Technical Assistance and Information Resources Division
The Technical Assistance and Information Resources Division (TAIR) led by Assistant to the General President Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell continues to be responsive and accountable to IAFF affiliates by being a leader in providing the data, skills, and tools that improve the quality of life for professional fire fighters and paramedics. This division includes two departments and the field services program, all tasked with specific responsibilities. The departments include Fire & EMS Operations under the direction of Thomas Breyer (appointed January 2015), and Labor Issues and Collective Bargaining (LICB) led by Director Kelley Lopez (appointed May 2017).
The Division of Technical Assistance and Information Resources is the research arm of the International, tasked with securing and maintaining the wages, hours, benefits and working conditions of IAFF members and serving as a broker of customized technical assistance and information resources in the areas of labor and collective bargaining, pension resources and fire and emergency medical services operations. The division also equips IAFF field representatives for local affiliate issues requiring IAFF expertise.
Though variations exist throughout the U.S. and Canada in fire fighter wages, hours, benefits, working conditions, and collective bargaining rights, it is clear that IAFF members will not rest in their efforts to seek fair compensation for the work they do, and we will not rest in our efforts to support them. Therefore, the Division of Technical Assistance and Information Resources will continue to be the primary source of information and services dedicated to supporting IAFF leaders and members through innovation.
Since the last IAFF Convention, this division has accomplished numerous tasks.
The Multiphase Study on Firefighter Safety and Deployment of Resources Study Team is complete and continues to improve FireCARES (Community Assessment Response Evaluation System). FireCARES provides local affiliates and administrators with tools to measure community risk of fire and measure how well fire department resources are deployed to match those risks. FireCARES uses multiple “data” sets and analytical formulas to measure the degree to which a community is vulnerable to a fire, the spreading of a fire, and injury or death to a fire fighter or civilian, or significant property loss based on the adequacy of fire department resources.
FireCARES delivers three categories of scores:
- Community Risk Assessment Scores
- Fire Department Performance Scores comparing the department to the objectives in the NFPA 1710 Standard
- Safe Grade that compares the first two scores to each other (fire department performance vs. community risks) to assess the match of resources deployed to the risk environment.
FireCARES was released to the public in March 2017 and has been displayed and demonstrated at IAFF ALTS, Redmond Symposium, the Vision 20/20 Community Risk Reduction Summit, IAFC Fire Rescue International, the Urban Fire Forum and the Metro Chiefs Conference. All public appearances generated tremendous feedback and excitement about the potential use at the local level. Every fire department in the U.S. is included in the system. Fire Chiefs and IAFF Local Officers can set up a login at www.firecares.org.
The Multiphase Study Team on Firefighter Safety and Deployment of Resources was completed and released the National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) www.nfors.org. NFORS has three modules: the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) module, the firefighter exposure module and the Incident Investigation Module. The CAD and exposure modules are live and currently being implemented in fire departments throughout the U.S. and Canada. NFORS links to a local fire department CAD or records management system (RMS) and provides data analysis and results visualization with no firefighter data entry needed. NFORS was developed to assure that local fire chiefs and labor leaders have access to operational data necessary to justify system changes or assess the impact of proposed cuts. NFORS stands alone as a real-time data system but can also link to the FireCARES system to allow fire departments to continuously measure performance in light of risk events that occur.
At the policy level, NFORS is a fire service analytical system, the most comprehensive means of getting accurate and real-time information to help fire service leaders assure adequate fire resources, optimize fire operations, reduce fire fighter injury and death, minimize civilian injury or death and reduce property loss.
For the fire fighter/paramedic running calls, NFORS is a personal data profile providing a detailed history of their work in a private, encrypted online environment, all available on a mobile device. The NFORS Exposure Module is gathering more information than just response time and how many people arrived on the scene. Instead, it is asking questions such as: What was the environment like when fire fighters arrived? What did fire fighters do, and what was the engagement with the fire? What toxic issues were encountered? That’s what really matters when making decisions about resources and safety.
Unlike the current National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), which requires fire fighters to enter all the details about the incident individually, NFORS uses a fire department’s (CAD), records management system (RMS) or data warehouses to automate the process, making the collection of information more efficient and the data more accurate.
In addition to the new data systems, the NIST Residential and High-Rise Fireground Experiment Toolkits continue to be available on the IAFF website at www.firereporting.org or http://www.iaff.org/et/deployment/index.htm or by contacting the Fire & EMS Operations Department. The toolkits contain video, PowerPoint slides, fact sheets, news advisories and press releases that were prepared for use by affiliates and chiefs to present the information contained in the report to decision makers. The EMS report, video and brochures are also available at these locations.
In the research arena the IAFF completed a project on fire fighter and paramedic assault, funded by a work agreement with the U.S. Fire Administration. The work was completed through a partnership with Drexel University. The report is now available at: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/mitigation_of_occupational_violence.pdf .
In conjunction with the Redmond Health and Safety Symposium held August 2017 in Vancouver, B.C., TAIR staff hosted the IAFF Barbera EMS Conference. Paid registration for the conference totaled 959, making it the fourth largest Redmond/EMS Conference. In addition to paid attendees, staff, speakers and committee members reached 500 with an additional 42 exhibitors bringing total attendance to nearly 1,129.
Fire and EMS Operations staff continue to participate in meetings with the DHS/FEMA Office of Counterterrorism & Security Preparedness to facilitate discussion of next steps in improving survivability in improvised explosive device (IED) and active shooter incidents and identify issues and future actions in tactical emergency medical services (TEMS) education standards.
AGP Moore-Merrell and Director Breyer participated in the development of the new NFPA 3000 Standard on Active Shooter and Hostile Event Response. NFPA 3000 is deemed a ‘provisional’ standard and was released as a standard on May 1, 2018. Additionally, the IAFF remains engaged in national discussions with the Joint Counterterrorism Assessment Team (JCAT) and with our law enforcement partners to assure we get the most relevant information to our members.
The IAFF is engaged in many municipalities directly as staff are invited to consult with city decision makers. Many issues are discussed from pensions and healthcare to apparatus deployment and station location. Senior staff also act as expert witnesses when needed on municipal finance, pensions, industry standards, resource deployment and community risk assessment.
To assure that we are always on the frontlines for any information relevant to members, TAIR staff are involved in various aspects of the fire service industry that have direct links back to IAFF member safety and well-being. For example, AGP Moore-Merrell participates in International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) Board, the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), the Vision 20/20 Community Risk Reduction (CRR) Steering Committee and the UL Fire Council.
In regard to training, TAIR staff planned and conducted workshops at ALTS and HR Conference on Advanced Leadership and Generational Differences, Healthcare, Pensions, FireCARES/NFORS, Risk Assessment and Resource Deployment, NFPA 1710, and the Opioid Crisis. Staff also planned and conducted DFSR training in conjunction with the ALTS. DFSR training included instruction on strategic IAFF resources, the Janis Case, FireCARES and NFORS, and IAFF Organizing using the new IAFF SMART.
In conjunction with E-18 Media, staff updated the “Century of Service” video to assure it is current and relevant for the IAFF 100th anniversary. The new history video will be debuted at the 54th IAFF Convention in Seattle. Along with E-18, staff also recorded and produced “How To” videos for both FireCARES and NFORS. These videos are available at www.firecares.org and www.nfors.org
TAIR staff continually updates subject matter toolkits on the IAFF website including: 1) Active Shooter Response, 2) Community Paramedic, 3) Firefighter Safety and Deployment, and 4) Healthcare. Staff has also added a new toolkit on the opioid crisis.
Fire & EMS Operations staff continues to improve the web-based GIS instrument on the IAFF website that enables local affiliate leaders to conduct basic GIS deployment evaluations without accessing the technical assistance program. Basic system evaluations include a 4-minute engine capability and an 8-minute full alarm assignment capability. The enhanced capability now includes full alarm assignment assembly (people count) and the capability to save data records.
Working with the National Weather Service and ESRI, the Fire & EMS Operations staff continually updates the Major Incident Awareness and Tracking tool on the IAFF Website. The tool provides 24/7 coverage of large incidents throughout the U.S. and Canada. Using the IAFF WebGIS server, in conjunction with the ESRI ArcGIS Online system, several layers of incident data are now presented together in one easy-to-navigate mapping system. The ESRI ArcGIS Online – IAFF WebGIS interface allows users to access information when they need it most. Through these mapping tools, leaders can see where incidents are occurring along with the potential risk to IAFF members. In all major incident maps, data are updated directly by national agencies including the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Maps for specific incidents with major impact are distributed to IAFF leadership as needed. These maps include member contact information for disaster relief follow-up for those affected by major incidents. This mapping capability was recently used to support IAFF disaster relief operations for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, floods in Hawaii and wildland fires and mud slides in California.
The department continues to work with the IT department to improve the online searchable collective bargaining agreement and wage schedule database. There are more than 2,450 collective agreements and/or wage schedules available in the database. As is customary, updates on collective agreements included in the database are needed. Local affiliates with expired agreements are notified and given a deadline to submit a new agreement (or fee schedule) or to notify TAIR that they are working under the expired agreement. If no response is received from the local following notification, access to the database is suspended pending updated information.
Moore-Merrell is as a member of the new NFPA Emergency Responder Advisory Council. The council prepares opportunities annually for three IAFF representatives to participate in forums related to emergency responders. The most recent forum focused on data and behavioral health. The forum was established to offer an opportunity for leaders to gain education and experience with research that contributes to NFPA Standards. The forum is held annually with new topics for research each year.
In conjunction with the NFPA, Fire & EMS Operations staff participated in the 2020 revision of the 1710 Standard. This standard is currently in revision cycle with the second round of public comment scheduled for Fall 2018. This revision will have several new definitions including geographic areas and will clarify several aspects regarding crew size and deployment. The standard will maintain the objectives for medium and high-hazard structure fire response, in addition to the low-hazard objectives that address travel time, assembly numbers for the initial full alarm assignment, and crew size for fire departments in communities with dense high-hazard structures and other geographic challenges. An information session on the proposed changes in the standard was held at the 2018 ALTS. Attendees packed the room for the presentation and prolonged discussion. Another information session will be held at the 2019 ALTS just prior to the NFPA vote on the standard revisions.
Fire & EMS Operations staff also participate on the following NFPA standards committee:
- NFPA 450: Guide for Emergency Medical Services and Systems
- NFPA 451: Guide for Community Healthcare Programs
- NFPA 950: Data Development and Exchange for the Fire Service
- NFPA 951: Guide for Building and Utilizing Digital Information
- NFPA 1917: Standard for Automotive Ambulance
- NFPA 3000: Standard for Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response
TAIR staff continues to participate with relevant organizations to assure IAFF member interests are heard and protected. Over the past two years, participation included the following meetings:
- International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) Research Symposium to present a paper on the opioid crisis and community risk assessment for hostile threats. Staff is also preparing a paper on “Fire Departments Using Data to Tell Their Story.” This paper will be presented at the 2018 Research Symposium and submitted for publication in the Fire Service Leadership and Management Journal. The paper will also be presented at the 2018 Urban Fire Forum.
- IFSTA Board Meeting will continue to promote the use of current research and standards in firefighter training curricula.
- S. Government intelligence agencies regarding threats to communities and emergency responders. Relevant resources are continuously updated in the active shooter and opioid toolkits on the IAFF website.
- International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Fire-Rescue Med EMS Conference.
- NFPA Conference to discuss the NFORS and FireCARES systems.
- Metro Chiefs Conference to present a report on current projects and to collaborate on the upcoming Urban Fire Forum.
- Metro Chiefs Urban Fire Forum; the UFF took up positions on responding to opioids that parallels the IAFF position.
- White House initiative on the opioid crisis.
- National Rx Opioid and Heroin Summit to collaborate with other public health and safety professionals on the addiction and overdose crisis.
- CFAI/CPSE Executive Board Meeting to review the new Fire Department Accreditation Self-Assessment Manual with new and improved performance criteria. There are over 260 accredited departments in the U.S. and Canada. The program continues to provide a pathway to performance measurement as a means for matching resources to risk in the community.
The IAFF continues to work with the Commission on Fire Accreditation (CFAI) to encourage fire departments to complete the accreditation process. CFAI regularly exhibits at IAFF functions. Director Jim Brinkley serves in the labor seat on the Commission for Fire Accreditation. Director Matt Vinci serves on the Commission for Professional Credentialing. AGP Lori Moore-Merrell serves on the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) Board assuring that the IAFF maintains a stake in the accreditation (quality measurement and reporting) process. CFAI is a partner in the FireCARES and NFORS projects to ensure that departments going through the process will ultimately use the new systems.
Finally, staff coordinates with Praetorian Digital to ensure that IAFF members can continue to gain EMS continuing education (CE) credits online. Kaplan University’s Fire and EMS Continuing Education was purchased by Praetorian Digital in 2017. Praetorian offers quality fire and EMS continuing education modules to eligible members and employees of the IAFF, their immediate family members and qualified domestic partners at a discounted rate of up to 30 percent off the list price. To take advantage of this discount, members log on to their IAFF account to receive their membership discount code. Unlimited yearly courses start as low as $45 per person. No discount will be offered without presentation of a valid IAFF membership number. All EMS modules are accredited through the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS) and recognized by the National Registry. All CE gained by IAFF members at the 2017 Barbera EMS Conference were awarded by Praetorian.
FIRE AND EMS OPERATIONS
The Department is led by Thomas Breyer, the director, and consists of nine analysts and one secretary III. Eight analysts perform geographic information system (GIS) assessments of emergency response systems using data provided from multiple sources including IAFF local affiliates and commercial data vendors. The ninth analyst was specifically employed as a data scientist and conducts data and risk analysis with data from GIS sources and CAD data. Of the nine assistants one is also trained to perform EMS system design analysis and develop transport integrations, EMS enhancement and departmental merger-proposals. Three of the nine analysts, which includes the data scientist, are also trained to perform jurisdictional risk and workload analysis.
To ensure that the staff remains up-to-date with fire and EMS operations as well as data and GIS analytics, the department has instituted an in-house training program. Each analyst is assigned to develop and implement a training session and bring advanced GIS, data analysis and response operations training to their peers in the department. All staff are able to answer questions related to any aspect of fire department operations, staffing and deployment issues, EMS systems design or transport revenue estimations.
Customized Technical Assistance – GIS Assessment and EMS System Design
The Fire & EMS Operations Department has fulfilled more than 700 “off the shelf” requests and completed over 140 geographic information system (GIS) staffing and deployment studies, more than 16 proposals for EMS enhancement or integration system designs, and five workload analyses since August 2016. The department has more than 40 projects in progress with 25 additional projects approved and pending assignment to an analyst. There are currently more than 100 GIS, 33 EMS, and 32 workload requests awaiting the required data set needed to perform an analysis. The demand for GIS related services to counter resource reductions continues to outpace opportunities to improve EMS systems and add to fire department resources and responsibilities. Workload Analysis, a new addition to our department’s capabilities, gained popularity among our members with 49 requests since the beginning of 2017. The priority continues to be preserving jobs and maintaining a safe working environment for our members.
The department’s system design and analysis capabilities continue to improve as the software and IAFF staff develop solutions to improve. The local issues have become more complex, the consultants are bold and decision makers take a bottom line approach to address issues. This adds to the complexity (and completion time) for projects in this department. To successfully argue an emergency response system should be exempt from resource reductions, the analysts in this department must continually enhance their own skills and the GIS tools they use. They must prepare accurate, clear and concise reports based on available research and current industry standards to deliver the best possible products for IAFF members.
After acquiring new software, training and additional staff with analytic expertise, Workload Analysis has become a valuable addition to the technical offerings of this department. Our analysts evaluate the workload and emergency response capabilities of our locals in order to highlight the importance of having sufficient resources and show the effect on emergency response when these levels are not met.
To evaluate a department’s workload, several measures are assessed including the number of incidents per hour, the number of individual apparatus responding to the same incidents, travel times for the responding apparatus, the demand on each apparatus’ time, the number of apparatus in service at the same time, the number of back-to-back incidents and other areas of interest upon request. Workload Analyses are used to assess the ability of fire departments to meet performance objectives contained in industry standards, identify weaknesses and areas for potential improvement.
Recognizing that the threat of resource reductions can occur at any time, the WebGIS team constantly works to improve the internet-based self-help GIS application to better assist IAFF members 24 /7. The WebGIS system provides basic coverage maps using three travel time parameters simultaneously. These parameters are based on fire station or resource locations entered manually by local leadership. The WebGIS system also provides “effective firefighting force (EFF)” maps in addition to “distribution” coverage maps. Users can export maps to all graphic formats, print them locally and save work for future WebGIS sessions. The current version can index station and resource list documents prepared in text or spreadsheet by local leadership, placing multiple stations in the system automatically. This feature is particularly beneficial for larger response systems. The system will eventually address assessment of locally defined alarm assignment capabilities and apparatus combinations.
Customized Technical Assistance – Completed Assignments
Florence, AL Denver, CO Oakland Park, FL Somerville, MA
Mobile, AL Steamboat Springs, CO Palm Bay, FL Ft. Detrick, MD
Springdale, AR Wheat Ridge, CO Tallahassee, FL Frederick County, MD
Stuttgart, AR West Metro, CO Volusia, FL Grand Rapids, MI
Glendale, AZ Windsor Severance, CO Ottumwa, IA Harrison Township, MI
Goodyear, AZ Branford, CT Champaign, IL Lansing, MI
Phoenix, AZ Fairfield, CT Elgin, IL Portage, MI
Prescott, AZ Greenwich, CT Oak Lawn, IL Sterling Heights, MI
Langley City, BC Hartford, CT Anderson, IN St. Paul, MN
Vancouver, BC Norwich, CT Kokomo, IN Clayton. MO
CalFire, CA Stamford, CT La Porte, IN Grand Island, NE
Daly City, CA Wilmington, DE Muncie, IN Omaha, NE
Fairfield, CA Avon Park, FL Princeton, IN Concord, NH
Fullerton, CA Bay Shore, FL Kansas City, KS Atlantic City, NJ
Irvine, CA Broward County, FL Topeka, KS Jersey City, NJ
Laguna Beach, CA Flagler County, FL Shreveport, LA St. Johns, NL
Modesto, CA Lee County, FL Chelmsford, MA Rio Rancho, NM
Oxnard, CA Pinecrest, FL Holycoke, MA Clark County, NV
Vallejo, CA Miami, FL Salem, MA Henderson, NV
Las Vegas, NV Westerville, OH Pawtucket, RI Alexandria, VA
North Las Vegas, NV Midwest City, OK West Warwick, RI Bristol, VA
Colonie, NY Muskogee, OK Burleson, TX Fairfax, VA
Long Beach, NY Tulsa, OK College Station, TX Lynchburg, VA
Nassau County, NY Brockville, ON Corpus Christi, TX Petersburg, VA
Rochester, NY St. Catharines, ON Corsicana, TX Portsmouth, VA
Rye Brook, NY Sudbury, ON Houston, TX Rutland, VT
Canton, OH Toronto, ON Hutto, TX Maple Valley, WA
Cleveland Heights, OH Albany, OR Killeen, TX Pullman, WA
Columbus, OH Lane, OR Lubbock, TX Snohomish, WA
Harrison, OH Salem, OR Rockwall, TX Tukwila, WA
Lorain, OH Easton, PA Rowlett, TX Beloit, WI
Newark, OH Lancaster, PA San Antonio, TX Eau Claire, WI
Shaker Heights, OH Lower Merion, PA Sugar Land, TX Menomonee Falls, WI
Twinsburg, OH Montreal, QB Salt Lake County, UT Sheboygan, WI
University Heights, OH Coventry, RI West Valley City, UT Huntington, WV
GIS Capability Upgrades
- Performed upgrade of IAFF ESRI ArcGIS and ArcServer to version 10.4 with additional analysis tools and upgraded U.S. and Canadian street database with improved traffic flow information
- Obtained licenses and training for Tableau software to aid in Workload Analyses.
Other Department Activities
- Attended Federal Interagency Committee of Emergency Medical Services (FICEMS) meetings
- Participated in National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) meetings
- Attended National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) National EMS and 9-1-1 stakeholder meetings
- Attended NHTSA EMS Agenda 2020 stakeholder meetings
- Participated on the EMS National Scope of Practice Committee as stakeholder
- Participated in HHS/ASPR EMS stakeholder meetings
- Participated in DHS First Responder communities of practice webinars
- Provided support and instruction at the EMS in the Fire Service/Redmond Foundation Conference
- Provided instruction at affiliate leadership training summits
- Developed IAFF HazMat instructor distribution maps using IAFF GIS system tools
- Develop position papers in opposition of REPLICA
- Used GIS system to generate a list of IAFF locals in proximity to HazMat or DOE sites for grants department
- Participated in ESRI Users Conference – GIS Executive/Manager Track
- Attended NREMT board meeting as IAFF Liaison
Labor Issues and Collective Bargaining
The Department is led by Kelley Lopez, the director, and consists of four assistants, two secretary III’s. After Director Tim Hill’s transition to service representative in October 2017, the Pension Resources Department employees were merged with Labor Issues and Collective Bargaining (LICB). Assistants are trained to conduct financial analyses, wage comparisons, negotiation assistance, pension plan comparisons and arbitration exhibit preparation. Additionally, the staff is trained to answer questions regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act, employee health benefits and conduct analyses of collective bargaining agreements.
Since the 2016 convention, the staff in the labor issues and collective bargaining department have processed more than 245 daily requests including requests for manuals, informational CDs and other resources for local affiliates and officers. This department has also conducted more than 960 municipal financial analyses for affiliates. These financial analyses have become the cornerstone of information for negotiations in the U.S. and Canada. This department has also processed more than 317 wage and benefit comparisons for affiliates in negotiations. The labor issues team has also developed graphics to accompany all wage comparisons. They have analyzed 785 contracts/salary schedules and entered the data into the contract database. Three of the department’s analysts have attended training sessions with Moody’s Investor Service. They have also established a Twitter page and post updates with information and retweets from the IAFF’s main Twitter page.
Customized Technical Assistance – Contract Negotiations Arbitration
Since the last convention, the department provided comprehensive and customized assistance for the following local affiliates:
Garden City, NY (L1588)
Frederick County, MD (L3666)
Dearborn, MI (L412)
Sapulpa, OK (L194)
Emburn, ON (L13)
Kansas City, MO (L3228)
Branson Fire Dept. (L152)
Lake Area FFA, MO-Rolla PFF (L3987)
Harvard, MA (L5018)
Avondale, PA (L5102))
Georgetown, DE (L5121)
White Plains, MD (L4658)
Xenia, OH (L5063)
Athens County EMS, OH (5126)
New Lenox, IL (L5097)
Broadview, IL (L5129)
Boulder City, CO (L5073)
Spring Creek, NV (L5046)
Jackson, WY (L5067)
Lake Oswego, OR (L1660)
Columbia, MD (L200)
Coweta, OK (L3483)
Aurora Fire Dept. (L152)
Republic Fire Dept. (L152)
Waynesville RFPD, MO (L2921)
Lake Area FFA. MO-Sunrise Beach (L3987)
West Haven, CT (L5127)
Amity, PA (L5006)
Cumberland, MD (L1715)
Cascade, ID (L5072)
Leland Township FFU, MI (L5120)
BST & G PFFA, OH (L5123)
Saline, MI (L5119)
Mundelein, IL (4786)
Las Vegas, NV (L4621)
Gillette, WY (L5058)
Boulder, CO (L4415)
Westminster, CO (L2889)
Clarence-Rockland, ON (L4987)
Ft. Collins, CO (L1945)
Columbia, MD (L200)
Prince George’s County, MD (L1619)
Perkins Township, OH (L1953)
Lafayette, CO (L4620)
NJ State Association: Compiled information on Chapter 78 for New Jersey Professional Firefighters.
Legal Department: Compiled information on drug testing policy.
Petaluma, CA (1415): Compiled information on arbitration exhibits and testified at an internal arbitration hearing.
IAFF Financial Corporation: Generated wage tables for select states.
Washington Township, OH (3036): Health insurance information
Bloomfield Township, OH (3045): Request for FLSA information on comparators.
Iowa Professional Fire Fighters: Prepared healthcare comparisons with non-collective bargaining jurisdictions.
DVP Andrew Pantelis: Prepared step-by-step guide for organizing private-sector firefighters under the NLRA.
Long Beach, NY (287): Advised on a ULP issue on civilianizing medics.
Atlantic City, NJ (198): Provided shift schedule options and advice.
Arlington, VA (2800): Costed out shift schedule change.
Jefferson Township, OH (4038): Provided background and awards history on list of 9 arbitrators.
Cavalier Air Station, ND (I-18): Drafted contract language to bring dispatchers into bargaining unit and exclude part-timers from bargaining unit.
Hazelwood/Robertson, MO (2665): Costed out merger.
Philadelphia, PA (22): Arbitration exhibits to economist.
Nassau County, FL (3101): Staffing factor calculated.
IAFF HQ: Historical analysis of municipal financial analysis trends.
Cottage Grove, MN (5): Contract review and recommendations.
Mountain View, CO (2570): Staffing factor calculated.
Atlantic, City, NJ (198): Staffing factor permutations.
Tulsa, OK (176): Cost-Out.
Port Huron, MI (354): Staffing factor calculated.
IAFF Financial Corporation: Average state salaries and pension projections.
Baltimore, MD (734): Customized historical charts.
Milwaukee, WI (215): Extensive exhibits for arbitration, including wage comparisons, rank differentials and contract clauses.
Flagler County, FL (4337): Step plan configured.
Savannah, GA (574): Step plan configured.
Independence Township, MI (2629): Wage comparison & rank differentials.
Hawaiian Islands, HI (1463): Extensive research on Jet Ski and Ocean Rescue programs.
Atlantic City, NJ (198): Extensive budget review.
Houston, TX (341): Wage comparisons & rank differentials and detail on private fire fighter salaries.
Hialeah, FL (1102): Wage comparison & rank differentials.
New Orleans, LA (632): Extensive cost-out for General President’s meeting with the mayor.
IAFF HQ: Comparison of USFA fire fighter count to IAFF membership count.
PENSIONS- Customized Technical Assistance Requests
Actuarial Review/Reports and Pension Analysis – Local Affiliates
L0802 – Aliquippa, PA: Provided a final average salary comparison showing the value of a variety of scenarios using differing final average compensation (FSC) calculations as well as that FSC with and without a COLA.
L1255 – Alton, IL: Researched and reviewed associated documents to perform a pension plan analysis. Discussed and reviewed the funding section of the Downstate and Suburban Firefighters Pension Code (Article 4).
L2800 – Arlington County, VA: Attempted to expand the DROP time from three to five years.
L0134 – Atlanta, GA: Reviewed the Atlanta City Auditors pension audit report.
L0198 – Atlantic City: Reviewed early retirement incentive package that will most likely be offered to qualifying members.
L3357 – Augusta, GA: Delivered the custom pension comparison of Local 3357 versus other requested locals.
L975 – Austin, TX: Provided the employer/employee contribution rates for the 12-city group (for comparison) provided by the local.
L3583 – Bartlett, TN: Provided a list of possible pension questions to ask at a benefits meeting with the city.
L3045 – Bloomfield Township, MI: Prepared a benefits comparison of Local 3045 versus other comparable locals from Michigan.
L4661 – Brooksville, FL: Reviewed proposed changes to the pension ordinance.
L1355 – Dearborn Heights, MI: Acquired legal opinion regarding the use of comp-time pay for healthcare cost sharing.
L2779 – Cape Breton-Sydney, Nova Scotia: Reviewed a CBA amendment the employer is requesting to replace the current language covering the pension.
L0660 – Charlotte, NC: Reviewed the 2016 actuarial report for feasibility of a post-retirement increase. Also providing a list of associations who have an ad hoc COLA provision or 13th check.
L4047 – Cherokee County, GA: Reviewed the Summary Plan Description and most recent actuarial reports attempting to determine if the county manager has possibly removed funds from the members’ pension withholdings.
L1381 – Clinton Township, MI: Provided current fire fighter mortality tables.
L2563 – Cobb County, GA: Performed a comprehensive plan analysis.
L0067 – Columbus, OH: Working with the local on the possible formation of a health insurance trust with the goal of creating a retiree subsidy.
L0058 – Dallas, TX: Reviewed pension documents to perform an analysis of the proposed legislative plan.
L2532 – Danville, VA: Analyzed plan options that would increase the annual accrual rate and/or reduce the mandatory minimum age of retirement.
L0412 – Dearborn, MI: Assisted the local in finding an actuary.
L1355 – Dearborn Heights, MI: Provided a legal opinion on “constructive receipt.”
L1609 – East Lansing, MI: Delivered a comparative analysis of the DB plan to the proposed DC plan.
L2665 – Professional Fire Fighters of Eastern Missouri: Working with the local to educate the members on why a DB plan is better than a DC plan.
L0357 – Evansville, IN: Assisted the local with understanding the role of Social Security WEP and GPO in the setting of a disability pension for a member over 65 who is fully vested in both his pension and Social Security.
L2068 – Fairfax County, VA: Worked with the local to defend against current pension attacks.
L0352 – Flint, MI: Reviewed plan documents with regards to performing a pension evaluation.
L3666 – Frederick County, MD: Provided information on the “de-risking of DB plans.”
L0765 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Completed a wage and pension benefit comparison of cities provided by the local.
L0124 – Fort Wayne, IN: Provided educational documents related to Social Security and the Windfall Elimination Provision as well as the Governmental Pension Offset.
L3920 – Fulton County, GA: Participated in a discussion and working with the local to establish a DB plan for the new department in the recently created municipality of South Fulton.
L2627 – Grand Ledge, MI: Working with the local to gather documents and perform a pension review.
L0242 – Grand Forks, ND: Assisted the local with comparing their current pension to the new public safety plan to be initiated by the state with the goal of transitioning the local to the new plan.
I0018 – Grand Forks, ND (Safeguard): Researched and assisted the local in answering questions surrounding the entry of non-bargaining unit members into their Taft-Hartley insurance plan.
L5118 – Guam: Working with the local on the issue of transferring pension service credit.
L2687 – Hamden, CT: Assisted the local as they navigate through current pension negotiations, mediation and impending arbitration.
L0760 – Hartford, CT: Participated in discussions with the Local 760 president and attorney on the possibility the city might file for bankruptcy.
L1414 – Hazel Park, MI: Assisted Local 1414 as the city was looking to freeze the current multiplier.
L4052 – Henry County, GA: Working with the local to gather the needed documents to perform a pension plan analysis.
L1102 – Hialeah, FL: Reviewed the current pension plan and the plan proposed by the city.
L0355 – Highland Park, MI: Working with the local to understand why the city began deducting Social Security contributions from members participating in a 401a and what the members options are moving forward.
L0759 – Holland, MI: Assisted the local with Social Security questions as the DB plan will possibly be closed and replaced with a DC plan.
L0341 – Houston, TX: Reviewed the pension proposal approved by the Houston Pension Board.
L2000 – Howard County, MD: Reviewed the latest actuarial report, experience study and other associated documents to complete a pension analysis as the local is attempting to improve their current pension multiplier through current contract negotiations.
L0289 – Huntington, WV: Explained the provisions regarding payouts/buybacks for unused sick leave and vacation days.
L1833 – Huntsville, AL: Delivered several reports regarding to fire fighter disability/ injury statistics and fitness/physical performance decline due to aging.
L2201 – Indian River County, FL: Assisted the local during the RFP process searching for a deferred compensation plan management company.
L0122 – Jacksonville, FL: Worked with Local 122 to research and provide examples of hybrid plans as they will be negotiating a new tier for future members.
L1292 – Lincoln Park, MI: Worked with the local to calculate the appropriate pension costs associated with a SAFER grant.
L1164 – Livonia, MI: Assisted the local in their quest to switch back to a DB plan from a DC plan.
L0112 – Los Angeles (city), CA: Reviewing actuarial assumption changes and the potential impact on the DROP cost neutrality study.
L2844 – Lower Merion, PA: Assisted the local with securing a higher, sustainable pension benefit as their pension system is currently 154 percent funded.
L4984 – Mandan, ND: Delivered reports pertaining to age and fitness, age-related physical performance, death and injury and mortality studies to bolster the local’s arguments supporting “early” retirement from a risk reduction standpoint with the goal of moving from a 401k into the state-run DB pension system.
L0010 – McKeesport, PA: Reviewed the most recent actuarial valuation with regards to how the city is affected after employee contributions and Pennsylvania State Aid is considered.
L1784 – Memphis, TN: Performed a comparison of the previous plan versus the hybrid plan.
L2559 – Norton Shores, MI: Completed an actuarial review of the pension.
L385 – Omaha, NE: Researched cash balance plans to arm the local with information to fight upcoming pension reform that would replace the current defined benefit plan with a cash balance plan.
L4767 – Papillion, NE: Provided legal opinions to questions regarding penalty-free withdrawals from employer-sponsored plans at age 50 and on the possibility of creating a DROP within a DC plan.
L2292 – Pembroke Pines, FL: Delivered the completed benefits comparison.
L0022 – Philadelphia, PA: Fought back against possible upcoming pension reform. The city is proposing a 401K/hybrid plan for new members and changes to the current member contribution rate to address the unfunded liability.
L0493 – Phoenix, AZ: Reviewed PSPRS report by the CORTEX corporation on various aspects of risk pooling which was required by the state legislature.
L0043 – Portland, OR: Provided review of all Portland pension tiers. Developing multi city and multi state plan comparisons for an upcoming arbitration.
L1945 – Poudre, CO: Provided a report comparing employee/employer contributions and retirement plan type for the list of Colorado Locals.
L1619 – Prince Georges’ County, MD: Reviewed associated pension documents with the goal of producing a general pension analysis and an executive summary to assist the local with presenting a successful, cost neutral DROP proposal.
L2598 – Prince William County, VA: Provided information regarding the establishment of a retirement healthcare benefit to the pension.
L1206 – Redford Township, MI: Worked with the legal department and labor issues to help the local fight against proposed, radical changes to retiree healthcare.
L0431 – Royal Oak, MI: Researched pension documents to perform a comprehensive plan analysis; reviewed the completed plan analysis with local leadership via teleconference.
L0145 – San Diego, CA: Researched and completed “Death and Disability” benefit comparison reports.
L2059 – Santa Fe, NM: Worked with the local on their issue of hours worked being different than hours credited to the pension system.
L2267 – Safety Harbor, FL: Delivered a comprehensive pension comparison of Local 2267 versus other select locals for negotiations with the city.
L0574 – Savannah, GA: Worked with legal to evaluate Pension Board Legal Services RFP.
L1075 – St. Johns, NL: Developed talking points for internal NO vote campaign.
L0073 – St. Louis, MO: Provided the legal opinion on the ability to roll a 457 account into the DROP account.
L2445 – Titusville, FL: Worked with the local prior to negotiations with the goal of regaining pension benefits lost in 2012.
L0176 – Tulsa, OK: Reviewed the Plan B (DROP) proposal.
L1383 – Warren, MI: Received a request to assist during contract negotiations with the goal of improving the pension benefits for new hires.
L2748 – Warwick, RI: Worked with the local to complete a comprehensive plan analysis along with benefit comparisons for each tier and helped determine the dollar amount needed if the 69 members in Pension 2/Tier 2 are moved to Pension 2.
L0036 – Washington, DC: Worked with the local in their pursuit of a DROP provision.
L3217 – Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority: Analyzed the current plan and worked with the local on their consideration to develop and establish a DROP.
Actuarial Review/Reports and Pension Analysis – State Associations
Professional Fire Fighters of Alabama: Provided information on the “two and twenty” fee structure typically charged by hedge fund managers. Reviewed the bill called “option 5” introducing final lumpsum legislation.
Alaska Professional Fire Fighters Association: Worked to offer recommended presenters for a future financial seminar organized by the state association; reviewing Tier 4 of the retirement plan.
Arkansas Professional Fire Fighters Association: Performed a DROP analysis with the focus on evaluating options for DROP disbursement.
FSPPFFA: Recorded a video presentation at E-18 Productions for the spring meeting of the federation. This was the first full presentation of our research regarding right wing think tanks and their affiliates since being assigned this work by the board in 2016.
Iowa Professional Fire Fighters: Reviewing pension documents to perform a comprehensive plan analysis.
Professional Fire Fighters of Maine: Assisted the Maine State Association both directly and via NPPC with possible ballot proposal to change amortization period from 10 to 20 years which would reduce member contribution rate.
Kentucky Professional Fire Fighters: Evaluated legislation that would move management of the pension plan for fire fighters and other municipal employees to Kentucky cities and counties.
Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union: Reviewed material from the West Michigan Policy Forum and assisted the state association in combatting upcoming pension reform legislation.
Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire: Assisted the president with the Decennial Commission which will focus on the long-term viability of the New Hampshire retirement system. Completed and delivered a pension comparison of the New Hampshire system versus other pension systems within District 3.
Professional Fighters Association of New Jersey: Received a request to assist with the development of a bullet point presentation to counter why not taking the system over and leaving it within the state’s control is the best avenue to protect our members’ pensions.
Professional Fire Fighters of Pennsylvania: Secured funding for Pennsylvania through the NPPC to combat a looming pension bill in the state legislature.
South Carolina Professional Fire Fighters Association: Reviewed pension plan documents and associated research to complete an analysis of the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Fund.
Tennessee Professional Fire Fighters Association: Provided information on the HELPS Act with regards to the allowance of self-insured plans receiving payments from a qualified plan.
Federated Fire Fighters of Wyoming: Provided information on plans that have instituted new DROP programs within the past three years.
Actuarial Review/Reports and Pension Analysis – District Vice Presidents
DVP Jay Colbert: Provided a list of service requests performed for District 3 members from September 2015 to September 2017.
DVP Frank Lima: Analyzed the court decision from Marin County allowing modifications to the pensions of vested employees.
DVP Sandy McGhee: Providing support as needed to Houston Fire fighters on their current pension issue.
DVP Andrew Pantelis: Reviewed proposed legislation from Maryland that will offer an optional DC plan to new employees; provided the NIRS report “Better Bang for the Buck” which contains DB vs. DC information.
DVP James Slevin: Providing research and a legal opinion on membership ability to use pre-tax dollars to fund the re-instated accidental disability benefit relative to 414(h)2 rules.
DVP Danny Todd: Performed background research on the “State Policy Network,” including affiliates and donors.
National Public Pension Coalition (NPPC)
2016-2018: The Pension Resources Department continues to work with the National Public Pension Coalition on a national level. As a part of their effort to thwart pension reductions from state legislatures, the NPPC has agreed to provide grants to several jurisdictions. Since the last IAFF Convention, the NPPC has provided grants to coalitions totaling $613,577, including the following states:
- Fairfax County, VA
- Good Jobs First (multiple states)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
National Conference on Public Employee Pension Systems (NCPERS)
- Ron Saathoff, former director of the department, is elected to board of NCPERS
- NCPERS assists with many of our pension fights but is particularly helpful in the early portion of the New Jersey State Investment Council fight
- Worked with E.D. Hank Kim to stop NPPC from endorsing a resolution from NCSL seeking a change in the tax code which would have assisted our locals attempting to improve contributions to 401(a) plans
- Participated in NCPERS board meetings
National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS)
- Reviewed the draft of a NIRS research paper regarding the Palm Beach Police and Fire Fighter Retirement Systems to be released in December
- Assisted NIRS with case study review of Palm Beach, FL
PENSION DATABASE (4D)
The Pension Resources Department continues to use the pension database (4D) to input the details of pension plans while using the results to help the department quickly analyze each pension system for each subsequent request.
To date we have collected and continually update summary plan descriptions and actuarial valuations for 49 state retirement/pension plans (Georgia does not offer a state sponsored pension system) and 130 local plans. Including Canada, the plans in the pension database cover 85 percent of IAFF members.
PENSION RESOURCES WEBSITE
Staff continues to update the pension resources website with pertinent pension protection and pension reform news specific to IAFF affiliates. The website also features a calculator that performs pension analysis and comparison on three levels:
- Calculates the career defined contribution level (percentage of salary) necessary to equal the current level of benefits under a defined benefit plan.
- Calculates the pension benefit at career end for a given pension proposal.
- Calculates a comparison of a proposed benefit level to a current plan at retirement and specified periods post retirement.