The Everett Fire Union said this week they were blindsided by the news that there is a forthcoming study of the Everett Fire Department coming out, but Chief Tony Carli said the discussion about the study is premature and that it is a common tool used by management.
News of the study came out during a Council Public Safety Committee meeting on Thursday evening, and Fire Union President Craig Hardy said his union has called for a study over a period of many years – but thought they would be notified and included in it.
“We were shocked and stunned,” said Hardy. “We have discussed it before and have asked for a long time for the City to do a study, but this study was shocking because they threw it on us without notice…It puzzles me they wouldn’t tell us about it or give us notice.”
Chief Carli said the study was done by Municipal Resources Inc. (MRI) and it is currently in draft form and not ready quite yet for release. He said they have been doing the study since September, and it is a common tool used by management to provide a pathway for the Fire Service.
“I think they’ve been asking for the study for quite a long time and they’ve not seen it,” he said. “I don’t know why they completely assume it’s detrimental to the union. I don’t think it is. It’s a little too soon to start complaining about something they haven’t seen.”
He said that historically such studies have been used by Fire Chiefs and municipal leaders to understand where the Department lies in relation to the industry, and to have outside eyes take a closer look at things. He said being a new chief, he wanted an independent review to create this “pathway” that could be discussed with the Union after it is complete.
Hardy said they would have liked to participate in the crafting of the study, and feel the company will not be objective.
“We feel it will be a management-friendly report when it comes out,” said Hardy. “We’re doing to do our own study. We were blindsided when they told us they had a study they started in September and was almost ready to publish. It’s disappointing they didn’t tell us and we didn’t get to participate.”
Dep. Chief Sean Dattoli said even though he is an officer in the Department, he had no idea there was a study.
“I’m a deputy chief and this is the first we’ve heard of it,” he said. “It was troubling because they said ‘restructuring’ and if you want to bring restructuring into the discussion that’s ok, but restructuring is a scary word because restructuring usually means cuts.”
Chief Carli said the study would be public soon, but there are some things that need to be done first.