The Phila. Fire Department, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to transfer 293 firefighters in January; 156 of whom have over ten years of service.
Every time I think about how badly the police department hates me and my fellow cops, I remind myself that at least I don’t work for the PFD.
Philadelphia City Council members today grilled fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers over his plan to transfer hundreds of senior firefighters to different stations against their wishes. Ayers said the transfers will improve public safety — a point that [Councilman Jim] Kenney disputed.
(Kenney:) “How does the forced movement of 300 firefighters help that?”
(Ayers:) “It helps it because, along with this move, there’s going to be changes in how we fight fires; community risk reductions programs, where firefighters help assess what’s going on in that community.”
(Kenney:) “Doesn’t the longer you’re there in that community make you more effective in that goal?”
In my opinion, Jim Kenney is a descipable person; but he’s right. If you want better community relations, common sense dictates you don’t transfer out personnel who have served the community for ten years or more.
Thee Philadelphia Police Department did this in 1996, and we still haven’t recovered. Quite the opposite: the veterans, in their disgust, started retiring, and we had rookies training rookies. That’s still true today.
But it was never about community relations. It was – like this move is – a way to force out veterans (and their larger salaries) in favor of new firefighters (and their smaller salaries).