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January 2018

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COA Newsletter – January 2018

Dear COA Members,

Happy New Year – your COA Board would like to thank you for your support this last year and look forward to a great year ahead of us. December 2017 may go down as one of the most active wildfire seasons for the LAFD. With over 11 straight days of extreme fire weather and multiple Santa Ana wind events, the LAFD was battle tested and was able to successfully control the wildfires without civilian lives lost. December was also a sad month for the fire service – we lost a brother to the Thomas Fire. CALFIRE Engineer Cory Iverson lost his life while valiantly fighting the 300 square mile Thomas Fire in Ventura/Santa Barbara County. Cory was assigned to the San Diego Unit and leaves behind his wife, who is expecting their next child, and a 2-year-old daughter.

This past year we negotiated a substantial contract for our members including the first-ever Executive Development Fund managed by your COA Board. We issued over $60,000 in funds directly to our members, without having our members go through the arduous process of requesting reimbursement through the city controller. We also took a strong position against the Department of Fire and Police Pensions who tried eliminating LAFRA and other medical plans for our retirees. With the support of LAFRA, UFLAC and the PPL, we were successful in stopping this action. The DROP remains strong, and after the most recent 5-year review it was approved without further actuarial studies. Also, with your help, we successfully re-elected Captain Ruben Navarro and (ret) Captain Ken Buzzell to the Pension Board.

The Fire Chief has continued to build a great team. This past year we welcomed a new Fire Marshal, Deputy Chief Kristin Crowley who has been a fantastic advocate for fire prevention and firefighter safety and we bid a proud farewell to Deputy Chief John Vidovich who implemented many innovative programs. Deputy Chief Graham Everett was appointed as Chief of Staff and has been very effective in maintaining our political presence in City Hall and directing the day to day operations of the Fire Chief’s immediate staff.

Our emergency field operations continue to be the hallmark of our organization with the appointment of Chief Deputy Alfred Poirier as the Commander of Emergency Operations. Chief Poirier is no stranger to fireground operations, rescue, and EMS. A Medal of Valor recipient and former member of the FEMA CATF-1, he is a great and trusted leader who has never forgotten where he came from. We also pay credit to Chief Deputy Joe Castro who left a legacy of excellence on the LAFD.

We continue to have a great and strong relationship with Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas. Under his leadership, we have been able to successfully make positive changes in the LAFD.

Our retirees have continued to remain in contact with their COA and have out-paced the active duty members in attendance at our retirement dinners. It is always great to hear from you, and we appreciate the foundation that many of you have laid for us and the next generation of Chief Officers. We appreciate the input we receive from you and want to thank Chief Dave Badgett, Chief Mike Fulmis, Chief John Ware, Chief Dennis Waters, and Chief Frank Borden, to name a few, for their guidance; we are always looking for input.

Looking to the future, we will have several COA seats up for election, and we will be sad to see President Andy Fox retire in the Fall of 2018.  Andy has spent over 20 years as a labor and union leader and over 38 years on the LAFD. We wish him a happy and long retirement.

Your COA is strong and well positioned for the next generation of leaders. Our membership is proud to have 100% participation, and we look forward to a great 2018!

Happy New Year,

The COA Executive Board – Andy, Pat, Kady, Robert, Rick, Antoine & Jaime


In a new section of the COA newsletter, we will salute the men and women of our armed forces serving on active duty. Specifically, we would like to honor the sons and daughters of our COA members or other immediate family members who are serving. Please let us know if you have a family member serving on active duty so that we can thank them for their service. We also want to thank our LAFD members who are the proud parents of these Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Guardsmen, and Marines.

Sergeant Quinn Kelly joined the United States Marine Corps in March 2010. He attended boot camp at Marine Corps Recruitment Depot San Diego, and then went on to Basic Infantryman’s course at School of Infantry West, Camp Pendleton CA. He was then stationed at Marine Barracks Washington D.C. as a member of the elite Silent Drill Platoon from August 2010 to September 2013. He reenlisted in 2013 and is currently assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton CA. He has deployed three times with 3/5 between 2013 and 2017. On behalf of the Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Officers Association, we STAND & SALUTE Sgt. Quinn Kelly for his service to our country.

Battalion Chief Tim Kelly and his wife Linda are the proud parents of Quinn.

January Book of the Month:

Leadership On The Line – Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Change

To lead is to live dangerously. It’s romantic and exciting to think of leadership as all inspiration, decisive action, and rich rewards, but leading requires taking risks that can jeopardize your career and your personal life. It requires putting yourself on the line, disrupting the status quo, and surfacing hidden conflict. And when people resist and push back, there’s a strong temptation to play it safe. Those who choose to lead plunge in, take risks, and sometimes get burned. But it doesn’t have to be that way say renowned leadership experts Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky. In Leadership on the Line, they show how it’s possible to make a difference without getting “taken out” or pushed aside.

Fire Storm December 2017This past month the resolve and tenacity of the LAFD was tested in a series of fast-moving and complex wildfires. Fueled by critically low fuel moistures and fanned by Santa Ana Winds your LAFD members fought two significant wildfires in the city, and two additional outside of the city.


Photo Time Magazine – Jim Bob Barnett

The Creek Fire started on December 5th at 3:44 am four miles east of Sylmar, California. After an exhausted attack by over 1700 firefighters, 121 Engines and both land and air resources, the fire burned over 15,000 acres. Two of our LAFD members suffered injuries including one with 2nd and 3rd-degree burns.

The Skirball Fire started December 6th at 4:45 am half a mile south of Skirball Drive in the Sepulveda Pass. The fire quickly spread to over 50 acres in less than 10 minutes and grew to over 400 acres. Six Air Tankers were requested from CALFIRE at day break and effectively contained the fire from crossing the 405 freeway on the west and spreading to Bel Air on the east.

Mayor Garcetti, Chief Deputy Poirier and Assemblyman Bob Hertzberg at the ICP

Thomas Fire– On December 4th the LAFD deployed Strike Team 1003A, Strike Team 1075A, and Strike Team 1880C to the Thomas Fire. Our resources were on immediate need and were engaged in multiple days of structure firefighting. The fire burned over 300 square miles and tragically took the life of CALFIRE Engineer Cory Iverson.

Cory Iverson leaves behind a beautiful wife and 2-year-old daughter. His wife is pregnant and expected to deliver their next child in March. There is a GoFundMe account established for Cory’s family.

Funeral services for Engineer Cory Iverson were held on December 23, 2017, and were attended by several thousand firefighters and first responders. Due to the significant drawdown of San Diego resources, a CALFIRE Incident Managment Team was activated to manage the funeral services with team members from throughout the state. (LAFD AC Tim Ernst (OSC) and BC Tom Gikas were assigned to the funeral as part of CALFIRE Team 6)

Ashley Iverson with their 2-year-old daughter are escorted into the church by members of the CAL FIRE San Diego Unit.

December 14, 2017 – Strike Team LFD1003A – standing by as Engineer Cory Iverson’s body is escorted from the fire line with a fire and police procession.(Strike Team Leaders BC Brian Dameron, BC Gregg Avery, CII Jeff Brown)

XLA1075 protecting exposures in Ventura. BC Tim Kelly with FF/EIT Ethan Fields

BC Kelly providing a briefing to his Area A Strike Team – SMA, BHL, CUL, LFD

STC LFD1880C saving a home in Montecito – (STEN Leaders BC Mark Akahoshi and BC Ellsworth Fortman)

Local unions assisting CALFIRE Union President BC Mike Lopez
LACoFD IAFF Local 1014 Capt. Dave Gillotte – COA Vice President AC Pat Butler – CALFIRE President IAFF Local 2881 BC Mike Lopez – IAFF Vice President Capt. Franklin V. Lima at “Thomas ICP,” Ventura County Fairgrounds.

Los Angeles Fire Department dispatched drones for the first time
Battalion Chief Rich Fields and his cadre of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) operators, successfully deployed drones to the Skirball Fire. Under this first of its kind LAFD program, the drones were deployed for post-incident aerial mapping and damage assessments. Chief Fields researched the use of drones for the LAFD and authored the report that was approved by the Fire Commission and City Council. “Capitalizing on advanced technologies via [drones] will greatly improve our tactical effectiveness and provide for a more efficient deployment of resources in both the emergent and expanded incident management scenarios,” Fields said in the report.

Battalion Chief Rich Fields – the Chair of the LAFD UAS Program is part of a proud family of firefighters.
(L to R: AC Roy Harvey, (ret) Capt. Greg King, Capt Logan Fields, BC Rich Fields & FF Ethan Fields)

Salary Schedule – Overpayment Update
In response to a COA request and grievance, the department recently issued each affected member a breakdown of the salary schedule calculations, of the alleged over-payment. We appreciate the department’s quick response to our grievance, and we will continue to meet to ensure all aspects of the grievance are addressed.  Please review and make sure that the calculations are accurate. It is COA‘s understanding that the city cannot garnish your wages without your approval. The COA is working through our legal counsel to ensure that all legal aspects are addressed and that we provide our members a comprehensive overview to make an informed decision. We appreciate the Fire Chief and his staff for their cooperation and also the 30-day extension the Fire Chief granted COA to gather additional information.

IAFF Peer Support & Mental Health Training 
On November 20th COA Secretary Battalion Chief Kady Kepner attended the two day Peer Support Training at UFLAC. UFLAC and IAFF President Tony Gamboa sponsored a COA Board Member to attend this important training. It was well attended and part of a larger strategy to address the increase in mental health issues in the fire service.

Passing of Active Duty Captain II Keith Stewart – December 10, 2017
The Chief Officers Association mourns the death of Captain Keith Stewart. Captain Stewart was involved in an off-duty traffic accident in Fire Station 79’s first-in. He was treated and transported by the crew, and after a valiant fight for his life he passed away in the hospital with his family by his side. Keith was a Task Force Commander at Fire Station 12. He will be remembered as an influential leader on the LAFD and a mentor to many of our young recruits.

(Photo of Captain II Keith Stewart)

Assistant Chief Ronnie Villanueva was recently promoted to Deputy Chief, pending the retirement of Deputy Chief Daren Palacios. Chief Villanueva will be assigned as the Commander of Operations South Bureau. Chief Villanueva is a 34-year veteran and has worked in various assignments, including Chief of Staff and operational assignments in Central, Valley, West and South Bureau. We also wish Chief Daren Palacios a long and healthy retirement as he approaches the end of his distinguished career.

(L to R: AC Ronnie Villanueva, DC Daren Palacios, CII Brian Jones, CII Tyler Dixon)

Executive Development Fund – The 2016-2019 MOU 22 provides Chief Officers with paid tuition, travel, and lodging for executive education opportunities. To date, we have funded over $60,000 in executive development funds to our members and still have $64,475 available for this fiscal year. Please take advantage of this fantastic benefit that your COA Board has negotiated on your behalf. Please note that future executive exams will require formal education as a condition for exam eligibility.  Login to the COA Website for more details or call Pat Butler or Jaime Moore for more information.

Fiscal Year 2017/2018 – EDF Account Balance

Leadership Symposium 2018
Your COA Board is planning the next Leadership Symposium for Spring 2018. Thank you for your participation, we received several positive responses and look forward to continuing this series of leadership talks and round-table discussions.

All The Best,
Your Executive Board

The Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Officers Association
Est. 1955

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