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City names new fire chief

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On the heels of naming a new city manager, the city of Naperville has moved to fill another long-vacant position, the role of fire chief.

Mark Puknaitis will manage a department of more than 200 employees and 10 fire stations, earning an annual salary of. $128,520. He takes over for John Wu, who left April 2.

While he is currently deputy fire chief in Oak Park, Puknaitis has lived in Naperville since 1991. He bested a field of 12 finalists for the post, including Acting Naperville Fire Chief Mike Zywanski and Assistant Chief Rich Mikel. What are your thoughts on the decision?

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63 Comments

To the Police Officers and Fire Fighters,

I was reading yesterday that Chicago was on the verge of bankruptcy due to their unfaffordable pension system.

In recent years they have had to sell

1. Midway Airport for 2.5 billion dollars.

2. The Chicago Skyway for 1.83 billion dollars.

3. Some parking garages for 563 million.

All that was not enough. A few days ago they sold their 36,000 metered parking spots to a private company for 1.13 billion dollars.

My question is what assets should we begin thinking of selling in Naperville so we can balance your 61.4 million dollar pension fund deficit that may be more like 70 million since I don't think the collapse of the stock market which escalated in October and Novermber was included.

For starters I think the fire fighters and police officers should be vocally supporting the Napergatians to stop this unnecessary library parking deck. That could keep $19.9 million in our coffers to help keep your pensions flowing in retirement. As you surely know, you need the taxpayer 21.16% annual contributions to to your pension funds to have any chance of maintain solvency.

If this library deck is built and other waste continues, the City of Naperville, will be forced into bankruptcy removing its responsibility and obligation to make these pensions to you good.

Once again I think the POs and FFs need to step up to the plate and join the Napergate Man and the Napergatians in demanding the City Council scrap all plans to ever build this library high rise parking deck in the midst of a residential neighborhood. Your voices will be heard and will be influential in knocking some sense in our City Council who voted 6-3 to build this unsightly elephant structure that is unnecessary as their is plenty of parking downtown.

Elementary,

One blogger claiming to be a Napergatian stating fire fighters only work 15 minutes does not make it so. There are many trouble making bloggers on this site who make ridiculous statements in order to discredit the Napergatians.

Most Napergatians know the fire fighters are hard working dedicated city employees.

They were simply asking them to make some budget cuts. The city council asked the same of them shortly thereafter.

I don't understand what all your sarcasm is about when both the Napergatians and City Council are very serious in their attempts to find ways to balance the 11 million dollar budget deficit so our city can avoid bankruptcy.

By Original Joe on December 1, 2008 8:52 AM
Anon,

I find it interesting that previously it was said that the NPD spends way too much time as 'potted plants' and 'just standing around' but now when it comes to the firemen debate the NPD are all of a sudden 'busy' from start to finish on their shifts.


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I think your latest statement disputes that Napergatians are like or similarly minded. Obviously they disagree and I think that is very good.

Also your statement proves that the Napergatians are not singularly focused on the NPD because their leader was wrongfully arrested. It shows they are genuinely concerned in cutting expenses in all city depts equally and fairly! It proves all the naysayers who said the Napergatians were trying to seek some revenge from the NPD as being absolutely wrong.

I believed from day one they were simply concerned about their high taxation and their ability to remain in their middle class homes. This is what this debate has been about. It has not been about vendettas. It has been about survival in tough economic and recessionary times!

Here are some ideas to reduce the city budget,

I can't believe this hasn't been suggested yet, but what if we outfit the fire trucks with snow plows? This would allow the city to lay off the regular plow boys (and girls) and make the firemen really earn their paychecks - The Napergatians have indicated that firemen only work for 15 minutes each day anyway! On days like we had today they wouldn't even need to spend the time plowing, the roads really aren't that bad. In the summer they could mow the grass as well! They would only plow and mow in the vicinity of their fire station so if a call comes in they can just drive right to the scene.

The city should also shut down every friday and only work 4 - 10 hour days (Monday - Thursday). The hours would be the same, but we wouldn't have to pay janitors, service workers, etc. on Friday's because all city buildings would be closed. These workers could be made "part time" which would reduce our costs for insurance, pension, etc.

They should outsource the customer service group who answers the phones regarding city utilities (electric, water, garbage, etc.) this could eliminate an entire group and save money. Bangalore has plenty of workers able to handle the calls.

And as for garbage, have it picked up every 2 weeks instead of every week. It does not matter if the city already has a contract with the current garbage providers - just break it. Some on these threads have suggested breaking existing contracts with other groups, why not the garbagemen?

As the Napergatians have been continuously pointing out these are tough times and time for tough decisions. Why stop with the FD and PD, let's cut through all groups within the city.

I'm still working on an idea to recommend shutting down city utilities every night from midnight to 5 AM when most people are asleep. If we shut off power and water during this time we wouldn't have to staff any facilities and if something happens it will just get taken care of when the regular workers come on duty at 5 AM. Of course this may only work from April to September, but it sure would save money. I'll let you know when I finalize this plan.

My ideas are along the same "logic" path of what others have been suggesting should be done with the fire department. I'm just expanding their thinking and transferring it throughout the entire city. If we eliminate enough waste, maybe the city will be back on solid ground. It would also make Naperville much more desireable - wouldn't it?

Confused,

You may some very good points. But closing only 2 stations at night would not increase traffic time that much. There would be no situation where a first response fire team would have to travel 15 minutes from north to south with 8 strategically located stations.

I would wager that response time for 8 stations in the wee hours of the night would have a better response time than 10 stations during the day time when traffic is much busier.

It seems like the firemen have made some good cuts to reduce their operating budget. We should leave that area alone and encourage them to see what they can do about their pension fund deficit.

We need to check on the many other departments of the city and see if we can find waste in them.

We did check on the police and to the best of my knowledge they still waste tons of OT in those jury boxes...not time and a half as we all once thought but triple time since they get paid for 3 hours and go home after the break. The fact that they go home after the break with only half the cases called is a strong testament they never had to be there in the first place.

To the best of my knowledge we will still have the excesses of bike and motor cops next year in the downtown. We will still have cops handling security at taxpayer expense at private events next year at an OT cost to taxpayers.

Can anyone including an insider shed some light on waste in other city departments. Maybe CM Bob can tell us what other waste exists in other city depts. so we can put a little pressure on city officials to get rid of that waste.

If you live in a half a million dollar home and your taxes are 10k while you only make 100k a year, it is a struggle to pay 11k to 12k in taxes with your 70k after tax income. And almost impossible if you have a child or two going to college. Colleges like Naperville have also had runaway increases in expenses that are mindboggling and incomprehensible.

We have lived in 4 cities across the nation and Naperville by far and away had the highest annual increases in taxation. All the other cities were in the 2-5% range.

One has to understand many of our homes were brought for only 200k and appreciated to a half a million. So we did not buy McMansions as some are saying that got us in this mess.

The appreciated value of our homes are nice. But the doubling and tripling of taxes while our salaries are pretty much flat makes living in Naperville almost unbearable.

Like many others in town, I was hoping the new McMansions sharing in the city expenses would bring taxes down. Instead they brought taxes up. It is not clear to me why but my suspician is because we are wasteful as a city.

Anon,

With all due respect, some actually ARE trying to tell the firemen how to do their jobs based on specific incorrect assumptions about what their time consists of when they are working. There are ways to get more accurate data about what makes up their job responsibilities than just the random guessing that went on here and from those incorrect guesses came incorrect conclusions/solutions. Response times are another area where the 'data' (more specifically it was incorrect speculation) was used to draw an incorrect 'solution' about how they should be doing their job by making specific recommendations in a vacuum.

I find it interesting that previously it was said that the NPD spends way too much time as 'potted plants' and 'just standing around' but now when it comes to the firemen debate the NPD are all of a sudden 'busy' from start to finish on their shifts.

If you want real data, please go spend a day at a fire station with a crew for a shift and also go watch them train at the facility over on Brookdale.

HEM,

The Napergatians deal in facts provided by CMs like Bob and Dick.
They obtain them from real documents provided by the city.

You guys can't dispute our data, have no knowledge, never did your homework and the best you can do is call us wackos.

I am sure city officials in California were calling their constituents whackos until they had to file bankruptcy.

I recall a lot of people called the Napergate Man a whacko until all the courts ruled in his favor and against the City of Naperville.

We are not trying to tell the police and fire fighters how to do their jobs. We are urging them to make the necessary cuts to reduce their respective budgets. If you recall, the city council has also requested that the police and fire fighters reduce their budgets so we can eliminate an 11 million dollar deficit....I guess the city council are whackos too because they are trying to cut departmental waste and reduce our taxes.

Shows really how stupid you are, HEM!

I am sure people are calling CM Dick Furstenau a whacko but once the court rules in his favor, I suspect he will not be called a whacko anymore.

Name calling in my opinion indicates you don't know how to debate....you have no knowledge....you are borderline ignorant!

This so called Napergatian group are complete WACKOS. Are you people associated with the Heavens Gate members that believed the planet was coming to an end? I read these post and realize how dumb you people are. You have watched to many episodes of CSI and now you want to run and manage the local police department. Now, for some reason you are going to be able to run and manage the Fire department too? Where are all of you HEROS when the police and fire departments are testing???? Ill tell you were you are, hiding in your homes. You couldn't do their jobs but your going to tell them how to do it?

I would like to suggest a new blog for the Napergate members dealing with the Auto Industry. Lets see if we can get going and help them out. We can use our local dealers as a starting point...

You want suggestions, but people still don't understand that closing stations at night is not going to work. It doesn't matter traffic or no traffic, it still takes time to get there. Even with no traffic, going from the north side of the city to the south side takes 15ish minutes. That's just TOO LONG.

People keep mentioning that they need to cut spending by 10%. They suspended OT, let go of three vacant positions, including one Asst. Chief and one FF/P, They are not going to hire the 12 for station 10 right away, training has been reduced.... What more do you want? They did their part.

Reduce saleries? That's not the issue. They are paid less than the surrounding COMPARABLE communities. Ask them to do less with more, and eventually, they won't be able to do ANYTHING. It's not a scare tactic, it's the truth.

Once again, closing stations at night would put the people in the city at risk, something you said you didn't want to do. You don't want to put private citizens at risk, but still are ok with closing fire stations.

All I can say is go visit the firemen. They are very knowledgable about their job, the department, and can answer any questions you might have about the "inner workings". Go to the citizen's fire academy. LEARN SOMETHING!!! Then, and only then come back and complain, or offer up suggestions.

Oh, and by the way, Serena.... Fires don't need people awake for them to happen.

Mason and Morbert,

You guys banged your head on the wall because you could not come up with a plan to reduce your budget by even one single penny.

You never understood the purpose of this debate.

You never wanted to make the financial sacrifices required of your dept.

You wanted to use fear as a tactic to give you an exemption from any expenditure cuts in the Fire Dept.

I think we are all looking forward to the new Chief bringing some changes to the fire department.

I hope he institutes 12 hour shifts like in the NPD so you would not be allowed to sleep on the job while sometimes collecting OT. Most weeknights there is no activity after bedtime and you guys get to sleep while the taxpayers are milked.

I think most taxpayers are fed up with all this even though for you it is business as usual. It is time for change. It is time to streamline the fire dept just as we are trying to streamline the police dept.

We are not picking on you! We also don't like the OT being waste by the PD in jury boxes and during private festival events.

We also don't like to see the Streets and Sanitation buy new vehicle after only 50,000 miles while we try to drive our vehicles 150,000 miles to makes ends meet.

The 10-11 million dollar budget deficit was not caused by one dept. It was caused by all and all depts must sacrifice proportionately.

Your pension deficit of 3.5 million in the FD this last year was caused by yourselves. Your total pension deficit of 26.9 dollars was caused also by only yourselves. We made huge matching contributions totalling over 21% according to CM BOB to help you out as much as possible and you squandered and depleted your pension fund to depths no one could possibly have imagined. Do you guys get 25% raises for the last 3 years before you retire as in District 204 and in the Lisle-Woodridge Fire Dept? The truth will eventually come out how you got yourselves in such a massive pension fund deficit.

What I see is a big mess. You want the taxpayers to clean the mess you created. What we are saying to you is please clean your own mess that you created. I think that is fair! We are being reasonable while you are banging your heads against the wall in extreme denial. Why!

"By My Last Post On these Blogs on November 30, 2008 9:09 AM
Ladies and Gentleman

There has been some minor bickering on my part because I hate seeing the hard work and reputations of city departments and employees tarnished by the gross amount of misinformation that is posted here.

I have done my part to try and educate the posters and readers of these blogs to the best of my ability. What I have learned over the last several months is that no matter how accurate your information, it will never quell the naysayers appetite for negativity. They thrive on bad news and bashing others.


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Firefighters Sam and Mason,

With all due respect, I think you guys never understood the problem here. It is not about your dedication to the Naperville Residents in the case of an emergency. We know you are!

The problem is about the financial crisis facing the city. Both the Napergatians and City Council understand we have a financial crisis.

There is a 11 million deficit looming over the horizon. The Napergatians warned and the city finally conceded we have a serious problem and wants action instead of words.

Now both the Napergatians and City Council agree that we need to make cuts everywhere. The city council not the Napergatians are calling for almost 50 employees to be laid off.

The problem is who is going to make these sacrifices. It is the opinon of the Napergatians that every dept. needs to make some sacrifice. I believe the city council shares the same opinion.

Both of you have been on here preaching how great you and your depts are. We believe you! But what we want to know is what sacrifices you are willing to make to help us mend the budget....or maybe see if we can apply for casino licenses as Joliet, Elgin and Aurora have done successfully to fix their once broken budgets. But it is unlikely that a town loaded with McMansions will receive a casino license as this plan was to help poor cities along rivers and not wealthy cities. Yes, we do have a river, but I doubt we qualify for a casino license to fix our budget deficit.

I think you fail to understand that our only remaining alternatives are to reduce expenses or increase taxes. The taxpayers obviously do not want any further increases in taxes. They have suffered quite terribly in the last few years from 20% annual tax increases that the city has imposed on them due to Home Rule which has no 5% cap as State Rule.

Now city council members are finally speaking up and asking all depts in the city to find a way to make cutbacks. Neither of you have ever addressed the issue of the $11 million budget deficit. It seems like you want to make no sacrifices and want other city depts to make all the sacrifices to balance the budget.

That is the problem in a nutshell. For lack of a better word, you are being selfish in your view of who should make the sacrifices.

Since you are not willing to make financial sacrifices, I truly hope you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices of rescuing a child from a burning home if the moment ever arises. I suddenly have a question mark popping in my head?????

Mason,

I agree 100% with all that you have said and I will not be back to bang my head against the wall anymore. At least I know I tried to educate....I know of more productive ways to spend my time.

Good luck to the new fire chief.................

Over and Out.....................

Fireman Sam,

I don't think Cindy is lying. She says fire fighters do have free time. Maybe not as much as she thinks. Maybe not as little as you are suggesting. You seem to be on the defensive way too much than during rush hour.

It seems logical that fire engines can travel much faster on empty roads in the wee hours of the night and morning. So I think closing a few stations at night is not that crazy of an idea. With less people driving and less people awake there has to be much less fires. Would you not agree, Fireman Sam? Maybe we can afford to close 2 stations at night but not 5. But something has to be done to save money.

We are all trying to debate to reduce our expenses. Instead of attacking Cindy, make some suggestions how we can reduce expenses at the fire dept.

In the corporate world, a dept. is told to reduce expenses 10% without sacrificing performance. That is what we are asking you.
All you are doing is giving excuses why you can't. Well, if the boss tells you to cut costs in the real world and you say you can't, you would be the first to be fired.

Chief Dial was not happy about cutting costs 5%. But the council told him he had to and he said he would. That is all we are asking of you Fireman Sam. We are not asking for excuses why you can't. We are asking for a plan that will work and reduce costs.

Since you have all the expertise that you allege the Napergatians don't have, then provide the solutions and stop making excuses as to why you can't.

The Napergatians are at least trying to bang solutions off of you to see which one will work. If you don't think any of their solutions will work, tell us which one of yours will work to cut expenses by 10%. If you can cut expenses by 10% without reducing salaries and pensions, that is fine with me. But we can not accept any reduction in services. That would not be a solution. We can not put the private citizen at any kind of risk. We need to keep the excellent service of the fire department while finding a way to reduce expenses. Maybe, holding on to our fire engines a lot longer instead of trading them in after 20 years could be part of the solution.

Confused,

I believe the OT shelled out in the NFD was a little less than the NPD. The NPD was $3.15 million and the city council demanded it be reduced 5% to 3 million in one year.

I do recall reading that the NFD OT was somewhere between 2.5 million to 3 million. I don't know if there was a similar demand on the NFD to reduce OT as there was on the NPD.

I agree with the Napergatians and the City Council that every effort needs to be made to keep OT at an absolute minimum.

We are in very difficult times and peoples' home budgets are become more and more difficult to balance due to taxation which can be unbearable if not kept under check.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have posted mutiple times about city issues using only facts. Some of you have done the same. We don't know each others names but we know who is speaking the truth because we recognize the facts in each others posts.

There has been some minor bickering on my part because I hate seeing the hard work and reputations of city departments and employees tarnished by the gross amount of misinformation that is posted here.

I have done my part to try and educate the posters and readers of these blogs to the best of my ability. What I have learned over the last several months is that no matter how accurate your information, it will never quell the naysayers appetite for negativity. They thrive on bad news and bashing others. They revel in using others distorted facts and adding their own to them.

They have an answer for everything, yet refuse to attend a council meeting or visit a city department to share their vast knowledge with city administrators. Why? Because on these blogs they are safe. There are others like them who support their erroneous facts and ideas. They can spout their propaganda and receive positive feedback from their ilk. In the light of the real world their "facts" would be shown for lies and half truths.

The city administrators, from the council to the department heads are very pro-active as we know. They don't pay any heed to this drivel because they know the truth.

I wish to thank those of you who have tried to reason with and educate our fellow citizens. Good luck to those of you who continue trying to be the voices of reason. In my opinion you will not make any headway but godspeed anyway.

To those firemen out there. Give up the fight. I know you want to change wrong to right because it's your nature, but the longer you persist, the longer they will perpetuate this argument. These negative posters have zero impact on city government. Let them vent and feel good about themselves. It might be the highlight of their day. You can use your energy elsewhere where it will be more productive.

Fireman Sam saw the light before I did. Blast me if you will but know I won't be coming back to read it. I bid you adieu.

Mason

M Last P

Wow cindy, some of your ideas are.....well......asinine.

1. How hard is it to realize that firefighters/NFD do everything for a reason? 24 hour shifts...why? For a few reasons. First, it CUTS DOWN ON OVERTIME. Think about it. Do you know when a fire/rescue call comes in? Neither do they. So instead of having three shift changes a day, making three chances those guys will be out, essentially three chances to have overtime, they knock it down to one. Less shift changes means less money paid for overtime. Just wondering Cindy, how much OT is shelled out in the NFD. You mention it's too much, so how much is it? Sounds like you know, or are you just making radical, ignorant remarks?

2. I think its pretty clear that firemen work most the day they are at the station. From fixing SCBA bottles, (to save taxpayers money) training (to provide better service for the taxpayers), cleaning the fire engines/trucks/ambulances/station (all owned by their taxpayers), to giving station tours (to residents, who are.....THAT'S RIGHT, taxpayers!!!). Yes, they do a lot during the day. Sure, let's be away from our family for one full day, that way we can reduce spending (in the form of overtime)

3. The police work the whole shift? Whatever. I have seen them sitting around, talking to each other. You also forget something. Policing is PROACTIVE, firefighting is REACTIVE. Police are actively stopping crime. Unfortunately, firemen are not allowed to go into homes and stop someone from doing something that is going to start a fire, or hurt someone. Police are generally there to stop something BEFORE it happens. Firemen are there AFTER the fact to fix what went wrong. It's hard to stop someone from getting cancer cindy, but if you know how, please let me know.

4. Shut down 5 of the stations, go ahead! See what happens. Traffic has nothing to do with it. Read my long post before. Fire grows every 45 seconds. Leaving gaps in the city would mean fires out of control and people without ambulances. Smart idea. You also mentioned that you know that if you closed down stations that it wouldn't reduce response time. Can you forward me the information from which you find these facts? I'd like to read that. Or is that, once again, from "Cindy's book o' lies"? I somehow think that if station 6 is out and station 3 is the next closest apparatus due (thanks to your "ingenious" station night closings) then it would take longer than the 6 minutes it generally takes for the closer station to arrive in that district. But what do I know? Obviously not as much as cindy.

5. You mention again that firefighters who are awake respond faster to calls than those in "deep sleep". News flash... NO FIREFIGHTER GOES INTO DEEP SLEEP WHEN SLEEPING AT THE STATION. They stay on the brink of awake and asleep, ready to respond to something wrong at a whim. Oh, but in the "Cindy book o' lies" it states that you know they go into deep sleep. What station do you work at? I say this because you obviously know about the sleep patterns of firemen, so I'd like to stop by your station to meet you. What's that you say? You aren't a fireman? Weird....


You need to stop saying things, because you don't think people will question you. You are completely wrong. Someone mentioned the citizen fire academy. I urge you to go through it. Or better yet, STOP BY A FIRE STATION. Apparently cindy, they need you to, firefighters have SOO much "free time" we need SOMETHING to pass the hours. Get real, sound educated, stop lying or making ignorant off the cuff remarks....

Morbert,

You have not addressed any of my concerns. All I hear from you is rhetoric and denial.

The bottom line is the fire dept. like all other depts in the city contributed to the operating budget deficit. They had OT that needs to be eliminated. They have pension defictis that need to be eliminated.

It sounds like the 13 hour class you took was a form of brainwashing.

Apparently they succeeded in brainwashing you and you can't think of one way to help our fire dept. become more efficient.

What use are you, Morbet?

Cindy,

I am not changing the subject. If you look at my above post, I copied what Dennis said in his post and I was addressing it.

Now I will cut and post what you said and address it.

Cindy wrote:
I think Napergatians are at times suggesting that fire fighters could be more productive with their time. I don't know what corporation in America thinks employees can't be more productive with their time. What is the harm in making such a suggestion? Why are certain firemen on such a defensive....do they feel guilty about having so much spare time in the fire houses? We all know they do, just as we all know they risk their lives to save ours when duty calls! Facts are facts! Why deny the undisputable truth! Where does it get you!
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The subject of how firefighters spend their time was addressed on several different blogs by Confused (who explained things in detail). I'm not sure why the bashing still goes on with your own words above that state how YOU KNOW they have so much spare time.
(When people have tried to educate you, you don't seem to want to hear facts not the "fiction" you believe to be real)How do YOU know this?Have you ever been in a Naperville firehouse? Worked in one? Stopped by to ask for directions or for help? Brought your kids there for a tour? Have you been to any open houses during fire prevention week? Boy scout/girl scout tours?Have you done the Citizen Fire Academy, 13 week course to educate the residents? If you have NEVER set foot in a Naperville firehouse HOW can you say YOU KNOW they have alot of spare time?
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Cindy wrote:
The police risk their lives too, but they seem to work the entire shift and stay busy. They are not allowed to sleep on the job while getting paid. It seems a little odd that we pay anyone to sleep on the job. Maybe we can have 12 hour shifts as we have with the police dept. so we can eliminate sleeping on the job. No one should be paid for sleeping on the job.

If there is so much sleeping on the job, maybe we should only have 5 fire stations open at night instead of 10. Response time would be just as quick as there is little to no traffic on the roads between 11pm and 6am. Firefighters that are working would be busier, fire fighter that would not be working would be home with their families, and the taxpayers would save a lot of money.

If you want to talk about a response time, a fire fighter who is awake can respond much faster than a fire fighter who is in deep sleep and needs to wake up and get dressed. I think it is very risky to have a fire fighter go from deep sleep to driving 80 miles an hour in 1.5 minutes. I know I would not be fully coherent. It seems like this kind of behavior is a little too risky for both fire fighters and residents. Maybe our new Fire Chief can look into it and change our fire fighter shifts to 12 hour shifts instead of 24 hour shifts with no sleeping on the job. There is no job in America other than fire fighters that allows sleeping on the job with full compensation. Ridiculous, if you ask me! No wonder we have so much OT in the fire department, budget deficts and pension deficits. Of course, we have to make changes....very quickly!

I don't see why the fire fighters and their supporters are so defensive when being constructively criticised. One gets the feeling on this blog site, they are above being criticised. No one is above constructive criticism
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There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism but yours is NOT constructive. It sounds angry and it is filled with untruths and putdowns.

I'm wondering since you made the comment about the police working the entire shift and staying busy....do you ride along with them to know this??? I am not at all bashing the NPD, I am just bringing it up to show you how silly some of your assumptions sound to people.


By Cindy on November 29, 2008 6:33 PM
Morbert,

You like to change the subject. WE all agree that Gary Campell was the hero.

But you have not addressed the budget and pension deficits in the fire department and offered any kind of solutions.

Please, try to offer some solutions. That is really what taxpayers want to hear from firemen like yourself.

We don't doubt that you are brave and will risk your life to save others. That is not what we are asking and that is not what the debate is about. Please try to focus as much as possible.

Thank you, Fireman Morbert!
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Cindy,

You think you KNOW it all but I am not a firefighter and I will never will be a firefighter. I have never worked for the city in any capacity. I am just a resident who went to the classes and learned what the fire,police and city departments do and WHY they do things the way they do. YOU SHOULD TRY A CLASS OR TWO!!!! It is an eye opener for alot of residents who have complaints. They attend 13 weeks of classes to become educated on the workings of the city. This is only for people who CARE to take the time to understand. The others that can't be bothered decide what they THINK happens whether it be at a fire station, police station or
city hall.

This blog was started to ask what people thought about the decision regarding the selection of the new fire chief.

The reason I haven't addressed the pension issue is that I do not feel qualified to put my two cents in regarding it. I don't claim to be knowledgable about things that I don't know enough about. Unfortunately I don't trust too many things said by some on here. Several people have many excellent points but you don't have to make ignorant comments to get your point across. It only diminshes the good points. Please stop assuming and just use facts PLEASE!!!!! Please don't say you're not assuming...you've assumed a lot in your very long comment.

Like I said before, I am very glad that there are educated people who understand and respect our public servants. That obviously isn't you Cindy...

Morbert,

You like to change the subject. WE all agree that Gary Campell was the hero.

But you have not addressed the budget and pension deficits in the fire department and offered any kind of solutions.

Please, try to offer some solutions. That is really what taxpayers want to hear from firemen like yourself.

We don't doubt that you are brave and will risk your life to save others. That is not what we are asking and that is not what the debate is about. Please try to focus as much as possible.

Thank you, Fireman Morbert!

Morbert,

I am assuming you are a fire fighter to be so passionate in your defense of the fire department.

I don't think Napervillians or Napergatians are saying you are bad....that you guys don't do a good job rescuing people when you can. That is not the issue.

But there has got to be a balance between what taxpayers can afford to spend and what services we expect in return.

Most people would agree one fire station for Naperville is not enough. Most people would agree that one hundred fire stations for Naperville are too much.

We all know we would not be safe with one fire station. We all know we would be much safer with 100 stations. But we all know we simply can not afford 100 fire stations. Most of us buy insurance on our homes because we know that the firemen simply can't save our houses each time there is a fire. There has to be a trade-off of sorts.

I suspect the Napergatians are simply trying to find a balance that is acceptable. I have yet to see a Napergatian say we don't need Fire Station #10. I heard Fireman Sam suggest that it be delayed until we could afford it. The Napergatians are simply suggesting it should be staffed from the other 9 stations without delay. It seems to me the City of Naperville agreed with their proposal and is proceeding in that direction.

I think Napergatians are at times suggesting that fire fighters could be more productive with their time. I don't know what corporation in America thinks employees can't be more productive with their time. What is the harm in making such a suggestion? Why are certain firemen on such a defensive....do they feel guilty about having so much spare time in the fire houses? We all know they do, just as we all know they risk their lives to save ours when duty calls! Facts are facts! Why deny the undisputable truth! Where does it get you!

The police risk their lives too, but they seem to work the entire shift and stay busy. They are not allowed to sleep on the job while getting paid. It seems a little odd that we pay anyone to sleep on the job. Maybe we can have 12 hour shifts as we have with the police dept. so we can eliminate sleeping on the job. No one should be paid for sleeping on the job.

If there is so much sleeping on the job, maybe we should only have 5 fire stations open at night instead of 10. Response time would be just as quick as there is little to no traffic on the roads between 11pm and 6am. Firefighters that are working would be busier, fire fighter that would not be working would be home with their families, and the taxpayers would save a lot of money.

If you want to talk about a response time, a fire fighter who is awake can respond much faster than a fire fighter who is in deep sleep and needs to wake up and get dressed. I think it is very risky to have a fire fighter go from deep sleep to driving 80 miles an hour in 1.5 minutes. I know I would not be fully coherent. It seems like this kind of behavior is a little too risky for both fire fighters and residents. Maybe our new Fire Chief can look into it and change our fire fighter shifts to 12 hour shifts instead of 24 hour shifts with no sleeping on the job. There is no job in America other than fire fighters that allows sleeping on the job with full compensation. Ridiculous, if you ask me! No wonder we have so much OT in the fire department, budget deficts and pension deficits. Of course, we have to make changes....very quickly!

I don't see why the fire fighters and their supporters are so defensive when being constructively criticised. One gets the feeling on this blog site, they are above being criticised. No one is above constructive criticism.

We do have a mess in this town and everyone has to share in resolving it. No department can be immune. CM Bob traced about 3.5 million dollars of the combined pension deficit to the fire fighters. This is the responsibility of the fire fighters. The fire fighters can't expect other city depts. to make the sacrifices for their problems. The fire fighters can't expect the taxpayers to pay for their pension problems.

It is obvious to me that a lot of pension money was lost playing the stock market. Fire fighters have a right to risk their money. But they should not have a right to come back to the taxpayers when they lose their money. But state and city laws actually allow the fire fighters to come back to the taxpayers for funding of their pension when they make bad investments in an attmept to enrich their pension.

As a taxpayer I have a problem with the laws on the books. I think they are unfair. It seems we should not have to subsidize the ffs when they blow their money.

We civilians blow our money also trying to enrich our 401ks. Unfortunately, we can't and should not be able to come to the fire fighters or the govt. for a refund. When we blow our money we suffer the consequences. We receive less when we retire....no ifs, ors, or buts.

When fire fighters blow their pension fund money, they don't receive less when they retire. They still get 75% of their final salary even if the money is not there to pay for it. The bottom line is we taxpayers have to come up with it....ouch....it hurts~!!!

I think all the Napergatians are saying is the fire fighters should receive a pension based on what they accumualte in their fund...not a guaranteed pension of 75% with the taxpayers guaranteeing everything. I think the taxpayers have been very generous with their 21.16% contribition which is more than double what the fire fighters make into their own pension fund. It is much better than any civilian taxpayer gets in matching contributions....how about 5-10 times better than what civilians get in matching contributions!

In other words if the ffs blow half their pension funds making bad investments, they should receive a 37.5% pension. If they would have invested their funds in a stock like Google at the right time and sold it when it was $700 dollars, they should get a 150% pension. We want them to be rich and live like kings and princes but not at taxpayer expense.

Why is that hard to understand? What is evil about that? I think the Napergatians are fair people trying to be fair.

Obviously, the Napergatians are the middle class in Naperville. The Establishment is obviously the upper class who have so much money, they don't worry about such things as taxes.

I think the Napergatians are fighting for survival in these dire economic towns. They did not complain the last few years about anything. They did not campaign in elections.

I think what has happened is the annual 20% increases in taxes caught up with the Napergatians. They finally started to complain and the city finally limited the tax increase this year to 9.68%. Better than 20% of past year but more than twice what state rule allows and still very unaffordable.

Maybe in the old days, Napergatians could borrow money against their homes to pay the hefty taxes in Naperville. With the depreciated home values, no bank is giving home equity loans on homes that are upside down based on the first mortgage.

This is really what this debate is about. The establishment at one time tried to mask the problem by claiming the Napergatians hated the police because the police arrested the Napergate Man wrongfully.
If that were the case, why are they looking into the fire department just like they looked into the police department. The fire department never had any encounters with the Napergate Man. It is really about affordability and not hatred of any city employee or city dept. It has nothing to do with conspiracies or black helicopters landing on city hall....those establishment comments are really laughable

The Napergatians don't hate anyone. However it seems like a lot of city bloggers who are benefitting from excessive taxation hate the Napergatians because they are playing the watchdog role that the Napergate Man once played. They are exposing some "excess fat" in our city and city employees are on the defensive and in denial as long as the Nile is long.

Excess fat is not a dirty word. It is used to describe excesses in corporate America every day. It is a common word. It was not invented special for our police department or fire department. Its meaning must not be misinterpreted.

I am sure the Napergatians will eventually circle to the legal dept that decided to waste millions on the CM Dick Furstenau's lawsuit instead of giving him the simple apology he initially requested. He initially never requested a penny. Napergatians do not discriminate against any city department. We want all of them to make the necessary cuts. That is how it should be when times are tough!

Dennis wrote:

A fire dept. can almost never get fast enough to any body of water and save a drowning victim. It did happen once in Chicago 20 years ago. I think in that case the water was so cold it froze the 4 year old boy in a suspended state and he was able to be revived in a hospital many days later. I think he is OK now but possibly a little challenged. It was a miracle of sorts. I wish we could have had a miracle with this 9 year old little girl. May God Bless her Soul. May God also bless that hero who did all he can before the fire fighters finally arrived. He was the true hero as AA stated and he should be reconized for his efforts.

He trully did risk his life. The fire fighters are trained to enter cold bodies of water and truly were not risking their lives. Their buddies are always watching over them in case something goes wrong.

I don't know why are fire fighter bloggers can't see who the real hero in this tragedy was. Most of the rest of us can, pretty easily.
___________________________________________________________________
I did not read ANYWHERE in this blog that ANYONE said that Gary Campbell wasn't a hero in his attempts to save the children on Thanksgiving Day. What he did was very heroic and I would venture a guess that everyone who reads the story hopes for a neighbor so willing to help them as Mr. Campbell.

The fire department/city presents awards to residents for their heroic efforts. I wouldn't doubt that Mr Campbell will be on the list of recipients.

I believe the comments made in this blog regarding the incident were made to show some of those here who think firefighters don't do much of anything (go to the store,cook surf the internet blah,blah,blah...)that they are a very important asset to the residents. Just because you don't see every call they go on make the front page, doesn't mean their days are not busy. It has been stated over and over again what their days consist of but some here just want to bash and no matter what is said---they still want to believe the version they have spun as truth. And again, you might think this sounds hokey but their jobs are risky and they put their lives on the line every time they go on a call. Thank God for the residents that are educated in this community and respect what our public safety teams do for us!!!!

Well, Dennis, from your obvious disdain of the fire department, it is no surprise that back up AA in blaming the fire department in the deaths instead of poor parenting. Luckily, the bystander was able to pull one of the children out with his heroic effort instead of also drowning, which is the usual result. Good to know also, Dennis, that you have such a low opinion of firemen that you will not even acknowledge the inherent risk in what they do even when they are surrounded by their "buddies". It would be nice if people like you could opt out of fire protection services, save the few hundred it costs, and then watch helplessly as your house burns down. That would be the only way you might acknowledge the value of public services like police and fire protection.

While it would be nice if a fireman could go to each class everyday, it would not really be feasible, especially as the emphasis in school is on gaining book knowledge, not real world knowledge. Firemen do come in during safety weeks, and if kids were going to listen that should be enough. Obviously, your children did not pay attention as they didn't even mention it to you.

Last, Dennis, if the napergatians come up with a plan other than cutting police and fire wages in half along with abolishing their pensions, maybe people would take them seriously instead of thinking they are a bunch of conspiracy theories still mad about a few wrongs done to them.

Mason and Morbert,

I don't see why you guys and a few others have so much trouble with the proposals the Napergatians make here to help us balance the budget and the pension fund deficit.

I don't understand why Napergatians are called conspirators for trying to point out ways to balance the budget, control government spending and reduce taxes. It really is laughable that they are caused conspirators for doing what every city council member, resident, citizen and taxpayer should be doing.

It just seems to me like there are people in the city who are benefitting disproportionately from our high taxes and want to keep the status quo. The status quo is simply not working.

We have only 2 choices:

1. To control goverment waste and expenses.

2. Continue increasing taxes endlessly.

My suspician is that most residents will side with the Napergatians and choose the first choice. It really seems simple!

Maybe some city employees and supporters will have to await the election results to get it.....sometimes those are the consequences of not wanting to accept change. Others may have to step in through our democratic process to accomplish the changes that those in power refuse to undertake.

Ken,

I think Another Anonymous was right on with what he said. This is the perfect time to learn from such a terrible strategy. This is the perfect time for the fire department to consider visiting the shcools more and lecturing.

I had 4 kids go through the Naperville School System. Not one of my kids ever mentioned a fire fighter visiting his school or his classroom. Maybe fire fighters have visited schools on rare occassions but for sure it has not been consistently and frequently enough.

Kids sometimes don't listen....both to their parents or fire fighters. But most times they listen especially if it is reinforced. If there is a real tragedy like there just was, they are more likely to listen as they can relate.

I think the police do much more lecturing in the schools than the fire department while the fire department has so much more down time than the police. I would think the fire fighters would be bored of spending so much time at the fire station doing nothing and would want to get out and vist the schools and educate the kids in safety precautions.

A fire dept. can almost never get fast enough to any body of water and save a drowning victim. It did happen once in Chicago 20 years ago. I think in that case the water was so cold it froze the 4 year old boy in a suspended state and he was able to be revived in a hospital many days later. I think he is OK now but possibly a little challenged. It was a miracle of sorts. I wish we could have had a miracle with this 9 year old little girl. May God Bless her Soul. May God also bless that hero who did all he can before the fire fighters finally arrived. He was the true hero as AA stated and he should be reconized for his efforts.

He trully did risk his life. The fire fighters are trained to enter cold bodies of water and truly were not risking their lives. Their buddies are always watching over them in case something goes wrong.

I don't know why are fire fighter bloggers can't see who the real hero in this tragedy was. Most of the rest of us can, pretty easily.

Taxpayer-

As you know part of White Eagle is in Aurora and part is located in Naperville. Naperville is building Station 10 near 95th and Route 59 to help with the response times to the area. Traffic has been an issue(as you may know from living there)trying to get up Route 59. I believe that the NFD has to be out the door in 1 minute 30 seconds and their response times are closely monitored. They can't control traffic and other drivers on the roadways that don't pull to the right for sirens and lights. They have tried to educate people about this and at times it seems to be better but not always. Trust me when I say this---they get VERY frustrated when they are goinig to an emergency call and drivers don't yield to them. They are VERY aware that time matters whether responding to a fire or medical emergency. That's why when some on this blog commented on the staffing for station 10 and how firefighters could come from other stations to help if needed and it would only take a FEW minutes for them to get there, I was very vocal about the time issue. Time is of critical importance when you are waiting for help and someone's life is on the line. Some of us that were stating such facts were accused of scare tactics. I can also tell you that every single person that was on that call on Thanksgiving Day will probably never forget the loss of that little girl and how sad it was.

Another Anonymous, I do agree with a lot of what you say and sometimes we debate respectfully on what we disagree about; this is one of those times where I disagree with a part of what you said in your last post. "This death could probably have been prevented if fire fighters spent more time in schools teaching kids the dangers of life such as walking on thin ice. The fire fighters need to get out of the station and talk to the school children about safety. This death could have been prevented had fire fighters lectured the kids in the schools....not by having a dozen more fire stations. The fire dept. is simply not using its manpower and resources in the most efficient manner possible.” By Another Anonymous on November 28, 2008 7:21 PM.

At some point PARENTS need to step up and take responsibility for teaching their children between right and wrong. While this is no doubt a tragedy, it could have been prevented if MANY people stepped in and talked about not walking on ice. To blame the fire department solely for not getting to the schools enough to talk about this type of stuff is the wrong place to put the blame. I understand your feelings about the police and fire departments in this town, but I think it is a stretch to link this tragic event with their potential manpower and resource allocation issues. You are banking on the fact that the firemen would be at the school that these kids attend and then you are banking on the fact that these kids would actually listen to the firemen while they were talking at the school. Kids at this age tend to listen to their parents more than anyone else, which is a good thing. Plus at this age you need to consistently remind them of right and wrong and not just say it once in a classroom presentation. I just think it is too much of a stretch to solely put this one on the fire department.

You have some legitimate arguments about the potential misuse of the fire departments manpower and resources throughout the year. In fact, you brought up some great ideas with getting the fire department in the schools more talking about these types of situations and what to do. I just think using this most recent tragedy is not the best example to support your overall argument of the potential misuse of manpower and resources with the fire department.

Why does white egale club have some of the highest taxes in the city but we must wait 8 mins for firefighters to come to our house .

Another Anonymous said:

The fire fighters need to get out of the station and talk to the school children about safety. This death could have been prevented had fire fighters lectured the kids in the schools....not by having a dozen more fire stations. The fire dept. is simply not using its manpower and resources in the most efficient manner possible.

BLAH,blah,blah.......
____________________________________________________________________
The NFD has a public education team that goes into schools and educates our children on many different topics. Please don't ASSUME they don't have these kinds of programs just because YOU aren't aware of them. Guess What??? News Flash----There are MANY things you obviously are unaware of in regards to the NFD. I have challenged you MANY different times to educate yourself and so far I haven't seen any improvement,just uneducated blabber. It is one thing to be uneducated about something but want to learn so you can understand and another to constantly spout untruths and not give a damn about what comes out of your mouth!

Just as Ken's said above---parents also must do their jobs along with what our public safety teams try to teach kids.

AA, why should the fire department be blamed for parents not doing their job? My children know not to walk on any ice in the pond near our house, because we have taught them that. For you to try to pin that blame on lack of education by firemen goes beyond the pale. While Drownings point was crass, it was the truth. Firemen do serve a purpose, even if it is to recover bodies because parents did not do their job.

Anonymous and Drowning,

Stop distorting. No one said anything about closing one single fire station. It is shameful that you would use an unfortunate death to promote your cause.

Most bloggers are calling for a lower starting salary and lower pesnions upon retirement. What does that have to do with closing fire stations? We are just trying to help you live within your means and have a retirement pension that you and us can afford.
Anyone with half a brain that sees the way your pension deficit increase 9.7 million to 61.4 million in one year knows your pension system will be bankrupt by the time most fire fighters retire. We would rather see you guys get something rather than nothing. You guys apparently want to get nothing by asking for the unaffordable

This unfortunate death could probably not have been prevented even if we had 20 fire stations in town.

Firemen should not be complaining about having to go in the cold water to save people. They are trained for that and get paid well for that. If you read the story in the Sun you would see that neighbors with no training went into the cold water and risked their lives to save one of the children. Those are the true heros and let us give them the credit and praise they deserve. Too bad they could not save the second child.

This death could probably have been prevented if fire fighters spent more time in schools teaching kids the dangers of life such as walking on thin ice.

In my opinion this is what fire fighters should be doing in their free time instead of shopping for groceries, cooking, washing dishes and then wathcing TV and surfing the net. Just imagine how much more time they would have to visit schools and lecture if they ate fast food or prepared food like the rest of us do during the lunch hour and many times even during the dinner hour.

The fire fighters need to get out of the station and talk to the school children about safety. This death could have been prevented had fire fighters lectured the kids in the schools....not by having a dozen more fire stations. The fire dept. is simply not using its manpower and resources in the most efficient manner possible.

Kind of like the police lecturing the kids on the dangers of drugs.

Once a person drowns it is almost to late for the fire department to save that person 5 or 6 minutes later which is usually their best response time. The is why pools have life guards around the clock.

Once again, it is my feeling that we all need to learn from this incident. Let us not let this poor girl's death be in vain. Let us name the school programs that hopefully the fire dept. will institute in her memory so she will have a legacy that will live on. Let us try to prevent such a death from ever happening again by being pro-active instead of re-active. Hopefully, the fire dept. learned yesterday being re-active is usually useless and too late.

Let us think out of the box and change the way fire fighters operate. Let us get them out of the fire stations lecturing the kids about safety....and constantly reinforcing.

If the town is not at risk when they take their fire engines to the grocery store, the town should not be at risk if they take their fire engines and start lecturing our kids in all levels of our schooling system.

Many times our kids think they are invincible. The firemen need to explain to our kids that they are not invincible and death can be a split second away when proper judgment is practiced.

Well based on the way some fire fighter bloggers are thinking and use the death of a poor girl to exploit the situation, I am glad we are getting a new Fire Chief in this town that I am certain will bring good changes.

I wish him luck! I commend the city council for choosing an outsider and trying to bring a new culture and work ethic to our fire department.

Those are my thoughts. I hope the fire dept. is not offended that I think they should be pro-active and in the schools trying to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

I hope others agree with me. If they do, please blog and maybe we can influence the fire dept. to change its outdated and reactionary ways of operating.

Thank you!

keep complaining about firemen doing nothing. Hope you had a happy thanksgiving, my brothers and sisters were in 34 degree water pulling a nine year old dead out of a pond. We may not work the WHOLE time we are on the clock, but hey, when did you ever do that?

Read the cover of the SUN today. Still want to close Fire Stations?

Anonymous possibly Mason,

The big differenece between City Insider and Michael compared to yourself is they are giving extreme details....both in words and numbers.

You are just asking us not to believe them because they may not be credible.

If you want to be believed you have to refute the details they are providing such as the 60-40% ratio of safe/risky investments and the fact that 3 police officers sit on the police pension board and 3 fire fighters sit on the fire pension board.

Since they give extreme and precise detail, they have given you an opportunity to refute their facts and data....you have not.

You have just pretty much rambled along saying, it just can't be so.

I am afraid, contrary to any new evidence, it just may be so.

Maybe CM Bob can chip in with some comments as it seems like he is the only one believed on this blog site by both debating parties.

Michael-

Thanks for using your real name. I'm also using mine. My response may have seemed harsh to you but if you read enough of these blogs you will find posters who have no knowledge of the subject they write about and in doing so damage the reputations of those they refer to in their writings.

"An insider at city hall" is one of those people. In his post he makes statements that are utterly false. He titles himself "An insider at city hall" to legitimize his posts. The problem that I have with that is twofold. First, other readers are going to read his post and take it as gospel if he isn't refuted. It will then show up months later in other blogs here. I have seen it with other numbers and topics, maybe you have also.

Secondly, he impunes the reputations of the men and women who work hard to make the pensions funds work. As stated above, the fire department pension fund hires investment firms to invest the funds money. They then go the extra step and have hired an additional firm whose sole job is to monitor the investing of the other firms. This additional firm does not invest any money. They advise the pension board to insure that the funds are handled correctly. If someone readings this has a more secure way to manage the funds feel free to speak up.

I reiterate that the union has no control or influence over the actions of the pension board. The board members are individuals who take great pains to make sure that the employee and city money is handled with care. In my earlier post you would have read that current pension obligations are met by the interest from the principal. The money the employees and city add to the fund every year adds onto the principal, it isn't used to meet any financial obligations.

Lastly, the Illinois Municipal Fund was funded 100% prior to the stock market meltdown. They lossed 20% at last count so they are now funded 80%. Expect them to get back to 100% funding in the future. The reason? Because our legislators in Springfield have their pensions paid from this fund and they make sure that it stays at 100%. It isn't the investments so much as our tax dollars keeping it solvent.

Thanks,

Read Michael's post 2 above yours. It explains why he thinks the pension board is responsible. They are given recommendations by investment firms but they make the final decisions.

If one wants to believe what you are saying, then the pension board is a useless body rubber stamping. I hope that is not the case.

"Insider" is stating the pension boards are controlled by the union. If he is right and there are 3 police officers on the Board who are union members, then of course one can conclude they are controlled by the union.

I see bloggers ripping "Insider" on semantics and not substance.

Again, I think Michael explains it very well.

Does anyone on this blog have any evidence to refute that these pension boards have 3 of 5 members that are either union police officers or union fire fighters? If not, one has to believe "Insider."

Insider did state they are limited to investing only 40% of their funds into the risky stock market. How does he know about this 40% if he is not an insider? Has anyone ever seen it anywhere else? If it is not true what is the proper percentage?

I don't think it is fair to jump on him. If he is not telling the truth someone should provide evidence that he is not telling the truth. He seems very factual to me at least!

Mason,
You saved me the time of having to highlight the state laws that govern pension funds. The Insider has no basis of truth in their blog posting. People on this site should not mistake OPINION from TRUTH.
INVEST FIRMS ARE HIRED TO MANAGE AND OVERSEE THE PENSION FUND, ACCORDING TO STATE LAW. THE PENSION BOARD IS AN OVERSITE BOARD THAT REVIEWS INFORMATION FROM SEVERAL INVESTMENT FIRMS.
INSIDER...IF YOU THINK YOU CAN DO A BETTER JOB THAN AN INVESTMENT FIRM, THAN STEP UP TO THE PLATE.
ALSO, THE PENSION BOARD FOLLOWS STATE LAW AND IS NOT RULED OR GOVERNED BY ANY UNION....

Howard is absolutly correct. The NFD, for example actually has two safties. First, they hire a company to invest the pension money. Second, they have another company watching the FIRST company. Checks and balances. Making sure the money isn't squandered. Happy thanksgiving everyone.

Mason,

First why don't you man up and use your own name before you ask someone else to do it....you sound like an idiot yourself questioning "Insider at City Hall."

Secondly, if you read his post he did state they were restricted in how much they can risk. He gave the actual figure of 40% which I have heard is correct elsewhere. So you are the idiot who did not COMPREHEND his post before you attacked him.

Thirdly, he stated there was a board of 5 who took the recommendations and accepted or rejected them. So in the final analysis, the board is making the selections based on recommedations. Again, you made a fool of yourself by writing before UNDERSTANDING.

Fourthly, he is correct in stating the police and fire fighters control their own investments. They each have 3 members out of 5 and thus can approve or veto any investment. Whether they have indirect or direct control, they have imminent and absolute control. Again you come on as the mother of all idiots, no name Mason.

Fifth, it seems like quite a few people in the city know the new city manager was added to both boards except for you, Mr. Mason. Why don't you make a call before you make an a$$ of yourself on this blog site.(Maybe the Naperville Sun could make a call to the new city manager to confirm he has been installed on both boards and you can eat crow instead of Turkey)

Sixth, the union is the one that negotiates the benefits for the employees. The union is the one that determines which spouse or disbaled child is entitled to get benefits and for how long.The union desires and even demands that these funds be properly funded so that it can authorize the pay-outs and be sure the money is there for the retirees.

Seventh, since 3 police offficers or 3 fire fighters are on the respective boards of 5 and ARE union members, how could you say the UNION has nothing to do with the board when it dominates the board. Are you an idiot, Mason! Do you think a union is composed of things or real people?

Eighth, to the best of my knowledge the city council has no say so on how the police and fire boards invest their money. If the city council had any say so, CM Bob would not come on here and suggest that they follow the example and learn a lesson or two from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund which is solvent with full funding. In other words, in great shape! If the city council controlled these pensions, they certainly would be in better shape than the mess they are currently in. I can't imagine a more dismal situation than the one that exists at the moment. A MONKEY thowing darts with his eyes masked could probably do better than these boards and their pension advisors. And FYI, I am not kidding or being sarcastic.

Ninth, since you seem to be a little dense, Mr. Mason, let me give you a simple example. If you have a personal portfolio and you are being advised by a broker which investments to make, who controls your portfolio. You or the broker! An idiot can answer that question. A broker only makes recommedations. He can not promise you anything in the stock market unless he is a fraud. You make the decision. It is your responsibility if you blow your money....not the brokers who simply made a recommendation. That is why they call it a RECOMMEDATION! Even if pension managers made recommendations as you state which makes sense, in the end there had to be at least a 3-2 vote by the pension board to approve the purchase of the stock. And since there are 3 police officers who are union members on the Pension Board through deductive reasoning and logic they fully controlled all the investing. Dah! Just for the record my sources tell me the police and firemen always vote as a block. Thus they certainly have full control! Just like "City Insider" said, Mr. Mason. You should be ashamed of yourself for calling him an idiot. Why don't you ask him for clarification instead of calling him an idiot.

Tenth, if you review his figures on pension deficit losses, they 100% jive with numbers CM Bob has been posting and the Napergatians have been estimating before CM Bob posts revealed the actual numbers. I am a little surprised how accurate the Napergatians have been. For example, they estimated the combined pension deficits for police and fire would be nearly 60 million over a month ago on this blog site. Well, the final numbers are in, and they are $61.4 million in the hole, Mr. Mason. Do you not believe CM Bob's posts which have always proven accurate and precise?

Eleventh, are you somehow in denial about the pension deficits in the police and fire funds! The huge deficits are facts in black and white. You chose not to address the issue at hand and attack the "City Insider" because he may only have 98% accurate information. The other 2% will come out. He is not going to be 100% accurate unless he sits on the board. Obviously, he does not. If he is not an insider, how did he know they were limited to 40% to risky investments. What proof do you have that his 40% is inaccurate. Let us see it, smart a$$!

Twelfth, many of the city supporters want to blame all these pension deficits on the stock market instead of on the unreasonably high pay-out ratio mandated by the state but made unaffordable by the very high salaries paid in the police and fire depts. The stock market was in a very strong bull mode from the Oct. of 2002 till Oct. of 2007. It almost doubled in that time with the Dow rising from a low of 7197 on Oct. 7, 2002 to a high of 14,198 on Oct. 8, 2007. Last year at the end of this massive boom, the police and fire pension stood at a negative $51.7 million. Negative means in the hole...it means deficit...it means in the red. How can I be more clear when talking to the mother of all idiots! How could that be so during one of the greatest bull markets in the history of the USA? It is so because of incompetence. It is so because the contributions from both the generous taxpayers and public safety employees combined with the return on investments, can't keep up with the massive pay-outs the unions are demanding. They can't keep up with the early retirement age. They can't keep up with all the payments to the spouses, children, and the disabled besides the retirees. Let us use some common sense, Mr. Mason, instead of calling others idiots when you may be or are the "Mother of all Idiots."


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I think I said enough. Hopefully, others will chip in and we can piece the puzzle together gradually. I apologize for calling you an idiot and the "Mother of all Idiots, but I want you to understand it is not proper to call people idiots like "City Insider" who are trying to be helpful. "City Insider" may be a young inexperienced city employee trying to do his best to explain what he understands. He may have not explained himself properly and clearly. Most importantly, he was sincerely trying to help the bloggers to the best of his ability unravel the mystery behind all our deficits. He or she needs to be commended. Not attacked!

I guess you don't have to be a Napergatian to be attacked on this blog site. All you have to do is say something is wrong with the police/fire pension and budget deficits and you will be attacked whether you are a mom, grandfather, city employee, child, newspaper reporter or anyone for that matter. You guys operate like a third world country where criticism and debate is not tolerated. Why! It is very understandable why the Napergatians are fighting so hard for change in this town. I hope they succeed and I will vote for their endorsed candidates as I did in the last century.

And many thanks to the Naperville Sun for providing this great forum. I would like to see the Editors call for some civility though, from all bloggers before the situation escalates. Maybe if the Sun digs a little bit into this pension mess we could have more facts to debate and analyse. Finally, a very special thanks to Councilman Bob for trying to be constuctively helpful in these dire economic times.


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PS. My attack on Mr. Mason was simply to give him some of his own medicine back using the same word he used to attack "City Insider." Some people never learn unless they feel the pain of being attacked. I hope Mr. Mason now understands the pain and will refrain from such personal attacks in the future on other bloggers. I have not followed these blogs very carefully, but it would not surprise me if Mr. Mason is also one of those who attack the Napergatians constantly for their ideas and positions.

An Insider at City Hall-

You are an idiot. You obviously are not "an insider" because you don't know the first thing about the pension funds or how they are managed. The police and fire pensions hire investment firms to invest the money. The board members do not make the investment choices. They rely on the advice from the firms. They each have multiple firms handling portions of the investments. They are restricted by state statute on the riskiness of the investments the firms can make for them, that is why their losses were smaller as a percentage of the total fund than the average investor who is in the market.

Other than this year (where we all lossed money) the funds have been meeting their obligations to pensioners with just interest from the principal. The amounts contributed by the employees and the city are not used to meet current obligations.

The police and firemen on the boards work harmoniously with the other city hall board members. None of them purport to be experts in the financial markets and therefore they pay experts to manage these funds. The policemen, firemen, and city all have a vested interest in the security of these funds and they don't take any losses lightly.

The union has absolutely, positively nothing to do with the pension fund or who is on it. The union makes no demands of the fund nor does it have any control over how it is managed.

Your post is one of the most egregious pieces of trash to be posted on these blogs. Next time man up and use your real name.

Host Ted,

The problems with these police and fire fighter pensions is they are completely mismanaged by unqualifed individuals who know nothing about investing.

Most citizens don't realize there are committees of 5 members that manage these police and fire pension funds each separately.

The police manage their pension fund separetly. The fire fighters manage their pension fund separately.

In both cases the unions demand that 3 police officers or 3 fire fighters out of 5 have to be on the pension management committee team. Most police officers and fire fighters are not qualified to manage funds in a pension fund. Yet, they control 3 of 5 votes and pretty much determine the investments. They have majority control of their pensions and usually vote as a block and have final say. That is the bottom line and they do as they please.

Thankfully, they are only allowed to put 40% of the fund money in the stock market. If they were allowed to put 100%, they would have lost roughly $24.25 million in the market this year instead of only the $9.7 million being reported this year by the Napergatians. BTW that is an accurate number. Of course, the way the pension system is set up, they gamble with the money the taxpayers gave them and we have to make up the losses. Complete insanity! Unheard of in the civilian world where if money is lost in the pension system the retirement benefits if there are any are reduced accordingly. Most pension systems in the civilian world no longer exist.

How could our city council allow the police and fire unions to impose such demands on the taxpayers?

The 3 firefighters that were on fire pension fund committee did much better than the 3 police officers that controlled the police pension fund in the last year.

The fire fighters lost $3.5 million playing with taxpayer money. The police lost an astonishing $6.2 million playing with taxpayer money. This would be no concern of taxpayers except they are expected to remimburse them for their losses. If they don't, they can never get their outrageous 75% pension when they decide to retire.

In the real world their pension pay-outs would be reduced due to the risks they took and the losses they sustained. But in the convuluted Stepford Wives World of Naperville, they come to the taxpayers to make up the losses....over and over again!

Blaming the state here for the deficit is ridiculous. Our own police and fire fighters lost the money we entrusted them with for their future retirement. They are underfunded because of their bad investments. The taxpayers gave them 21.16% in matching funds and they squandered it on risky investments instead of putting them in safe Treasury Bonds. They gambled, they lost, and the taxpayers have to suffer the consequences of the actions of the police and fire fighters once again. This whole system is complete nonsense. It needs to reformed. I hope our new City Manager takes a serious look at it and opens negotiations with the unions.

I understand our new City Manager was put on both committees recently in an effort to stop the massive draining of these funds. In an effort to keep all the pension fund money from being squandered. You could say that there was a huge emergency and he was called to hopefully bring back order and save these pension fund before they evaporate completely at a great cost to taxpayers.

It should not be the Napergatians that threaten the abolishment of HOME RULE. The new City Manager and City Council should forcefully tell the unions to either change their ways immediately or they will abloish HOME RULE with a referendum and through bankruptcy exonerate the taxpayers from all past pension fund obligations. This actually happened in Rockford when finances got completely out of control and the citizens refused any more tax increases. Other towns have also abolished HOME RULE such as our sister city Lisle, Villa Park and I believe Lombard.

The Napergatians are absolutely right. They don't know half the truth and look at how effective they are. If they ever learned all the truth, the city would fall in no time. Not one establishment candidate would ever be elected to office ever again. Most probably, many city officials would resign if all the truth ever leaked out to the Naperville Taxpayers. I plan on leaking much more in future posts.

I urge other city employees with inside information to please share it on this blog site anonymously and assist the Napergatians in any way they can. The current administration running this town has failed us miserably. They have had no spine to stand up to the police and fire unions. The majority of the city council also has not shown any spine.

I hope I explained why you can have so many McMansions in town and have these massive budget and pension deficits that are only getting worse each year. Yes, the money is being gambled, squandered, and wasted. And the taxpayers are being asked to refill the piggy bank all over again....time and time again! Nonsense! Time for change!!!

David,

Yes, firefighters work 24 hours on, 48 hours off. There are three shifts. So they work, on average 10 days a month. Many departments implement days off every "x" amount of shifts. Called many things, (Daley days, kelly days, furlough days) these are basically days off that the firefighter does not get paid for. If he were to work instead of being off, he or she would be over the federal amount of hours and get overtime. This is an agreement many times between the union and the city or fire district to save money for the taxpayers. If you want more information, look up FLSA on your computer. Federal Labor and standards Act. The Fire department makes decent money I'm told, but ALL of their neighbors in surrounding towns do, however, make more. So I believe that asking for a pay cut when Inflation is somewhere in the ballpark of 5.5% (Ballpark figure guys, dont hang me on the number) is not fair to them.

It's funny, when the economy is doing fine, no one care what firemen make as long as they fix every problem we call them for. But when the economy is bad, they should suffer?

As far as the pension stuff goes, I know there is another blog with heavy emphasis on that. But I'm not as well versed on pension info. I do, however, know that every spot in the city of naperville, weather it be the fire chief all the way down to a janitor has some sort of pension the city pays in. Firemen have worked hard to secure their retirement, and the numbers really arn't that much different from the public sector. Many of you that read this have pensions. How would you feel if your company changed your pension because it wanted to save money. Firefighters pensions are no worse or better than private pensions. The only difference is, taxpayers are the ones TECHNICALLY putting into it. But so are the firemen. Don't think that they get "Free" money. They put in roughly 9% I believe into pension each paycheck.

Any other question Id be happy to answer. thanks!!!

By Confused on November 26, 2008 11:33 AM
"Lots of good comments here, but still, Im so confused as to why people don't understand simple things stated time and time again. So let's go over this one more time."

I am also confused.

Here is a question for you.

How many hours a week does a fire fighter work? Is it the typical 40 hour a week or is it more since so much of his time is spent waiting and anticipating?

Do they work a certain number of 24 hour shifts per week or month?
Do they work 24 hours and have 48 hours off since there are 3 shifts?

I guess fire fighter work seems mysterious. This blog seems to be educational for all concerned. Much more than the print edition, thanks to people like you.

I agree with you that fire fighters provide a great service and are underappreciated.

But I do agree with the Napergatians that something is awfully wrong with your pension system....awfully wrong.....and it is apparently costing us taxpayers. Also while it seems like we need the 200 fire fighters we have, there is nothing wrong with the taxpayers wanting to negotiate with the union for a small salary reduction so we can afford our fine fire fighters.

Lots of good comments here, but still, Im so confused as to why people don't understand simple things stated time and time again. So let's go over this one more time.

1. There are nine stations within the NFD. Each station has anywhere between three and nine people daily. This number differs depending on the type of apparatus (Engine, Truck, Ambulance, Squad), how many vehicles at that station (Most have two, one has only one, and another has three), and the amount of staffing (People have vacation days, call in sick, ect.). Each Fire company has certain things they do at a fire. Engine companies extinguish the fire. Truck companies do search and rescue, ventaliaion, and overhaul/salvage. Squad companies fill in the gaps, a "Jack of all trades" if you will. Ambulance companies treat injured patients as well as firemen, on top of being involved in the extinguishment process. Group all this together and you have what is known in the fire service as a coordinated fire attack. Multiple companies working together to extinguish the fire more rapidly.

2. Fire station locations are not just decided on a whim. There is a large amount of research that goes into it. A few things they consider are: Response time from closest station and next closest station, Call volume, need, ect. A lot of departments have studies done for the placement of a new station, and I'm sure a progressive department like NFD has one also, maybe ask them for it? It might make a little more sense.

3. The fire department staffing is at minimum. There is an organazation known as the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). THey make requirements and suggestions on how to make such a dangerous job safer. Each requirement has it's own number associated to it, so if someone says NFPA 1933 for example. That is a requirement for fire service ladders (Yes, they get pretty exact). There is one that if people are discussing "Cutting the fat" should investigate. It's NFPA 1710, entitled Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments. THis states the amount of people that SHOULD be on every Engine, Truck, and squad company, as well as the Minimum number. Naperville works on a minimum of three on all fire supression vehicles (Engines, Trucks, Squads). NFPA states that there SHOULD be 4 on each engine and 5 on ever truck. Seems to me that they already cut the fat since they don't run the NFPA requirement. Now why should they follow NFPA guidelines? Well those are what is called the "National standard". It means most fire departments follow this. Now, if something were to happen to someone (Burned, god forbid killed), if they followed NFPA requirements, they wouldn't get in huge trouble.

4. They do need a station at 95th and 59. There was a fire on White Eagle drive a while ago. It took 7 minutes to get another unit there. Once again, going back to NFPA, they have something called a "2 in, 2 out rule". No one, despite your personal feelings, can say firefighting isn't dangerous. Because of this, firemen work in groups of at least 2. They are not allowed to go into a fire unless another 2 people are outside, just in case something happens (they get lost inside, hurt, trapped, ect.). Now, fire doubles in size every 45 seconds or so. Now, take that into perspective. NFD recieves a call of a fire. Dispatched are 3 engines, two trucks, 2 ambulances, a Squad, a Batallion chief and 2 other chief officers for safety. First engine gets on scene and reports heavy fire. The officer and the backstep guy (The firemen riding backwards in the engine) get off and pull the line to the door. The driver of the engine secures a positive water supply from the hydrant in the front yard. The officer tells the driver to charge the fire hose and him and the fireman put their mask on and prepare to enter. The line is charged, the door opens and the house is filled with smoke. They go to make an advance BUT WAIT.... They can't go in because station 10 isn't there and the next unit is 4 more minutes away. That means they fire will multiply approximatly 5 times in size before they can attack it.

6. Last thing I'll say, and this is personal felings more than statistics. People are saying that they have 9 other stations, we don't need a 10th. And it's not scare tactics. People generally dont realize how bad they need firemen until it's too late. NFD runs approximatly 13000 calls annually. Thats a lot. Of course, as in most communities, EMS is top billing accounting for 80%ish. An ambulance responding out of their district to another stations still district can take 3-8 minutes. It's not a scare tactic, mearly showing you that even 10 seconds is 10 seconds too long when you really need us, let alone 8 minutes.

I know that no one likes taxes. I can respect that. But as a society we know certain things are needed. Roads, schools, police, public works, firemen/paramedics. These things COST MONEY. Money that needs to be spent. The department cannot "cut the fat" anymore. NFD is running at minimum staffing on engines trucks and squads most days and cutting the fat would mean companies being shut down for the day. If something bad happens to you, a neighbor, or ANYONE, you can rest assure the professional men and women of the NFD will be there and do their best for you, because that's what they do, day in and day out.

P.S one more thing, to the person who said that what job allows you to get paid for cleaning dishes, watching tv, and playing "monolopy". That is their "home" for 24 hours at a time. You wash your dishes at home, watch TV at home, play games at home, there is no different. When you are asleep safe and sound, the NFD is out picking up drunks, seeing things that would turn your stomach... Cities don't pay firemen to work 24 hours straight. Cities pay firemen to be READY to work at any given time. Lunchtime, dinnertime, sleeptime, anytime, day or night they may be called upon for a whole house on fire, or a smoke detector that has a low battery alarm. Sorry to be so long winded..... hope this helps.

Every department budget in the city has been slashed to the bone.

The city then decided not to fill positions that were vacant to save money.

City officials recently had a meeting to decide on which employees to layoff in january.

All this without cutting city services to us. The only alternatives left are cut city services or raise taxes. You people who think the city has "fat" to shed have not been following the council meetings over the past year. The council and departments have made many cuts without impacting we the citizens. There is nothing left! Get off your high horses about how much "fat" the city has because it doesn't exist!

Where is all of this "fat"? Let's hear specific details, not what you think. Most of you are so uneducated about the financial state of the city it is laughable.

I would like to weclome new Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis. I hope he will bring a new culture to our fire department in particular and city at large.

I hope he understands in due time that not only the Napergatians but every resident in town not working for the city is fed up with these runaway tax increases year after year.

I hope he understands that the folks in this town do not understand how a town that is lined with McMansion ranging in cost from 2 million to 10 million and paying taxes from 40k to 200k, can be in so much of a budget deficit. I hope he can explain to us what our current officials refuse to explain to us. Hopefully, he will give us a transparency we have never had in this town. Hopefully, he will have open houses for us to meet fire fighters and try to understand what has gone so wrong in our town that we can not make ends meet any longer.

I can understand a small town with 100k homes having a budget or pension deficit. But the wealthiest town in America with over a 100k of population having both a budget and pension crisis is incomprehensible to say the least, for most of us. Sorry, Chief but those are the facts and they don't make any sense that we can no longer afford our fire fighters....Please tell us why...soon if possible! Thank you!

I hope our new Chief can explain to us how us taxpayers can be so generous and give matching contributions to our fine fire fighters of 21.16% and yet we hear the pension deficit increased from 23.4 million to 26.9 million dollars in the span of one year. I know these numbers are not nearly as bad as the police department's numbers which are twice as bad for the last year, but we still need accountability as to why we are heading in the wrong direction.

I think the police dept. was up from $28.2 to $34.5 in the pension deficit dept. in one lousy year. Maybe he can have a meeting with Chief David Dial and let him know if such things happened in Oak Park, he would have been terminated long ago. Something has to be done and very quickly.

Good luck Chief! You are entitled to a reasonable grace period as Napergatian Blogger Melissa suggested. But please show us results by the same time this year. Thanks a million for saving us a few million in advance! We will certainly appreciate all your efforts in that direction....the right direction!

Caroline on November 25, 2008 8:58 PM
I once thought the Napergatians were debating other residents on this blog site. I never could understand why other residents would be so harshly against tax savings.

The picture has finally came to roost and become very clear.

The Napergatians were never debating other residents. They were debating city employees disguising themselves as residents trying to protect their excess salaries and pensions.

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Caroline, if this is true then didn't you get your wish? You continuously ask the Sun to approach city hall with you and your groups questions and concerns. Now you seem to have them right where you want them, make your argument and support your claims!! I have seen many excuses from your group such as, "I'm a full time Mom", "I fear retribution", and "the establishment is powerful", Well here is your chance.

Personally I don't think city employees spend much time on these blogs, their time is spent meeting and listening to residents in person and on the phone, not monitoring anonymous blog sites.

By Anonymous on November 25, 2008 10:46 PM
What the heck? All of this has been hashed and rehashed on other threads ad nauseum.

This thread is supposed to be about your thoughts on the appointment....?

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Yes, you are perfectly right. These issues have been discussed by the Napergatians and others ad nauseum.

And despite all these discussions and warnings if you like, our pension deficit set a new record increase of 9.7 million in ONE YEAR.....the LAST YEAR!

The ad nauseum is not coming from the Napergatians. It is coming from the city officials who don't listen, don't act, don't react and allow the situation to get worse.

The ad nauseum as you call it would probably stop if city officials had a plan to knock out the pension deficit by the year 2033 as required by the State of Illinios. They obviously did not put a plan in place last year and we saw the results....an increase of $9.7 million in the p and f pension deficit.

Melissa, a Napergatian, welcomed the new Chief and even asked that he be given a one year grace period to show some results. She does not want him criticised at all. If that is not a welcome, what is? How much more fair could she be?

I also welcome him especially because he is an outsider who may be able to pin point the problem of excesses in our fire department that our current officials can't see.

Maybe he can start by reducing starting salaries of firemen and bringing them in line with Oak Park. Maybe he can make sure promotions are not given within the last year of retirement. Let us hope he understands the Grand Canyon former Fire Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs dug us in. Gook luck to the new Chief! I hope he communicates with us like CM Bob and shows he cares about the residents.

CM Bob is treated with the utmost respect by all parties on this blog site. That should be an indication the new Fire Chief should have no fear in joining the discussion and debate which is healthy and leads to solving problems. After all, the idea of staffing Fire Station #10 from the other 9 station was hatched right here on Ted's Threads by Another Anonymous.

Actually it is a breath of fresh air to have a non-establishment outsider taking over a major department in the city. He obviously was not connected like Marshall and McGury and earned his wings based on his talent and qualifications. I am sure most Napergatians will eventually welcome him as I am. I hope he can remain strong and not fall under the thumbs of the establishment and begin hiring their children at inflated salaries for fire department positions. Only time will tell, but I have confidence he will do the right thing and be a successful Fire Chief. He seems to have an excellent track record! May God Bless him and show him nothing but success!

FYI

There are not 20 plus firefighters working at each station. Stations with only one fire engine have 3 per shift(9 total). Stations with an engine and ambulance have 5 per shift (15 total). Stations with a engine and ladder and ambulance have 8 per shift (24 total). I belive there are only 2 stations operating with all 3 vehicles. The fire Dept. staffs by vehicle, not stations. The remaining personel is divided into 2 groups. Group 1 is your command (administrative) staff, chief, dep. chief, etc. The other are rovering firefighters not asigned to a station, they are used to fill-in for firefighters who are off on vacation, etc. There real purpose is to keep overtime at a minium.

IF they staff the new station with existing personel, Those persons will come from the rovering group. That will result in fewer rovers, and will increase overtime. Although I have no way of estimating how much overtime it will create.

The NFPA does not recommend how many stations or engines a city might need. They do have non-binding standards on how fire depts. should operate. They consider 4 as the minuim number of firefighters asigned to every fire truck, Naperville and Aurora use 3 per truck. Chicago uses 5. I have no preferance one way or the other, but fire depts. can and have been sued for millions for not following the NFPA. Firefighters would like to see 4 man trucks as the minuim staff level. The fire Chief would most likely want that as well. The city on the other hand maintains only 3 per truck becuase of cost. The city would have to hire 1/3 more firefighters to have 4 per truck without creating huge overtime.

There is no standard that states you need X number of stations, trucks, and men. Their are many firms out there that will study your town to determine what you need. They look at population density, industrial areas, number of high rise bldgs, water supply, bldg const. And many other factors. Again I have no opinion, but the rule of thumb is there should be 1.5 firefighters for every 1000 people living in the city.

What the heck? All of this has been hashed and rehashed on other threads ad nauseum.

This thread is supposed to be about your thoughts on the appointment....?

Ok, Since no one else is willing to discuss it I'll go first and try to exhibit some good Naperville manners by saying welcome to our new Fire Chief. So... Welcome Chief Puknaitis. Best wishes for much success.

Seeing as he is already a resident of Naperville he likely to be at least familiar with some of the "hot button" issues. One good thing though is that it is always good to see a city executive actually live inside our city.

Let's give the new guy a chance and a few months at least to assess the department and see what he develops as a vision for the fire department.

By Melissa on November 25, 2008 12:56 AM
Let us see if he agrees with the Napergatians and staffs Fire Station #10 with the excess fat in the other 9 fire stations.

If he does that, he will be off to a good start.

Let us see what other excess fat he can find and trim.

Let us see how he tackles the $26.9 million dollar deficit in the fire fighters pension fund.

I say let us leave him alone for a year and see what he can do before we criticise him.

He should be given a grace period of ONE YEAR with no criticism!

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Melissa,

I don't agree with you that we can afford to give any city official a one year grace period. We gave the city a grace period from 2001 to 2006. That is 5 years. You can see the sorry state of affairs the city is in.

How could you want to give them a grace period of a year. Have you not been reading that they increased the pension deficit by 9.7 million in just one lousy year. Who do you think is going to pay for this deficit? The fire men and police men! If you think so, you are dreaming Melissa.

They expect us to pay for their deficit as we did in the past. Since we are paying for all these deficits we need to keep the noose fastened real tight or they will empty the pockets of all Napervillians until they milk us dry.

I just can't believe in this age, that we can be paying pensions for life based on the last year of employment at a 75% rate in their early 50s. We can all see it is not affordable from the deficits we see year after year, that are now over 61 million just for the police and fire pensions.

I think it is time to put pressure on the state to ablolish the pension system. It is time to put pressure on the city to abolish Home Rule. If nothing else works, it is time for bankruptcy. That will teach the unions a lesson about milking the taxpayers dry. We can return the favor and milk them dry.

Maybe if they feel our pain, they will undertand our pain and one day compromise.

The bottom line is if anyone can cut a little, it is the fire fighters. Yes, when they are called to duty they work hard and sacrifice.

But when they are not called to duty they have some much time to spare. What job in this world allows you to go shopping and cooking and washing dishes on the job.

What job in this world allows you to watch TV, surf the net, play monopoly and sleep on the job while getting paid.

I just don't see how we need 22 fire fighters staffing each station. That in my opinion is overkill especially since we have 9 other stations in town that can deliver back up in minutes after they get to the scene in the rare event they need it.

I suspect that we are not asking much when we call for one fireman to be cut from each dept. We are not even asking for lay-offs. Just a transfer to the new station so we can avoid hiring 12 new firemen. Is that an unreasonble request considering all our budget combined may be approaching a 100 million dollar deficit. We know of 72.4 million and we have no clue about the pension system of non-public safety empoyees.

It seems like the Napergatians are being reasonable and are being attacked for their excellent proposal that the city eventually adopted.

What is all the hoopla here about?

If others have ways of cutting the budget, please bring forward your proposals. Your proposals must include ways to cut the budget. Praising fire fighters for how great they are will not solve the budget and pension crisis. That is besides the point. We know they are great!

We all agree the fire fighters are heros. But that is not the issue.The issue is they can not live within their means and want to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Robert Marshall and live like kings. I guess he set a real bad example for his troops with his double dipping enrichment at taxpayer expense. I am glad that guy is out of the limelight. I hope the city council lays him off. Let him live happily ever after on his fat pension. That is plenty! He can more than afford Naperville on his 86k pension. What more does he want from us?

I once thought the Napergatians were debating other residents on this blog site. I never could understand why other residents would be so harshly against tax savings.

The picture has finally came to roost and become very clear.

The Napergatians were never debating other residents. They were debating city employees disguising themselves as residents trying to protect their excess salaries and pensions.

It finally because obvious. You have for example a fire fighter friend who knows where every piece of equipment is in all the fire houses and he is pretending to be a civilian. Yeah sure! It just did not make sense or add up!

Residents don't enjoy taking their hard earned dollars and giving it to others so they can have huge pensions at their expenses while they suffer and sacrifice in retirement to make ends meet. Residents have always been fair to city employees. It is just gotten to the point where city employees want to take, take and take some more. Enough is enough!

The umbilical cord of subsidizing their pension has to be cut off. They need to take responsiblity for their own retirement if they want to live like kings and princes and queens.

BLAKE SAID--I don't think Fire Fighter's Friend is credible. The Naperville Sun article I read stated they were going to staff the 10 positions at FS #10 from the other 9 stations pretty much equally.
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It was suggested ON THE BLOG that they COULD move 1 person from each station. Call (630)305-5900 NFD headquarters and ASK what their proposal is...I know what I stated IS correct.

Since you might not be grasping the explanation of way the engines and ambulances need to be manned per NFPA(National Fire Protection Association)standards, to say that they would take people from each staion is wrong. They would not have enough people on each vehicle to operate it safely according to National standards NOT what the NFD wants!!!

Ronn,

You make some very good points.

I think the Naperville Sun needs to do some investigative reporting. They have the resources.

Melissa seems to have some babies at home and is in no postion to drag her babies in this cold from station to station.

Most city organizations have a lot more respect for the local newspaper than a mommy dragging her kids around.

Many people have always called on the Naperville Sun to do some serious investigative reporting like the Napergate Man used to do in the Napergate Era.

Let us hope the new leadership of the Naperville Sun suggests to Mr. Tim West that there are certain issues that are more important to the readers than his cat and the hummingbirds in his back yard. Or how difficult it was to move his desk from Naperville to Aurora. Or a blow by blow of each one of his doctor and hospital visits.

I am sure the Naperville Sun can get more than 3 columns a week from Mr. Tim West. Us bloggers can write 3 columns in an hour and we are not even newspaper reporters. Someone needs to get him out of his cubicle and into city hall researching and discovering. Maybe into a few fire statations. Moving around is very healthy and he would not need to visit his doctors so much! Add an apple a day and he will never see a hospital again in his life!

Anyway, I hope the Naperville Sun can seek some answers so the bloggers stop arguing and start discussing and debating the very important issues that concern our city and its future as Blogger Ronn is correctly suggesting.

Morbert and Ronn,

I don't think Fire Fighter's Friend is credible. The Naperville Sun article I read stated they were going to staff the 10 positions at FS #10 from the other 9 stations pretty much equally.

It stated that part of the cost of the building included the cost of a brand new ladder engine. I recall reading it was $177,000 dollars either on this blog site or in the newspaper. The buiding was $2.2 million or something around that number. Not sure if that price included the price of the land or not. The land could have been donated by a developer as happens often as a price for development.

Taking 10 firemen from 9 stations is not that much of a burden. They will each have 21 firemen instead of 22 firemen since we currently have a total of 200 fire fighers. Most of the day and night firemen are not on calls. We all know that. They watch TV, blog on the internet including this site, play basketball, and sleep at night with little interruption on weekdays. On weekends they are interrupted during their sleep on occassion due to drunk driving accidents caused by the non-stop nightclubbing the city allows downtown.

I think no one ever checked on our Fire Fighters. We loved them and never questioned anything they did. Now in a bad economy we are questioning. We are finding out they have excess fat like any corporation or public entity in America. No one is immune from gathering fat with time. It is human nature!

The city would never endanger the lives of its citizens. It decided that it could safely staff the #10 fire station from the other 9. Even the Napergatians all agreed with the city. When both agree, they must be right. I believe they even both came up with the same proposal almost at the same time...maybe the Napergatians or AA came up with it first. Not sure!

One is forgetting that these fire stations all assist each other. We just need a few firemen there at the scene quickly. In a few extra minutes nearby stations can help if the emergency is bigger than expected.

Certain firemen are trying to cause panic in this town because they do not want to contribute in any cost cutting measures. They are being a little selfish the way I see it. It is so obvious. I am glad they don't represent the majority of our fine fire fighters. They have a $26.9 million deficit they generated and have to be responsible for. We the taxpayers contributed over 20% to this pension fund each and every year. We did our duty. It is not our fault if they blew their money in the stock market and want to pay themselves pensions they can not afford to pay.

Aurora limited contribution from taxpayers to 10% and the fire fighters are surviving in a new and affordable retirement system started by the state a few years ago. Under home rule, the city of Naperville can opt out of the ancient system and into the new affordable system. Of course, in Aurora they can't afford to grant 90k annual pensions like Mr. Robert Marshall's pension.. Maybe, that is why Mr. Marshall did not want to change with the times....his own personal pension was at risk! Major conflict of interest if you ask me!

It all makes sense. I wish the whining will stop and the cuts would start. Let us get rolling and elimnate all our deficits. Let firefighter's friend cry all he wants. Maybe it is time for his friend to stand up for his rights if he is truly worried.

At the risk of playing both sides of the fence I think both Melissa and Morbert have valid points(I know, just hear me out).

My point to Melissa was that if her group feels something is not right,she should go right to the offenders (Fire Chief in this case) and ask them directly. Don't wait a year, do nothing and then complain about it later. I don't know if the fire stations are overstaffed, but if I had to guess I would say they are simply adequately staffed. If Melissa and her group feel differently they should show some proof that NFD is overstaffed and not following suggested nfpa guidelines. Regardless of where she heard the term, "excess fat", it is inflammatory and implies lack of control and oversight. Using this term also implies a lazy, unmotivated work force which I believe was her intent - to that I respectfully disagree with her.


And Morbert, please re-read my post. I do not think there is any excess fat or waste, I was simply giving Melissa a possible question she should ask if she thinks this is the case. If she is unwilling or unable to support her supposition then it says a lot about her group.

I am trying to remain civil and pose potential questions that need to be answered before I reach any conclusions. The debate on this blog is not really debate, but is more argumentative without facts which is why I am pushing Melissa and challenging her to prove that our FD is full of excess fat.

If Firefighter Friend is correct that the city will rob Peter to pay Paul then I would hope that someone would pose this question to the new Chief as well. Once he answers anyone's questions then we can debate that - but until then it is just supposition and innuendo.

For example: Is there a recommended # of fire stations based on population, size, etc.? Is there a recommended # of fire fighters and paramedics required per station? Is there an NFPA guideline for this, or is it up to each municipality? Until these types of questions are posed and answered how can we say that there is excess fat anywhere, or how can we say they are robbing Peter to pay Paul?

Ronn,

Not sure if you read Firefighter Friend's response about the minimum manning already in place on the NFD vehicles. If you did, I don't understand HOW you think they can cut staff on the NFD and still maintain service? As Firefighter Friend also stated by moving people from Station 5 to man Station 10, they are basically robbing Peter to pay Paul. Station 5 will have longer repsonse times. The reason that Staion 10 is being built is to reduce response times in that area. Moving people resolves one problem but creates another. I don't see how people just don't get this fact.

Ronn,
Maybe the term "excess fat" has the wrong ring to it. I am a stay at home Mom for now and watch CNBC when my kids are napping and that is CNBC's favorite word when dealing with corporate America.Citicorp had so much "excess fat," they laid off 53,000 employees and you can still go to any bank and make a deposit or withdrawal without a glitch. That is a hint of what may been going on in that operation. Because no one was checking on them, we the taxpayers just gave them 45 billion in 2 chunks to bail them out. Some prince from Saudi chipped in with 350 million last Friday.

I think you are right, Ronn. Maybe we should not sit back one year and experience another 9.7 million pension deficit. I was just trying to be nice and lay off the fire department for a while. Maybe we should not because some people think they should be immune from cuts because they save lives. Nurses at Edward's also save lives and they are not immune from cuts. Are fire fighters more important than nurses? Are they better than nurses? I think they are equally important.

Why is the city not responding to these huge pensions deficits? It is not like the Napergatians discovered them. CM Bob posted them and we just did a little adding and subtracting. We are not responsible for creating them. We want them ended. The State of Illinois is also demanding they be ended. Are state officials also "evil" Napergatians because they also feel these pension deficits are very troublesome.

Are you not shocked, Ronn, that city officials would allow the pension deficit to become worse after a warning from the state last year that it needs to be eliminated by 2033. The city instead of taking the state seriously took a 10 million step in the wrong direction instead of the right direction. How can that be acceptable?

The fire fighter supporters rather than come up with solutions, love to use fear tactics....such as what about if you had a heart attack....what about if your house caught on fire....to justify the incompetence leading to the fiscal fiasco in our budgets and pensions. I think their tactics of justifying excesses are despicable!

You seem like a fair man, Ronn? Is installing fear a way to debate?
Is accusing the Napergatians to be full of hate because we seek to balance the budget a fair way to debate? Our city council members are also trying to balance the budget....are they also full of hate for the police and firemen. I just don't understand why the Napergatians are attacked for trying to do what all normal taxpayers try to do.

Yes, we operate as a group in order to be more effective. If you ask why it is because our past experiences indicate our city council does not listen to individuals. Try to approach them for 3 minutes at the podium on a Tuesday and see what results you get. As soon as you sit down, they forget you even spoke. I have never had a city official call me after speaking about an issue that concerned me...never...not once! The Mayor is nice and lets you unload steam for 30 more seconds but that is the only thing nice I can say. He is very polite but I am not sure anyone is really listening!

Just to give you an example. When the establishment tried to put a shopping center in the middle of a subdivision if no one showed up they would approve the project. When the Napergate Man brought 400 residents with him they would reverse and side with him. A few months later when no one was paying attention, they would reverse and give Establishment Friendly Bill Brestal law firm the rights to the shopping center. This council votes changed 7 times on this one project known as Spring Green until they realized the Napergate Man was not going away.....and neither his supporters.

I hope that explains why we feel there is power in numbers and working as a group. City officials resent us because we are not that easy to push away when we join forces and demand action. They don't like to be held accountable to the taxpayer. They pretty much want to kiss the a$$es of the establishment folks who really control this town using the majority of these council members as potted plants who can somehow lower a wilted branch to rubber stamp a phony document.

OK, the Napergatians gave them a free ride the last 7 years. They got us in a mess. This pension deficit is not related to the bad economy. It has been accumulated for the last several years when the economy was booming. It is simply related to the fact that paying employees 75% of their highest pay is neither sustainable or attainable. That seems obvious to everyone except those who are benefitting from this corrupt system.

As you can see from my letter, we are willing to back off and let the city get its act together. I sense you as a taxpayer do not want us to sit back and let the tax situation get worse.

We should not have to go to City Officials. They get the information before we do. We don't get the 500 page packets. They do. We were not elected to office. They were. We are not getting paid to be on the city council. They are! We are not getting a pension and health benefits to fix the city problems. They are!

We should not even be blogging if they were reading their packets and doing their homework. When they go over a 550 page packet in 54 minutes and go home, how can they solve the city problems.

The real problem in this town is the city council is rubber stamping everything for the city manager. They don't care about the town or want to be involved. They only wake up when the citiznes raise hell.

That is why we the Napergatians and many others are raising hell and will continue to raise hell until they listen to us.

Since you seem concerned, I suggest you ask Mr. Puknaitis the question you recommended and do your part for Naperville. Your style may be different than ours. Let me know if it works!

We have tried your gentle style in years past. Our experience is our city officials don't listen. Let me know if they have changed and are now listening. We would love to change our approach to dealing with our city officials.

I do not know if Melissa's points are accurate or not, the questions in and of themselves are given in a pessimistic way, "excess fat"??.

As a recommendation I would not sit back and wait for one year and then possibly attack if it doesn't go your way. If you truly believe there is excess fat, take that concern to this new fire chief. I would be surprised if he doesn't hold some public forums, and spends time getting to meet and know the people in town. Ask him the question, "Mr Puknaitis, I am concerned that there is an overstaffing issue in town and would like to know how you plan to reduce staff while still maintaining the fine level of service we expect?"

Be proactive and involved, please don't sit back and wait for a year before getting involved. If his answer is something you disagree with then spend your time trying to change his mind.

The Fire Chief's position is part of the pension fund. He puts into the system also.

To Those Napergatians CLUELESS about how a fire department functions and who continually RANT about the amount of firefighters we have being "FAT". People have posted and tried to educate you but you are unwilling to hear what is being said. You can't put a price on someone's life..I'd hate to be related to you and have my life in your hands..

Wait until your house is burning or you're having a heart attack or stroke or your baby's choking...tick...tick..tick...

Hope you don't mind wating and that the money you saved was worth it to you!!!

An Educated Citizen
not an employee of the NFD

Melissa,
Get it right !!! The staffing for station 10 is NOT coming from the nine other stations. There are no extra personnel at the other nine stations. Current engine and truck staffing is already at safe MINIMUM staffing, per NFPA standards. The staffing for station 10 IS coming from shutting down Ladder 5 at station 5. The ladder truck that ladder 5 crew is using will be moved to a spare, and the current spare ladder will be sold off(IT'S 20 YEARS OLD AND IN BAD SHAPE). The fire engines and ladder are at minimum safe staffing of 3, throughout the city, per NFPA standards. The city can not staff station 10 without taking another ladder truck out of service.
The acting fire chief stated this to the city council at a recent budget / cost cutting meeting and in the council meetings. This is public record, LOOK IT UP.

Let us see if he agrees with the Napergatians and staffs Fire Station #10 with the excess fat in the other 9 fire stations.

If he does that, he will be off to a good start.

Let us see what other excess fat he can find and trim.

Let us see how he tackles the $26.9 million dollar deficit in the fire fighters pension fund.

I say let us leave him alone for a year and see what he can do before we criticise him.

He should be given a grace period of ONE YEAR with no criticism!

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This page contains a single entry by Naperville Sun editors published on November 24, 2008 9:57 PM.

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