. I think we have hired some great employees in the past few years. We have a good training division that needs training facilities. I think office admin, i.e. Chief, Asst Chief, and Battalion Chiefs need to get more input for the line, because the new ideas coming from these areas are ridiculous. It is almost like they are justifying their jobs. The Battalion Chiefs’ to some part at no fault of their own are so detached from their crews they have become disliked and not trusted. They have also in many ways have become yes men to admin. -Low morale, no tradition, good people, bad administration, and good equipment -The department spends so much time talking and training on communication and interaction but our administration doesn’t really seem to care about the opinions of its members. They seem to do what they want with the attitude of who cares what everyone else thinks. Also, it seems many decisions are made and are not communicated, like they are secrets; such as manning moves, apparatus placement, tool locations and such. -Struggling, needing a new Admin with leadership with no secrets or hidden agenda and for them to care about and be in touch with their whole department. -We face some interesting challenges. We are still growing and so there are many promotions but are we truly prepared? I think the department (mostly administration) needs to be consistent with how they deal with things. Training and development programs need to be created and everyone needs to receive the same information. -I enjoy coming to work every day. I do make decisions with the intention of not bringing attention to myself. -I believe we have come a long way, but have equally moved backward when it comes to relations with the admin. They seem to search for what we have done wrong with little recognition for all that we do perfect. -I rate company officers top notch. If they were left alone to run the department (as it should be) then things would run a lot smoother. -I love working for Round Rock. It was my first choice of employment in central Texas. The city is great, we attract good firemen, we have a talented group of leaders on my shift. We do not run an ambulance service. If we did I would have to leave the area to find a better place to work. -Great line suppression. Admin demanding and punitive. -I would not recommend someone to become an employee here. -I love my department and my brothers and sister I work with. I do not love my administration. We need a new Chief and Assistant Chief. I thought I would never say that, I do now. I feel like I have to take a personal lawyer to any meeting with my chief. It should not be this way. -It has potential. -I love working with my crew and doing the job we are all here to do. Admin has made our working environment so that all we want to do is our job, and that is it. If I was asked to help out with something (team, committee, ect.) no is what I will tell them. The reason because, if you make a little mistake or upset someone in admin, they are going to make your life hell! -We are a department going through growing pains. There are changes being made daily. One day we will be well established. We need to stick together as a department. -Most days – it is a job and I look forward to the wake up tones so I can leave the stress, not work stress but department environment stress. -We are a young department that tries to lend everyone else when sometimes we need to sit back and accept advise/help. -Low morale -We have a great department. If we had a strong leader at the top, we could have the best department around. -Overall I think this is an excellent department. I believe our administration is very effective with respect to accomplishing its goals. We have excellent personnel who are motivated to provide high quality of service to the citizens of Round Rock. We appreciate what the city has provided for us. Our equipment and facilities is top notch. However, in order for this department to excel it is imperative that we have tangible training facility. Our training department does good with what they have, but it is ridiculous for a department this size not to have the ability to provide its workforce with hands on training regularly. We risk our lives when we come to work, it would be nice if we had the ability to hone our skills in order to make things a little safer. -Too much business and dictatorship. We need more input from everyone and less from the top two Admin staff. They should oversee the department and guide, not run the department. -This is a great department with a few growing pains. Our current Admin need to be more supportive. Let the officers that they created do their job and support their decisions. You would have more guys stepping up for promotions. -I feel the department promotes the right values and ethics. All they guys I have been around promote a positive work ethic and environment. I am very excited about being here. -I love this department. I love the workers (us guys and gal). The bugles need to learn to be better people persons and let the workers make the decisions. The bugles need to trust our Capt. and Lt. They don’t!! -Intimidating and wants to look good on paper. They don’t want to put out fires and be safe about it, ask the guys at Station 3 about La Frontera. The Chiefs have Mr. Nuse snowed. The only reason it went out was because we put almost 3,000,000 gallons on it. Not because of Chief’s tactics he’s lost. Can’t the City see that? -I’m one of the younger guys and I think it is great and any problems that come up we will fix. Pretty much I look forward to coming to work and I pretty much like everyone in the department and we operate well. -Experiencing severe growing pains. There is no motivation to advance. -I’m going to finish my career here. -I think this could be one of the best departments in the state. The problem is there is too much micro-management, and not enough time to finish-up hydrants and quick plans. -I view this department as one of the best, only because of the suppression staff and the dedication they show everyday in serving the citizens of Round Rock. Even with a punitive Admin breathing down their necks they still perform. -On a scale from (1 bad) to (10 Perfect) we fall at a bout a 6. -Average maybe a little above. Pay, Admin, loyalty both ways. 21) How well would you rate our Fire Administration in managing our fire department? Excellent Good Fair Poor 1 20 25 23 (69) Comments: -No one knows what we are doing. All admin throws into the pile without knowing what the other is doing. Suppression is getting is getting squeezed. Micro-management by fire chief and assistant chief has caused so much problems that officers are afraid to make a decision. This leads to officers waiting for someone to tell them what to do instead of reacting. This is unsafe. -Great Job. -Fire admin does a good job as far as getting resources, but communication and treatment is poor. -They follow the policies that don’t matter and micro-manage the officers. They should let the officers run their stations and crew. -Lack of communications between staff and FF before making decisions that have a big affects. -It seems the needs of the employee are not listened to or kept in mind when some decisions are made. -Great/excellent for dealing with resources and personnel. Poor in the treatment of our personnel. -Stay off the fire ground. Leave it to suppression. -Captains down do great. BC and up need work. We hardly ever see the chiefs unless it’s for a negative disciplinary measure. -Management is all that they exercise with no leadership. It is hostile, punitive and retaliatory. Treatment isn’t the same for all, depending whether admin has it in for you; whether you are tolerated or not and to put it bluntly if you give the higher administration loyalty, you are given favorable treatment. Chief and assistant chief need to go. -We have a great budget and they get us what we need. -People stay on their toes. They take our vacation away. Out to get people all the time. -There is a very distinct line between managing and leading. The management, though somewhat disconnected, appears to be fine. Overall management is effecting the department in a negative way. -Budget-wise good. Personnel-wise poor. -We are managed OK and good at times. -We employ a person who’s only job it seems like is to come up with new policies and how to re-do our Firehouse reports. -They worry about all the small stuff which our suppression guys can handle. They need to worry about the bigger picture. -Since I got hired we have gone through huge changes and we have good training and structure now. To improve they need to re-focus on the “human” element of the job. -Read every comment and this is why I rate fair prior to failure. Communication and micro-management rating this admin to failure. -Seems like the only time they want to see us is when there is a disciplinary actions being taken. -I think they are too policy driven -We get a lot of new people and equipment; but are not managing people so well. -They let the Battalion Chiefs make the decisions. Some Battalion Chiefs don’t know what is going on and interpret things how they see fit. -Communication is terrible. Their managing style is hostile and punitive in nature. It seems as if they are just waiting for you to make a mistake. They do not instill pride and courage. -Admin does well budget-wise but not management-wise with employees -Micro-management kills morale, intimatative and performance at all levels. -I believe many in admin have the small town mentality that hampers us from growing in the city needs. -Too much he said she said going on, someone needs to stand up and lead us. -The worst environment is a hostile environment. This is the environment that we live and work in. -We have got a lot of new things in the last 5 years. Some of these things were needed to keep up with the growth of the city. -Our leaders are worried where a set of hand tools is placed on a fire truck. They should be thanking GOD no FF died at the La Frontera fire from the lack of leadership and preparation as a department as a whole. -We have hired many new employees, opened one new station, and have new apparatus. -BC – both brothers are yes people. No confidence in Assistant Chief or Main Chief. -Communication -I think they are really going to lose control if they continue on this path. -MICRO-MANAGEMENT!!! -Manage by intimidation and fear factor. They treat us like we are stupid, yet we get fires out when we are in charge 99% of the time. -I feel that I do not have enough information to rate fire Admin because I never see them. -They do not listen to anyone out on the streets dealing with the public. -Chief has done a lot for us. However, our BCs should be able to run the shifts without Admin looking over their shoulder. -Fire Admin ensures the citizens of Round Rock have a high quality department. Management sometimes falters but overall they do a pretty good job. 22) How well would you rate the Training division in performing their duties and responsibilities? Excellent Good Fair Poor 15 34 16 2 (67) Comments: -Good training but stop using it as a punitive tool against us! -Great Job -They do a very good job on the specific courses they give. I would like to see our own training facility with burning capabilities. -Some training doesn’t always seem pertinent. -Work in progress. Improving. -They are working with what they get. We need a training field with a burn building. -Training personnel do good. Sometimes a little overbearing but their heart is in the right place. -For the last 3 years training has been used as the “punitive hand of Hodge.” The weak are the ones that were not liked are questionable and singled out by training. This made everyone leery of training and not want to participate. Training is starting to get new officers and this treatment is somewhat diluted. We are also getting some better programs. Until the abuse completely ends the poor score remains! -See previous comments. -Most are good. One is rude and a poor teacher. -Lots of training -Once again there is a disconnect between the administrative side and the operations side of the department. They should be there to support suppression and not suppression to support training. -With 5 people in training working at 400 man-hours in a week, their duties should be getting met. -When we go to training I feel like I am being tested. Instead of learning from mistakes I am afraid to make them because I don’t want to get in trouble or put on a plan. -They are working for our best interest. They are just not as effective as I had hoped. -We just need a training tower/field and a way to reduce the number of units OOS for training at any one time. -We get good training but very little is taught by training division. -Current training has been overdone. I feel now we train to have something on record for ISO ratings. The current senior training captain has brought the department to a lower rating; his vindictive, hostile, humiliation, intimidation practices have brought the training division to failure. - Very good -They need a training field -Adequate training -We get good classes and training most of the time then every once in a while we get something that really isn’t beneficial. -They do well, but they need more assistance. They too need to work on their communication and how they implement ideas. -I would like to get more basic hands on training. -Training provides good programs to internal and outside agencies. I think we need a training field and utilize polycom more. -Top notch. I do believe the training system needs re-looked. Taking too many assets out of service the same time for training. We need to focus more on fire fighting since we get too few actual fires to gain experience. -Some people feel training is punitive, I personally don’t think this. I am not sure about admin making it this way. I feel training needs a change in staffing personnel. -We have good training, but the personnel in training are hard to work with. Nothing is easy with them, feels like you have to explain and reason with them or everything. -On the ball! -Some down time with the crews training as a crew would be great. Admin seems to forget we are here every third day. -Training is meant to be a learning experience, not to hang people by their mistakes. -In my opinion the training division can only do a good job. They don’t have the facilities readily available for them to do an excellent job. -Training is doing a great job but sometimes our call volume jumps up and it gets almost impossible to get just our basics covered. -Training guys bust their tails to get us prepared. -They do the best they can with what they got, not training field. -There is always more when it comes to this; bigger, better, more realistic is always good. -I think we need a change. We have one set of ideas after three years of the same ole same ole. -They do a good job with what they have. 23) How well would you rate the Inspections division in performing their duties and responsibilities? Excellent Good Fair Poor 27 35 1 0 (63) Comments: -I believe the Fire Marshal has this division running smooth. -With as many quick plans and pre-plans we are expected to do, I can only imagine how busy they are with inspections. -No complaints -Great job but overwhelmed. -I would give it an excellent if it wasn’t lead by the current administration. -Bang up job. -Need more in prevention. They seem over worked. -Although not very involved in the Inspections Division, they appear to be doing a good job. -Do not really know. -They need more help. They need inspectors for existing businesses. -Never see them. -I don’t see too much of what they do, but they seems to do a fine job. -I do not know much about what they do. -They are very responsive when I call. -A bunch of hard workers. Part of the reason we run so few fires. -Our inspections department is great. They do their job and you can tell. They always are accountable and you can ask them anything about a business -Businesses are safer because of the codes adopted. -Don’t know -I think they all in all do a good job protecting us. -I don’t work with inspections on a regular basis and barely see those assigned to it. -I believe they prevent all the fire in the city. -Those guys are always keeping busy, and are willing to stop what their doing to help others. -Good job guys. -Don’t know 24) How well would you rate the Suppression division in performing their duties and responsibilities? Excellent Good Fair Poor 22 43 6 0 (71) Comments: -We are trying to keep up with the daily additional assignments and directives from admin, but we are getting burned out. -We have great guys and gal. -Overall we do a good job. I would like to see suppression BC’s having more freedom to make their own decisions without consulting higher up the chain of command. -When it comes to fires – great. -I think suppression has performed every task assigned. -Captains on down do excellent. BC’s need communication degrees from an accredited college. We need to do their personnel evaluations. -Same for suppression! A positive note, during two administrations and the poor leadership of the current one, suppression personnel have done more and maintained a very strong work ethic! -We aren’t perfect but we get the job done and everyone goes home. -Overall good but we all could be better. -We need training that encourages. We need to be encouraged. -The new hire are better trained than ever, and now that we don’t move around all the time, crews are getting much better at knowing their districts and trucks. -This has to go back to the training and with one person’s personal agenda in training. -I think a close training division would help -As long as Admin stays out of the way while we are trying to perform our duties. -It just doesn’t seem like we get many chances to be on a fire scene. So if you make a mistake, you may wait a very long time before you get another chance to prove yourself. -We have a very diverse and talented department. -At least on my shift. I am not afraid to know that any of them have my back. Company officers are superior; I believe they are all very capable. -We have a long way to go. This will require support from admin. -I feel like I have total faith in my Lt.s, captains, and my BC. They care about me and my family, unlike the admin. -IF the morale and support was there my answer would be excellent. -Just need to learn from mistakes and get positive experiences. -We do a good job (medicals and fires). Overall we are knowledgeable of our trade and skills required. If we had a fire training facility we could move to the next level. -We have people that shouldn’t be making decisions or are in the position they are in, but that is something any department has to deal with. -When they are not standing over our shoulders waiting on a mistake. -We do what we can with what we got. -There is always learning and improvement. -I think we do our jobs above and beyond. Considering we have to worry about getting disciplined if we make our own decisions. It is a shame we have to worry as much as we do. 25) How well would you rate the Admin support staff (logistics, secretaries, and computer support) in performing their duties and responsibilities? Excellent Good Fair Poor 18 26 23 3 (70) Comments: -IT doesn’t seem to know how to fix anything. Charles and Karen are great. Cynthia applies attitude when she has no authority to do so. -Logistics needs to realize that they work for us and not the other way around. I know we can’t just ask for the world but they need a different attitude. -I feel that logistics has some control issues and it would be nice to see a non-civilian fire personnel overseeing their operations. -Tech support always has lots of work to do. I don’t know if this is because our equipment is out of date or what. -Logistics and secretary – good. Computer support – fair (it seems to be a big deal to get computer support to come out to a station to fix something). Attitude! -Feels like pulling teeth when requesting items for station. -Logistics need to realize they support us and not the other way around. Other than that they do ok. Computer support is poor and they never work. Computer guys need more help. Secretaries do great. -They are great at stretching the dollar and acquiring what we need. What they need to remember is that they are a support staff to all divisions and that is why they exist. With that being said, they need to be nicer to us in general and not take certain issues on such personal levels. -Assistant logistics personnel can be difficult to deal with at times. Often times she acts like we are trying to cheat her out of something when we ask for things we need. She has seemed better lately. -Poor on computer support. Example: Polycom and MCT’s running poor. -Once again people in suppression feel like they have to tip toe around logistics. They don’t have a feeling that logistics is there to support them. -It has been very difficult to get uniform items that I need (bunker boots). -Our IT department needs help. Our admin needs minimum wage errand runners. -They could work on their attitudes toward line staff. -Tommy with IT is doing a great job. -Very helpful -Logistics needs to stop questioning everything we need and acting like they are better than everybody. They work for us. -Sometimes you get a good turn around and excellent help, other times it’s like they could care less. -Sometimes it is very difficult to get things. I lost a pair of light weight work gloves once and they gave me a very difficult time about getting new ones. -Logistics, for some reason, thinks that the suppression division exists to make their job easier when it is supposed to be the other way around. Logistics – I have had a few problems. Secretaries – no problems. I T – no problems -They are good workers. Though I believe Logistics had a greatly over inflated sense of importance. -Logistics acts like they do not always support us. -I think they do a good job, given the work environment they work in. -Logistics gets what we need when we ask. IT fixes computers that we mess up. -Bad attitude. -I think logistics does a good job. I never get anything at all from the Chief’s secretary. Receptionist always helps. -We wouldn’t be where/who we are without them. -Logistics has a very serious attitude problem. They believe that suppression revolves around them is unacceptable. They are there to provide support, not make things difficult. -Tommy needs help, he is running around crazy. He’s always handling everything. -We always have everything we need. -Charles Meserole deserves a lot of respect for obtaining and dealing with that he does. -Computers good. Polycom poor (system not staff). Logistics good; prompt. 26) Do you feel the maintenance of our trucks is performed in an efficient and timely fashion? Yes No Somewhat Don’t know 57 2 11 0 (70) Comments: -Rick is great and always helpful. -Our shop is timely and great. -I sometimes feel that the shop takes their time. But I also know that there are errors when writing up repairs. -Good job -Rick and crew do an excellent job. Pierce is poor and don’t fix things right. -Yes for the most part. -The guys are nice and go out of their way for us. -Shop works hard to keep in top-notch condition. -The City shop has improved tremendously in the past 5 years. -Yes, the shop (Rick) are top-notch and will help out on an on-call basis. -Good program, Rick is great -Our city shop is awesome. Tip of the hat to Rick and Kevin for keeping us rolling. -Maintenance does a great job of maintaining our trucks. I feel you can always count on them. -Rick is a good mechanic. Always helpful and seems to like his job. -Depends on what it is. It should not take a long to do some maintenance on some vehicles. -If there is a problem it seems to be addressed in a timely manner. -We need a shop that is solely fire and not tied into park and Rec., police etc. The guys have come a long way, but we need a 3 man staff. One person with more experience and training and more equipment to do repairs to keep from having to outsource. -Shop does a great job!! -Rick does a good job with what he has. -It has improved a lot since Rick has taken over. -Most of the time. 27) How would you describe your stress level at work? Extremely High High Moderate Low None 8 22 25 12 1 (68) Comments: -Change after change from admin has me going in 16 directions at a time. -Hard to relax sometimes -If administration staff is around stress goes up. -You hear something new just about every shift about punishment of someone or a policy coming down that effects suppression negatively. -I have been mistreated and I stand up for my rights. I feel that standing up for myself will and is being held against me. -Due to personnel that work with me. -We have a lot on our plate to accomplish in a given shift. -Redundant statements about punitive treatment and autocratic leadership causes this. This also effects decisions at all levels on the day to day and a emergency scenes. This kind of stress has a potentially negative effect on the FF’s and public safety. -Dealing with a couple of incompetent officers. -It is hard to put a concrete answer in regards to the above question. When on certain scenes there can be elevated stress levels. Although stress can be present on scene, it soon subsides due to mitigating the emergency. The other stress, one that is more serious and can affect the “work environment” is what affects morale. Stress in this form can be generated by coworkers or officers. Typically, there is a very low and rarely present stress level in the immediate officer/FF environment. -Due to working out of fear of discipline from BC and above. -It is difficult to keep up with procedures that change VERY frequently. -We have so many policies/procedures that you often worry about what you might have missed or messed up and whether it will get you in trouble. -You feel like you get hit from everywhere. It seems that everyone has a “pet peeve” or agenda. Everything has to be done now. -Central is a stressful place to work. Talk with administration seems to be useless, job and outcomes of conversations change daily. -Depends on the duty -Stress is all from the interior of the department not from exterior (calls/public) -Mostly low but sometimes high, it varies -I go to bed late and do not sleep well. -The most stressful parts are waiting for the next call and surviving having a chief come visit, usually the latter brings unpleasant news. -I very much enjoy my crew and station. My Captain does an excellent job of keeping a stress free environment when he can. It is the administration that stresses everyone out. -This is a stressful job. We should remember this as a department and not make it more stressful. -My plate is only so big. Nobody seems to care as long as their priorities are met. -Admin makes it difficult. Always looking over your shoulder. -Sometimes high. -Too many mandates coming from the higher ups. Report writing has become a nuisance. Too many reports coming back for nothing. People are scared to make decisions in fear of discipline. -Too much micro-management on our shift. -Always looking over your shoulder, afraid to make mistakes because the chief, Deputy chief and Charles Dittman will hang you. Look at the sick leave that should tell you. -My crew keeps everything low key. -I don’t let things get to me, that’s me. It seems like others, especially the BCs are overwhelmed. -I enjoy my job and coming to work. There are few things with respect to my work environment that would change that. 28) Do you feel that the Dr. Lewis program has been effective in helping our fire department to move forward? Yes No Somewhat Don’t know 4 30 12 23 (69) Comments: -I doubt we even follow anything from him. In many ways since chief Bizzell has left we have taken some giant steps backwards. -I feel it could be but don’t know what changes were made that were from Dr. Lewis survey. -Have not seen any changes besides the color of the shirts that the chief officers wear. -When the fire chief and assistant chief are present at his meetings I feel people are scared to voice their thoughts due to the fear of retaliation. -I do not understand the program enough. But we need better leadership and it has not been taken care of. -Good ideas, bad implementation. The men still don’t want to promote to officers. They see the Lt’s and captains stressed out with a receding hairline. -The city has paid a lot of money for lip service that means nothing to anyone. Most of the concerns that have been brought fourth by officers have been ignored. Nothing has changed on our day to day. Of course Dr. Lewis thinks things are better. He is getting the money. His surveys are not accurate because no FF will be totally honest when they know their online survey is in the RR computer systems! -He has sucked up the city’s money for years and there is no brotherhood here. -I think the City wasted its money because we don’t do anything on it. -We still have a Dr. Lewis program? -Not involved actively. -I don’t understand why we are paying some doctor a lot of money on telling us how to get along better. -Wasn’t a part of it. Officers only allowed. -Big change since the process started and many promises delivered on. -I feel this is all talk and no action. I feel this is a feel good project by fire admin and city admin. Why hasn’t labor been involved? I’ll tell you why, because we don’t count. -Only from what I hear -The program has become stagnate due to lack of participation. -It doesn’t seem to help at all when we filled out the surveys for Dr. Lewis -Waste of time and money -His findings and recommendations have not been made aware of to me. -The suppression personnel have done a great about implementing those meeting into their jobs and duty. Administration on the other hand breaks those and does what they want, so it can’t work. -Dr. Who? J/K I feel it is a waste. -At first yes, but then later is a joke! Just taking the city’s money. -Initially I think it helped. Now it is just a pacifier to keep us quiet and the city to say they are trying to help or maintain. -I guess I just don’t know, but it seems I don’t see anything obvious. -Nothing good has come out of this. City has just spent a lot of money. -Have not been here long enough to know. -Not the chief or deputy chief. Dr. Lewis thinks it’s us and maybe a little, but we can’t work with these Chiefs, they are bringing the department down. -I haven’t really been around to judge the effectiveness. -Process has been drug out too long. -If Admin will follow. 29) How well would you rate the camaraderie and brotherhood in our fire department? Excellent Good Fair Poor 9 37 15 6 (67) Comments: -People are so beaten down by this place, they put in their time and leave. Many won’t even attend FF or paramedic funerals when they occur. I believe much of this attitude is due to our admin. They know nothing of brotherhood or camaraderie. -Too many guys gossip, spread rumors and backstab each other. I’m tired of seeing guys say hello with a smile then trash your name as soon as you walk off. That’s not brotherhood. -For the most part, we do a very good job of looking out for each other. -Only a very few people do not adhere to the brotherhood. -It seems that the shifts get divided. -This is the reason our fire department is so good. -We are great if we could get BC’s and up to get off their tail and run this department intelligently and fairly. -Its good with the people that practice respect for their fellow man. Administration does not lead in a way to encourage camaraderie. -I am speaking only of my station. But I do feel if I asked for help from anyone, I would get it. -What brotherhood. -Dictatorship mentality and a poor relationship with everyone on edge. -I would tend to say excellent for the most part. Although we all have our separate and personal lives, along with different backgrounds and beliefs, we always come together when we need to. -The camaraderie of the fellas on the trucks is very good. I feel very little camaraderie with anyone above Captain. -I have seen better since I have been here. -We’ve developed this at the station level ourselves. It seems admin does not place any emphasis on this and they should. Not traveling all the time has helped by creating stable crews. -Fair but declining rapidly. -Horrible. Backstabbing, tattle tailing, lying, demoralizing, ect, ect, ect. Just because people can promote or make $500 more a year on their paycheck. -Depends on where you are stationed. -At the suppression level below captains; it is excellent above captain’s rank, it is terrible. -Depending on what shift and which station you are at -There is a lot of back stabbing going on. We were once united, I am not sure anymore. -As far as our own personnel, Ff, Dr, Lt, Capt., I feel there is a great brotherhood. Anyone would help you out. But there is no brotherhood when it comes to our chiefs and the A Shift, C Shift BC. -Was better, but is getting worse. -Should be excellent, but people just want to get out in the morning and away from the stress. -I only know of one incident where a fireman cannot use the word brotherhood again. Other than that all is well. -I think suppression knows we have to stick together. -I think that it is very important to have this. Anything we can do to make this stronger should be done it’s the most important thing. -We try and look out for one another but brotherhood with Admin is not happening, they don’t care about us. -Shift guys. -No activities outside of work. -We definitely seem to care for and work to help each other on a suppression level. -Everyone gets along fine. 30) How would you rate the cohesiveness of your apparatus company (or in the case of BC’s, your shift)? Excellent Good Fair Poor 30 21 9 4 (64) Comments: -My crew and I are very happy and work well together. -I feel that everyone on my crew has an exceptionally high skill base and knowledge for their specific positions. I have no reservations with trusting them with my life. We work excellent together. -To my direct officer – yes. To BC’s – No. -Get along good. I feel like the BC will listen to you, but that is as far as it will go. I feel like the BC does not have much say so in what goes on. -My crew works great but our BC needs to move to another shift or training or get some people skills. Most of the guys I talk with about him can’t stand him. -My company is good, however this varies throughout the department. The worst companies or shifts are the ones that have people that think they have to be loyal on a personal level with the Chief or Assistant chief in order to keep them off their backs. These people are compromising their integrity for an abusive administration. -If you have Shane… Excellent. The others – Ha ha -There is always room for growth and improvement but on the suppression side of things we tend to click together well on a company level. -I don’t feel like the BC’s promote this because they are made to be robots of admin (not being able to work independently and free to make their won decisions). -Our engine company might be the best one we have. -T1 and E1 on C-shift are a very cohesive team. We’ve worked to make that happen and it helps us do a better job. -Only because of one BC. If that were to change then my answer would be poor. -No trust, not bonding, not team anymore. It’s “all about me” attitude. -The apparatus company is good, although not as good as it could be before the moves, there is a disconnect between companies and the Battalion Chief. -Best crew I have worked with for the most part -Apparatus company is excellent, shifts are excellent and battalion chiefs are fair. -As long as you get to stay at your station, I would say mine is good -If the BC is off duty. -Our shift personnel are excellent, I feel like I have a brotherhood of honor. I would go into any fire with any of my shift brothers/sister. -We match up perfect, that better stay that way!! -Do not know what is going on with both BC’s that are brothers. You are always wrong. -Not every company is going to be a perfect match. Some ideas and goals vary in my current crew. -Our company has an excellent work ethic. We strive to improve and take pride in our jobs and equipment. -We mesh well. Shouldn’t say that, I might get moved. -Shane is my BC and he cares, but he’s up against a brick wall. Our Captains are well trained and handle scenes better than some BCs and definitely better than the chief and deputy chief; that’s obvious. Shane takes advice then makes a decision. Chief already has his mind made up. -Our crew is good to go. We work well together. -I rate our Battalion Chief poor. -My company performs very effectively. We have the only BC with common sense. He- trusts us to do the right thing and backs us up. Can’t say that for the other shifts. 31) Do you feel that you are encouraged to express your ideas and opinions concerning fire department operations and feel that they may be implemented? Yes No Somewhat Don’t know 5 42 22 1 (70) Comments: -They will listen but if it is not in their plans, they disregard it. Our opinions are never seeked by admin – as a result they have very little buy-in from the men. -I believe the decisions are made at the top and that’s that. -I feel that my opinion doesn’t matter and that once a decision is made, that is it – no discussion. -Good in that we have grown a lot over the past 5 years. Fir in that our FF to population ration has dropped. This is not consistent with our “Camry” vision. -I feel like administration has an idea of what direction they want to go and that is how they want to proceed. -In one ear and out the other. It’s my belief that they’ll do what they want regardless of what anyone thinks or says. -NO! This threatens our current administration. Ideas and opinions are mainly ignored. -If I am asked, I don’t think I’ve earned the right to really make my opinion felt. -The may act concerned but the decisions are already made. -Depends on who subject is brought up to. -Not encouraged at all. -Definitely not. -We are asked what we want sometimes. Not frequently enough. -Some ideas are implemented but sometimes we are asked for our opinion and know it likely won’t be taken into account. -Step outside of policy and get crucified with or without just cause. -Too far down on the food chain. I don’t have a gold badge so I have no knowledge, experience or skills to make important decisions for the department. -Yes, they ask you your opinion and ideas, tell you that’s great and then say we are going to do it our way any how -I feel like I have no say at all. -I feel we are encouraged to voice opinions, but we are judged harshly for them -After La Frontera fire I had two issues important to me and I discussed an innovative idea to my BC and he shot me down saying they would not work. -I feel that suggestions of change, even for the better are often squashed for the reason either; 1) That is not the way we do it 2) It steps on someone’s toes. -Ideas are not listened to. -Our immediate supervisors do a great job of this, but admin does not care. They will do what they want, and make us abide. -Oh they will listen, and then blow you off. Doesn’t help when you have a BC who thinks he is the smartest person on earth! -They should be valued more. We are the ones doing the day to day jobs. We should have an opinion -Just as long as it does not go against what admin wants. -If you have a good idea that is good for the department, it usually isn’t turned down. -We can voice our concerns but they fall on deaf ears. -I don’t feel they would be seriously considered or implemented. All decisions seem to come straight from the top. -Some things are hard, but seems like most opinions are not. Ideas for change are implemented without everyone’s opinion. -Policies are being changed without the voice of frontline who deal directly with the community. -Maybe to BC, but it gets shot down every time above their heads. Chief thinks he knows everything. When was the last time he worked on shift? Over 25 yrs ago. The fire service has changed a lot since then. -Opinions from anyone on the line are not welcome. -Not with our BC. 32) How would you rate the current staffing levels for our department? Excellent Good Fair Poor 6 41 15 6 (68) Comments: -The city has hired quire a few firefighters over the last 2-3 years. -We seem to have enough guys and gal. -It would be nice to not have vacation days taken away from us. I changed from good to poor, because I work on a 3 man engine company when I know there is a 5 man company elsewhere. Two brothers should not be able to be BC’s at the same time. Conflict of interest for our FD. It’s suppressing our growth as a FD. -We could always use more men. But with a recession we can’t even get a cost of living raise much less more men. -We are undermanned and behind with our stations. -So good you can’t fire time to take off. -When compared to 2-3 years ago, it has gotten much better. -We need more stations/people to keep up with our growing community. -It seems like I travel at least 3 times a month. Sometimes more. -Good if not tied up in training. -Always need more personnel to adequately protect our tax paying customers. -We could always use the more guys -It seems like with the growth we have had that six people should be allowed off each shift and it is frustrating that admin and training can prevent people from taking off when there is a class going on that only effects a few people. -La Frontera proved we need more or at the very least change some our resources in some of our stations. -While NFPA 1710 leaves it to the fire department to set minimum staffing (1710 ch 4.3) The Charleston phase 1 Post Incident Report recommends all engine and ladder companies operate with a minimum of four (Administration Recommendations, apparatus staffing priority A). Charleston was an ISO 1 rated city, showing that ISO means nothing. 4 man staffing is a major concern. -We need 4 man engines and 5 man Quints. -We have good personnel and a fair amount of them, just not enough. We need minimum staffing 4 men engines and aerials. -I only say good because the La Frontera fire really shows where we stand. -Would like to see 4 man minimum. -We are not Camry, get rid of the worthless rescues. Chief has no operational sense he just throws you a quint and a rescue and says get to it. Are you kidding me? -I feel we need a 4 man crew at the TRT and Haz-Mat stations, as well as the trucks as a minimum. -I’m comfortable with our staffing. I don’t believe we sufficiently staff or utilize our trucks and Quints though. 33) How would you rate the overall consistency of day to day operational decisions by our Fire Administration? Excellent Good Fair Poor 0 18 27 23 Comments: -Policies are constantly being changed to the point nobody can keep up with them. Even a BC told me that he can’t. Report writing process has changed no less than four times and they said that in the near future it will change again! -One day they can tell you in person that they like the idea of something and then the next day there is a policy from fire admin that is totally contradictory or vice a versa. -One day it could be handled one way and the next it could be totally different. -It seems from shift to shift things change and different things are expected of you. -It comes and goes. Some days it’s ok and some days it goes south. -Administration should concern itself with the current and future planning and budgetary level instead of spending so much time on autocratic driven department. -Let us do what we need to do. -I don’t have enough data to form a conclusive answer. -I feel emailed and policied to the extreme! -Frequent changes in procedure makes for confusion and eventually disregard for procedure. -Every shift, it is always “helter skelter “when it comes to consistency. -Not consistent regarding administration to firefighter individuals. -Changes day to day; everyday is a new day -Don’t really see them so I don’t know -It seems like there are major differences in how the shifts do things. -Some things are knee jerk decisions -I never know what to expect out of the Chief’s office -Put a leash on the Administrative Battalion Chief. -Consistency is poor. We often change, for no apparent reasons, the way we operate. -Ideas change daily. -One day they’re your friends and the next they are micro managing and stabbing you in the back. We are very lucky Chief did not kill anyone in the La Frontera fire. Poor decision-making. -Very, very inconsistent. -They learn when things don’t work like they should and try to correct it, even if it does create a different problem. -They are consistent. -Instead of getting opinions or input on something implemented and then it changes when it causes problems with other implementations. -If they would give assignments and let us do the work and not look over our shoulders all day long, everything would run great. -Not consistent, we have three different departments. Admin has lost operational sense. -Just need consistency. -This poor rating reflects 2 BCs. They have to call the Assistant Chief before making decisions. They are always unsure of themselves. **Additional Statement at the end: It is sad that in 3 years I have gone from on top of the world, to just another FF. This administration wears everyone out. I look forward to the day that our Chief’s hostile tactics are brought to light and the City of Round Rock does something about it.