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Bowing to political pressure, the Board of Supervisors killed Thursday a proposed charter amendment that, if approved at the Board and at the ballot in June, would have extended the workweek of San Francisco firefighters by four hours.

Supervisor John Avalos was the sponsor of the measure, which was tabled Thursday at the Board of Supervisors’ Rules Committee. Avalos — who introduced and then withdrew an identical ballot measure last year — agreed to withdraw the measure after conferring with progressive allies.

Currently, firefighters’ workweeks are set at a maximum of 48.7 hours by the City Charter. Firefighters are the only class of workers whose hours are mandated by the charter, which can be altered only at the ballot box.

A city controllers’ report suggested the city could save millions by extending firefighters’ workweeks, mostly through overtime savings.

But the notion has proved to be politically untenable: city labor leaders displayed a “united front” in opposing the firefighters measure, with members of transit workers, janitors and other labor unions joining the firefighters in opposing the measure.

The firefighter workweek extension was not the only labor-related charter amendment discussed on Thursday. Charter amendments, sponsored by Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, that would reform Muni salaries and the city’s pension system will be discussed later this afternoon.

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  • SoSlot

    There always trying to squeeze the poor firefighter when the real waste in the SFFD is at the top of the food chain.

    DO WE REALLY NEED 10 SFFD BATTALION DISTRICTS AND 2 DIVISION DISTRICTS EVERY DAY, each manned by high-price Chiefs, IN SAN FRANCISCO for approximately 350 firefighters in a City that averages 1 structural fire a day?

    Yes, we need the trucks and engines and availability of manpower for the unexpected, but we do not need ALL the Chiefs and their drivers.

    Don’t forget, at anything over a 3rd alarm, in all likelihood the Chiefs from Headquarters like the COD and Deputy Chief will swell the Chiefs ranks in front of the incident.

    These 13 Chief positions require 4.7 employees to fill them 24/7. That’s 61 Chiefs averaging $190,000 or $11,600,000 in yearly total.

    In addition, six of them have drivers everyday and that is 24 jobs at $140,000 average or another $3.400,000.

    If the City fathers in the 2011 MOU reduce the make up of the SFFD to 1 Division Chief and 6 Battalion Chiefs per 24 hour day,as recommended by Harvey Rose, and have only 1 ceremonial Chief of Department Chauffeur, that would constitute an $8,700,000 savings.

    How would the face of the Department change each day if that took place?

    We would be left with the same number of firefighters; same number of firehouses; same number of pieces of equipment.
    The exact same number of firefighters handling hoses, axes, hydrants, tools, ladders and scott-air paks would be available and present at fires as is today.

    However, at a fire you would have one or two fewer drivers clutching a clipboard and flashlight, but the same number of Chiefs, though one of the Chiefs may or may not have to drive an additional 1/2 mile than before the almost $9 million in savings.

    With a deficit of over $500 million facing the City, this should be a no brainer.

    Unless there is a Sacred, “sacred cow” status in the ranks of SFFD employees.

  • SoSlot

    There always trying to squeeze the poor firefighter when the real waste in the SFFD is at the top of the food chain.

    DO WE REALLY NEED 10 SFFD BATTALION DISTRICTS AND 2 DIVISION DISTRICTS EVERY DAY, each manned by high-price Chiefs, IN SAN FRANCISCO for approximately 350 firefighters in a City that averages 1 structural fire a day?

    Yes, we need the trucks and engines and availability of manpower for the unexpected, but we do not need ALL the Chiefs and their drivers.

    Don’t forget, at anything over a 3rd alarm, in all likelihood the Chiefs from Headquarters like the COD and Deputy Chief will swell the Chiefs ranks in front of the incident.

    These 13 Chief positions require 4.7 employees to fill them 24/7. That’s 61 Chiefs averaging $190,000 or $11,600,000 in yearly total.

    In addition, six of them have drivers everyday and that is 24 jobs at $140,000 average or another $3.400,000.

    If the City fathers in the 2011 MOU reduce the make up of the SFFD to 1 Division Chief and 6 Battalion Chiefs per 24 hour day,as recommended by Harvey Rose, and have only 1 ceremonial Chief of Department Chauffeur, that would constitute an $8,700,000 savings.

    How would the face of the Department change each day if that took place?

    We would be left with the same number of firefighters; same number of firehouses; same number of pieces of equipment.
    The exact same number of firefighters handling hoses, axes, hydrants, tools, ladders and scott-air paks would be available and present at fires as is today.

    However, at a fire you would have one or two fewer drivers clutching a clipboard and flashlight, but the same number of Chiefs, though one of the Chiefs may or may not have to drive an additional 1/2 mile than before the almost $9 million in savings.

    With a deficit of over $500 million facing the City, this should be a no brainer.

    Unless there is a Sacred, “sacred cow” status in the ranks of SFFD employees.