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Palo Alto committee backs public-safety cuts

Original post made on May 16, 2012

Palo Alto's traffic-enforcement team, which once consisted of seven officers, is now down to just two because of years of staffing cuts and an unusually high number of vacancies in the Police Department this year.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 12:53 AM

Comments (42)

Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 16, 2012 at 8:39 am

Decisions facing the City (and the schools) in Palo Alto in the coming years are going to be both challenging, and expensive. Underneath the surface of these decisions is the fact that labor costs in the public sector have grown to be too expensive. Government at all levels is consuming about 50% of the GDP. Raising taxes is one way to fund the growth of government spending, but rethinking the service delivery models is another way to tackle this problem.

Hopefully the City Manager has actually performed some sort of cost/benefit analysis of he traffic enforcement activity of the Palo Alto Police, and come to this decision based on hard data, rather than just "moving money" around to balance the budget. The article doesn't give any indication of that fact, but hopefully, given the very expensive Assistant City Managers on the payroll, someone has.

Last year, after the City Manager was unable to get the Council to go along with his proposal to eliminate traffic enforcement from the police budget, I spent some time looking at the traffic stop data. The original purpose of this data's being collected was to determine if the police were "racially profiling" people being stopped. While proving "racial profiling" has proven difficult--given the data made available to the public--the fact that about 55% of the stops resulted in "NO ACTION" (Q4/2009 data only), caused me to wonder if these stops were really necessary? And if it turned out that the stops were not producing clear increases in public safety, then perhaps traffic stops could be terminated without any real decrease in pubic safety?

This report was submitted to the City Council, but not one of the Council indicated to me that they had read it--

Review of Palo Alto Police Traffic Stop Data:
Web Link

About the same time, the City of San Jose released a report from an IBM public sector consulting division that questioned the effectiveness of the staffing of the San Jose Police Department—

IBM/Police Effectiveness Analysis:
Web Link

Last year, Scotland went through a consolidation of the country's entire local police departments in a single "command" (about 6M people in Scotland), and Britain has begun to look to the private sector for help in organizing its police operations—

Police Outsourcing In Britain:
Web Link

Last year, here in Palo Alto, attempts to introduce "red light cameras" met with a lot of resistance—in large part because it is clear that these cameras have been installed elsewhere to generate revenue, rather than increase public safety. To date, little other use of "automating" traffic monitoring to benefit public safety officials understanding of road conditions, has been proposed by City officials. There is just too much off-the-shelf technology available that would help the police, and increase public safety, that is not being utilized. Yet, we don't hear any demands from our elected officials to increase the use of this technology.

Hopefully Police officers who are shifted to "patrol" will also stop/ticket motorists that they see driving erratically, or too fast. Hopefully, the City Manager's view of the police is that they should be "flexible"—tasking them to respond to whatever demands the City has, when those demands become obvious. That means that if traffic enforcement becomes an issue, then officers on "patrol" should be tasked for "traffic enforcement", until the problem is dealt with.

Rethinking the police function may be unsettling to some. Hopefully, this rethinking should include "regionalization", so that the police resources from neighboring cities can be combined in more effective ways than are available to a single city. Small cities like Palo Alto, Los Altos, Menlo Park, and Mountain View, should be free to combine their financial, and personnel, resources to deliver services as the day-to-day situations require. Currently, our service delivery models do not allow this cross-jurisdiction resource utilization as well as a "regionalized" police function might


Posted by beat, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 16, 2012 at 9:45 am

So much for RPPP enforcement.


Posted by Solution, a resident of Meadow Park
on May 16, 2012 at 9:50 am

Only reasonable solution:


Cut pensions and benefits to normal levels


Posted by Retired Staffer, a resident of another community
on May 16, 2012 at 11:13 am

This will last until the first child is killed crossing Middlefield Rd or Alma St. Or any other street, for that matter.


Posted by Amazed, a resident of College Terrace
on May 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I urge voters to think about the positions incumbents have taken on issues dealing with pay and compensation, as well as who is endorsing who. We're in this mess in part because unsustainable compensation packages were approved. And in part because there is more than a little cronyism going on at all levels of government. It may not be possible to truly fix what is wrong, but we all may as well face the fact that just getting our financial house in enough order that it stops getting worse is going to hurt. Alot. I used to lend my voice in support of issues when something I cherished about life in Palo Alto was in jeopardy. I am not doing that these days b/c I know I am going to have to learn to accept some undesired changes.

Implementation of practical, frugal fiscal measures is overdue. This should, I think, include imposing a hiring freeze on the City Manager's office. Palo Alto shouldn't need a City Manager + a cadre of assistant city managers + a nine-person City Council to be well run. We can - and should - do better with what we have. After all, we pride ourselves on hiring the best. It's time to let that be proven.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Community Center
on May 16, 2012 at 12:33 pm

When it comes to "compensation" a/k/a salary and benefits, remember the action of
past councils and that Liz Kniss wants to recycle herself from the Board of Supervisors back once again to the PA Council. She's part of the $$$ and political establishment. Let's hope new blood with common sense will run for office.


Posted by My2Cents, a resident of Southgate
on May 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I get it, we have less money coming in than we do going out. I understand that cuts need to be made and these cuts will hurt no matter where they come from within the city. The issue that I have is why cut police positions (which have been occurring at a steady pace over the past ten years) while at the same time increasing the number of staffers in the City Manager's office. I read a recent article which spoke about the number of Assistant City Manager, Assistant to the Assistant City Manager, and many other new luxury positions that have been created during the same time frame. I have tried to be the voice of reason in every forum that I find myself in but it doesn't seem that anyone cares. I find it hard to believe that our community would want it this way. I wonder why the reporters/papers have not looked into this issue more. I was always under the impression that public safety was a higher priority for our community. I just don't get it!


Posted by WalkWithKids, a resident of Midtown
on May 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Parents must be with kids walking across streets until their parents feed solid that they have good sense of timing and know the lights.
If not, play in your yard, and go to parks with parents, babysitters...etc.


Posted by Amazed, a resident of College Terrace
on May 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm

My2Cents: maybe we will get lucky and Diana Diamond will write about the Palo Alto governance model. I suspect we are over-staffed. I find it interesting that Sacramento (population 466,488 - or 7x the size of PA) has 1 City Manager and 1 Assistant City Manager. Go figure. People not involved with government care but the critical decisions are made my people in government and they, as a group, have no incentive to change the status quo b/c it works - for them. When I go to the polls I intend to not vote for anyone who helped get us into this mess. I should also pay close attention and not vote for any incumbent who clearly isn't persuasive enough to influence his/her collegues to not support unsustainable positions. We need some smart, courageous,persuasive people in office.


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside
on May 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Why don't we cut police salaries/benefits in half and hire twice as many? I am certain it would still be easy to hire them.

That was a rhetorical question. The answer is the corrupt bargain between public unions and politicians, in which the loser is the average citizen.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm

We should stop having city by city police departments and start a county department, or at least north Santa Clara County, and start saving money in administration and facilities as well as personnel (particularly top personnel). By cutting costs rather than police officers on the beat we might start policing our community rather than paying for pensions and benefits for expensive pen pushers and paper movers.


Posted by My2Cents, a resident of Southgate
on May 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I am very amenable to slashing employee costs even more than what they have, but we obviously have to remain competitive given our area. I can tell you that I wouldn't want to work for our community. Especially with the way many of my neighbors act and what I see from our city officials, I would much rather stay in the private sector. But I digress...I agree that moving to a regional police department could potentially provide some cost savings. It would be especially beneficial with the likely reduction in higher level police employees that comes with our own police department. Heck we may even see an increase in actual lower level police officers on the street. I think that this should be looked at more seriously. Who knows, it might even solve all of our issues!


Posted by Keen's double talk, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Keen is quoted as saying, "We don't want it but it's a radical transformation because of a departure of a lot of people."
That's not true. If he hadn't have froze the 14 open positions they could hire the cops they need to have a fully staffed traffic team.


Posted by Frank, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Joseph E. Davis: how do you figure it would easy to hire so many new cops at half the wage? The article says the city already has 14 vacancies it is having trouble filling?

Just like private sector companies have to compete with their peers for good employees, so does a public entity like a police department. From everything I know, our cops are paid comparably (or less, depending on who you ask) to their peers. If we cut wages in half, why would anyone qualified choose to work in palo alto?

It seems like palo alto and most other bay area cities are getting concessions from he police unions and reducing pensions going forward. This seems sensible. But to suggest we would get the same level of service from the type of cops who would work for half the pay is fooling ourselves.


Posted by Amazed, a resident of College Terrace
on May 16, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Does anyone else remember the headline about there being no gangs in Palo Alto? Not long after that headline ran,gang members brutally murdered a young father downtown,not far from City Hall. Protection is an essential service that government is supposed to provide. I'd rather we spend our limited dollars on essential services than on consultants, extra administrative staff and nice but not critical beautification projects. We can always resume the fluffy spending when our house is in order.


Posted by Respect, a resident of Barron Park
on May 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm

In response to:
The issue that I have is why cut police positions (which have been occurring at a steady pace over the past ten years) while at the same time increasing the number of staffers in the City Manager's office. I read a recent article which spoke about the number of Assistant City Manager, Assistant to the Assistant City Manager, and many other new luxury positions that have been created during the same time frame. I have tried to be the voice of reason in every forum that I find myself in but it doesn't seem that anyone cares. I find it hard to believe that our community would want it this way. I wonder why the reporters/papers have not looked into this issue more.

Yes, why? Because city press releases are considered "journalism".

Not to forget, the additional Development (Building Depat.)manager without prior experience (another one). The need for 5 city on staff lawyers, and assistants.

Why for 2 years did the development center retain a retired manager as a contract employee?

How many crony positions will continue to be hired vs. professionals.

Why does the HR director need 180,000. a year plus benefits?

How many top level managers returned to work after retirement?
Why was there no succession planning? Who did that benefit?

No investigative journalism there.



Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2012 at 8:13 am

I'm officially disgusted. Traffic is roaring through my and every other neighborhood all the time, 10-15 MPH above the speed limit or more, while down in Mountain View nobody dares to go 36 in a 35 zone. We absolutely need traffic enforcement. The only reason kids aren't killed on bicycles all the time is that everyone is afraid to let their young kids ride bikes any more and the parents drive them to school, adding to traffic. Stupid, stupid, stupid.


Posted by tim, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 17, 2012 at 8:52 am

The city should let go of Palo Alto Police and contract Santa Clara Sheriff. It is cheaper and they would do a better job.


Posted by Enthon, a resident of Walter Hays School
on May 17, 2012 at 9:25 am

Palo Alto Police, has CSO unit, Parking Lot unit, traffic Unit, Patrol Unit, Detective Unit, come on. I think it is too much for a City like Palo Alto. "Small City"! There are "no gangs" in Palo Alto there are "no crimes" in Palo Alto. I work for Palo Alto and I don't see the need for all these cops. I believe there are at least 95 sworn officers in Palo Alto and for what, "to stop at Peets and drink coffee"! Since there are no crimes or gangs in Palo Alto the City should hire more Volunteer Reserve Officers, like other cities are doing. Mountain View, Gilroy, San Jose, Oakland, Foster City, Redwood City. The bad think about Palo Alto is that Palo Alto wants to be different from other cities. I have nothing against Police , Animal Control or firefighters or any other safety division, I think they all to a great job, but I drive around the city all day long and I can tell you that I see those poor Animal Control Officers going up and down in the city collecting deads and stray animals all day long. I can't say the same thing about Police Officers. I know it, I can't compare both jobs and I won't , but I don't think Palo Alto Police need the number of Officers that it has.


Posted by Tony, a resident of Downtown North
on May 17, 2012 at 9:35 am

I agreed with Enthon!! I'm glad that city manager "KEENE" will do some cuts in the Police too. I know the people at Animal Shelter and I like them, they are good people. The City could cut at least 3 positions at the shleter to save money. Or make them part-time only.


Posted by Lots of money, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2012 at 11:37 am

Let's close the animal shelter and sell the location to an automobile dealership. Then we'll have the money to hire more cops. Problem solved!!!


Posted by Fred Balin, a resident of College Terrace
on May 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Those of you within the 5 first-response areas served by Hanover Street’s Fire Engine Company 2 or within one of its 14 secondary-response areas, may be interested to learn that under the proposed budget, and approved by the Finance Committee late Wednesday evening, there will be “brown outs” of its fire engine service with resultant increases in response times.

In case you were not aware of it, it is not surprising, as it was not specifically stated within the proposed budget. Nor was it mentioned during the staff presentation on Wednesday evening. Our residents’ association had to make inquiries based on the general language in the budget to determine that “flexible staffing” means that Engine Company 2 would be taken out of service for significant periods beginning July 1.

When we brought this to the committee’s attention on Wednesday evening, they asked staff to respond, who confirmed what we had stated.

Staff went on to justify the decision, which now finally allows the public to begin to examine the arguments.

There may be differences of opinion as to the type, extent, and distribution of any proposed service cuts within the department. But there should be none with regard to concealing them.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Community Center
on May 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Fred, that is great news as long as it means there will be fewer union safety employees on the city payroll. The pafd is over staffed. Maybe a couple of those union employees I see wandering around the aisles at Safeway every day will have to actually do some work now.


Posted by Respect, a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Excerpt from Palo Alto On line quote by City Manager James Keene:

The problem of reduced staffing in the public-safety departments isn't one that's likely to go away. Keene warned that the city would have "a lot of Swiss cheese in place in the organization from time to time." In this case, the employee exodus has been largely driven by a large number of Baby Boomers retiring over the past few years and the council's recent benefit reductions for city workers, adjustments that have prompted dozens of other workers to retire.

"I think the next several years will have a lot of this kind of flux," Keene told the committee. "We don't want it but it's a radical transformation because of a departure of a lot of people."

"We don't want it"?... Really Jim and Larry? Palo Alto dropped it's pay and benefits around 30% below the highest in the area. The drive is to contract out as many positions as possible.

What can you say for a city that doesn't want to pay for services and doeasn't want to provide affordable housing?

The message is loud and clear. This isn't about affordability it is about the lack of informed and participating public in civic issues when you can get more support for puppies than people. Granted, I love the humane center and it's mission...But when will the City of Palo Alto also be humane to the families that work for them?

And leaving? sure theres a baby boomer issue but MUCH of the issue is how poorly employees are treated by the city management and regarded in the media supplied by city management.

When do you hear about the great employees in the city? How good is a city management that does not expound that...or cannot support it?

You'll have to remember that in the initial pay cuts three years ago City Manager Jim Keene took the cut (but only for one year unlike the employees who continues to)...then it was revealed he was receiving close to $50,000 a year to a fund that per law did not have to be disclosed. AND was not disclosed to the initial League of Cities reporting on income.

We have very short memories.
Who are you going to believe?


Posted by Respect, a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm

On traffic safety - if you want a "green" city it's not going to happen with cars barreling down past bicyclists on the streets - especially KNOWING there isn't adequate traffic enforcement!

The way traffic is now, I do not want my children riding their bikes off of the sidewalk.

If you want a "safe" city it's not going to happen by minimizing traffic stops. The logic that stops were "unecessary" is ridiculous...just the knowledge that you may be stopped can prevent speeding and crime by all gender, race, and ages.


Posted by John, a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm

When you pay a single police lieutenant $400,000 in a year and retires at a big pension at 50, something's got to give. Anybody hear of Bell, CA?


Posted by Don't mislead, a resident of Duveneck School
on May 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm

John,

What you wrote was very inaccurate. That police lieutenant retired after 31 years and cashed out vacation and sick worth $212k. Palo Alto doesn't pay any police lieutenant $400k. Either you don't know he real facts or you don't care and like posting vitriolic statements.

BTW, he is one of the last few who will be paid for his sick leave.


Posted by John is right, a resident of Barron Park
on May 18, 2012 at 8:23 am

> Palo Alto doesn't pay any police lieutenant $400k.

We did last year. Whether it's base salary or some combination of past giveaways to the public unions (in this case, the ability to cash out sick days), the bill to the taxpaying public was 400K for one lieutenant.

In the private sector, you don't convert sick time into cash. In the military, you don't even get sick days.

The Police are definitely overpaid, but not by as much as the firefighters and many of the bureaucrats in city hall. The typical admin cost the city close to 100K, and the average planning bureaucrat much more than that, becuase of the ridiculous, out of market benefits.

Bell, CA is a good analogy, only we're being sucked dry by a more broad base of bureaucrats (in Bell, it was mostly the top brass -- here, it's the whole unionized bureaucracy and the council they've bought and paid for).


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

> If you want a "safe" city it's not going to happen by
> minimizing traffic stops.

And how do we define "safe"? There really are no well-accepted metrics for this sort of determination. Palo Alto has few violent crimes. Those that do occur frequently involve domestic disputes. Do we really want to add in domestic disputes into our metric about public safety?

The FBI Crime Index is one way to measure criminal activity--which is somehow linked to "safety", but it is does not provide much in the way of details. Certainly something that provides more information about local crime would prove more helpful than this FBI metric. Unfortunately, it is very hard to find any public safety agencies offering us any help in understanding these sorts of issues. The DoJ does provide some details about police activity not available from the FBI, however.

Recently the Palo Alto Police proposed new massage parlor regulations that involved logging customers, by name, date, etc. There has been a lot of "push back" by various people in the community, asking effectively—how will this make us safer? The Police have not exactly answered that question (at least not yet). Certainly one would have to wonder at the thinking about use of police resources to track Palo Alto residents using massage parlors vs those speeding on our streets.

The general premise that a high police presence is somehow indicative of a "safe city" is probably not proven out by crime statistics—although certainly it increases people's sense of security when they see a police officer.

> The logic that stops were "unecessary" is ridiculous...just the knowledge
> that you may be stopped can prevent speeding and crime by
> all gender, race, and ages.

This key phrase "you may be stopped" opens the door to "pretext" stops, which opens the door to any number of "sins" by the police. This whole matter of "racial profiling" by the police has revolved, in large part, around unnecessary stops, "suspicious driving" stops, and "driving while black" stops. "Unnecessary stops" has been the basis for the allegations of police misconduct, although there is so little data available that most of the studies involving traffic stops are more indeterminate, than not.

It is true that many "crimes in progress" are uncovered by traffic stops, but clearly the people who are discovered by accident when stopped were not deterred by this possibility before they commenced their illegal activities. In short, this kind of thinking is not generally verifiable, and leads to something that is probably more mythic, than factual.

> That police lieutenant retired after 31 years
> and cashed out vacation and sick worth $212k.
> Palo Alto doesn't pay any police lieutenant $400k.

This is true. What is also true, given the yearly 5.5% pay increases that the police have enjoyed over the past decade, that within the next 10-12 years--the highest-paid police officers could easily be paid in the $350K-$400K region, with pension linked to this pay level. We are starting to see this sort of salary being paid to some City employees (including police) here in California. Something has to change. We can not afford to pay public sector people this kind of money.


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside
on May 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Any public official that makes more than the median annual compensation across the community they "serve" should be fired and replaced with someone who will work for that compensation.


Posted by Bart, a resident of Community Center
on May 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm


How about outsourcing the police work? Would probably be cheaper, and free the city from the unaffordable union demands. The unaffordable, top-heavy, overpaid city administrators need to be cut back too.


Posted by Bonter, a resident of College Terrace
on May 22, 2012 at 10:35 am

Outsource Palo Alto Police. There is no need for 96 cops in Palo Alto. I work by the station and I see them talking and laughing in the garage all day. Hire the Sheriff. It is cheaper and they would do a better job with less officers on duty. Or Palo Alto could hire more volunteer reserve officers, they can do the job. The job it is Just to drive around Palo Alto all day. Any reserve can do that. The Chief Burns could go for that and many full-time officers would keep their job.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on May 22, 2012 at 11:18 am

Bonter, if you think the task is that simple then you are sorely mistaken and uninformed. I would suggest you go on a ride-along and get some first hand knowledge of what they do.


Posted by Oh Well, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on May 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Oh Well.. it's only public safety. Do we really need police when so many posters say there is no crime in Palo Alto? Guess we are lucky and the lack of crime in Palo Alto the posters have stated happened by pure chance. We are truly the lucky ones! We have a City Manager who worries that his pay and compensation of 500,000+ might be in jeopardy if he doesn't follow Klein's mission of dismantling public service in Palo Alto. What other city pays their City Managers property taxes, buys his family a house compliments of city taxpayers, gives him taxpayers money to drive around in his own family car, pays for his dues at the local gym, etc. The Keene and Klein Circus has taken our city in a direction that only the ignorant and uneducated embrace. With 53% of Palo Altans now considered renters (2010 Census) it is no wonder the bar has been lowered. What a pity.


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside
on May 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Any so-called public servant that makes more than the median compensation of the community they "serve" should be fired and replaced by someone who will work for that amount.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on May 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm

And what if that public servant, like a police officer, has a highly challenging job that requires a wide skill set and more than its share of danger? Are they worth only the median compensation of the community they serve? I don't know about San Mateo County, but here in Palo Alto the officers are already paid in the lower third of the 18 benchmark cities in the Bay Area that are used for contract negotiation and comparison by both the city and the police union. There is such a thing as a market rate for services, even in the public sector.

This is my belief and what I have learned over my many years. It's also based on having participated in the police citizen's academy and having seen first hand what they do on several ride-along. Many people who criticize the police wouldn't do what they do at any given moment for a million buck. The police do it for a heck of a lot less.


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside
on May 22, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Phil, it's about value to the citizen for the money spent. At a time when California's unemployment rate exceeds 10%, I am certain that we could get 90% of the value for half the cost.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Understood Mr. Davis, but you must realize that a solution to this problem can't be the all or nothing approach that you propose. To suggest simply firing experienced people with a wealth of expertise and value is ultimately not in the best interest of the community. I have no doubt that there will continue to be compromise in term of salaries and compensation benefits for police officers, but I place high value on what these men and women contribute and as a citizen I'm willing to pay more than what you suggest.


Posted by Fred Balin, a resident of College Terrace
on May 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Following up on my post of May 17 on this topic regarding undisclosed but proposed service cuts to Fire Engine 2 at the Hanover Street station, residents’ have further investigated its impacts and duration and there is much cause for serious consideration by thoughtful people throughout the city.

The extent of what I referred to as a “brown out” was also not specifically revealed in the budget. However calculating from the $1.1 million of expected savings in the associated line item, we calculate that Engine 2 will out of service for 9 months. This brings matters much closer to a complete shut down.

I mentioned that with Engine 2 out service, response times to its primary coverage areas will increase. Those coverage areas include:

(1) College Terrace and Research Park from El Camino up through the Stanford housing and the Nixon School to Junipero Serra;

(2) Evergreen Park down through the California Avenue area into Ventura; and

(3) Across the tracks and Alma Street into parts of Old Palo Alto and Midtown.

And this delayed response will not be just for fire calls, because an engine is also an integral part of all emergency medical, rescue, and hazmat operations.

Without Engine 2, the most centrally located engine in the city, response times to its 14 secondary areas will also increase, such as when there is a confirmed first alarm fire, which requires 3 engines.

Also, with this engine out of commission, maintenance needs and mutual aids calls will further strain thinned resources in the event of a concurrent event.

At the Finance Committee a week ago, after residents finally forced the cutbacks in service in Engine 2 to be acknowledged, the assistant city manager cited a 2011 study and stated that the reduction in service can be safely done.

I see this as misuse of terminology. Rather, the reductions in service will increase risk.

The question is whether it is an acceptable level of increased risk when weighed against the projected $1.1 million in savings, of which almost a third is returned to Stanford as per contract.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Community Center
on May 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Fred, there is a trade-off between tolerable risk and the cost of the resources to mitigate that risk. The government fire unions have been milking that scare tactic for a while and the voters in PA soundly rejected their shenanigans. Most PA union ff's do almost zero "work" on a daily basis. The city manager is implementing the taxpayers will and is going to put less $'s in the government union payroll. This is a step in the right direction but much more needs to be done. We need to remove the politicians who are funded by the unions and do the bidding of the union bosses. The first to go should be Price and Shepherd.


Posted by C, a resident of Barron Park
on May 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Obviously the city do not know what their problem is!
On one hand, hiring a new emergency service director/staffs for public safety..


Posted by Reasonable human being, a resident of University South
on May 25, 2012 at 8:57 am

Posted by Resident, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on May 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Fred, there is a trade-off between tolerable risk and the cost of the resources to mitigate that risk. The government fire unions have been milking that scare tactic for a while and the voters in PA soundly rejected their shenanigans. Most PA union ff's do almost zero "work" on a daily basis. The city manager is implementing the taxpayers will and is going to put less $'s in the government union payroll. This is a step in the right direction but much more needs to be done. We need to remove the politicians who are funded by the unions and do the bidding of the union bosses. The first to go should be Price and Shepherd.

Wow. This person is a joke. How arrogant can you be? You want to say FF's do zero work? You wouldn't survive one day in their job. Scare tactic? I guess you should cancel you car and medical insurance too. PA firefighters are the definition of professionals. They are some of the most highly trained, versatile employees around. Fires, medical calls, hazardous materials, accidents, fire prevention, public education, bike safety program, public demos... I could go on. You are ridiculous. And overpaid? Did you know there is not one single PA firefighter that can afford to live in the city? Think before you speak


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