News

Updated By-Laws Approved by the Board of Directors

June 10th, 2022

The Capital Area By-Laws have been updated and adopted by the Board of Directors at the June, 2022 meeting.

Highlights include; A new Associate Membership class which will welcome not only individuals but other county or regional associations, a redefined purpose, revised voting rights and a revised dues structure.  The new By-Laws are here: AFDCA By Laws rev 0622

 

STATE ARCHIVES LGS-1 FOR FIRE DISTRICTS – DOCUMENT RETENTION POLICY

April 14th, 2022

LGS-1 Records Common in Fire Districts (updated 2022)

  • The LGS-1 Retention and Disposition Schedule must be adopted prior to records disposition. In addition, prior to disposition, staff should consult the appropriate LGS-1 Schedule item cited to read full descriptions and review details on notes where indicated.
  • Review the LGS-1 Schedule to find records not listed on this document.
  • The LGS-1 introduction includes instructions, exceptions to the schedule, a sample resolution for adopting, Archives and other agency contact details.
  • LGS-1 HTML and PDF formats: http://www.archives.nysed.gov/records/local-government-record-schedule/lgs-1-title-page
  • Contact maria.mccashion@nysed.gov 518-486-4823 or recmgmt@nysed.gov for assistance.

DOWNLOAD THE DOCUMENT HERE:

https://afdca.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/LGS-1-excerpt-for-Fire-Districts_organized-by-section-headings.docx

Why Do Volunteers Stop Volunteering

April 14th, 2022

Why do volunteer firefighters quit? According to research published by the National Volunteer Fire Council in September 2020, the top 3 reasons volunteer firefighters stop volunteering is:

  • because of leadership/failures
  • cliques and
  • training requirements

Former volunteers were surveyed to learn the reasons for their departure and were compared to the perceptions of current volunteer leaders and non-leaders alike. The perceptions had some commonality among each group. Current volunteers in both leadership and non-leadership roles felt the primary reason volunteers leave is due to lack of support and flexibility in juggling volunteer responsibilities with other life commitments. However, those surveyed who did quit identified that issue as less important. The primary reason for leaving was the “department atmosphere [being] full of cliques and groups that exclude others.” This was, however, the second most frequently identified reason by the current volunteer group.

The current volunteers also identified department leadership not focusing on or supporting the needs of members as another one of the top 3 reasons why they would consider leaving. Those volunteers that did depart cited the lack of camaraderie or sense of community among everyone in the department. And while current volunteers cited the lack of clear expectations on how much time and effort is required each week or month to meet training requirements, those who quit did not have this issue in their top 3.

The information derived from this section of the survey clearly identifies several problems in the industry. Leadership – either disconnected from the membership or not properly trained – has a significant impact on the entire organization. Some members of the organization mimic this behavior and results in the alienation of others. This type of problem is not seen as often in emergency service organizations with good leadership. And while this is only one aspect within the organization, it is critical factor to its success. These perceptions need to be explored and further validated by replicating and expanding on the research conducted.

Read the full research report from the NVFC by clicking on the link HERE:

https://www.nvfc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/20Aug-NVFC-Retention-Research-Report-FINAL.pdf

Am I Lobbying, An Overview of the NYS Lobbying Act

April 14th, 2022

WHAT IS LOBBYING?

Lobbying is an attempt to influence a specific list of governmental decisions or actions. “Lobbying” and “Lobbying Activities” are collectively defined in the Lobbying Act, and include any attempt to influence:

(a) the passage or defeat of legislation

(b) the adoption, modification or rescission of an executive order

(c) the adoption, modification or rescission of a state agency regulation; or

(d) a decision related to a governmental procurement. Lobbying can occur at the State or local level.

Anyone who engages in such activity is a “Lobbyist” under the law. However, not all Lobbying must be reported. (See below). A Client is the person or organization on whose behalf and at whose request Lobbying Activity is conducted. A Client can either retain an outside Lobbyist to assist it in its Lobbying efforts, or it can utilize one or more individuals within the Client’s own organization to Lobby on its behalf. In the latter case, the organization would be both a Lobbyist and a Client. Every year millions of dollars are spent on Lobbying in New York. Clients retain or employ Lobbyists to influence government policies on topics ranging from energy and natural resources, to education, healthcare, labor issues, veteran affairs, transportation and other issues affecting special interests and members of the public.

WHEN MUST LOBBYING BE REPORTED?

For Lobbying to be reportable, two things must occur: (1) a Lobbyist has engaged in Lobbying Activity; and (2) such Lobbyist incurs, expends or receives (or reasonably anticipates incurring, expending or receiving) more than $5,000 in compensation and expenses related to Lobbying Activities in a calendar year. The $5,000 threshold must be computed cumulatively across all Lobbying Activities. In other words, if a Lobbyist has or reasonably anticipates having compensation and expenses adding up to more than $5,000 across all Lobbying Activities (including all Clients), then the Lobbyist must file reports disclosing such activity. Similarly, any Client that spends more than $5,000 on lobbying in a calendar year must file reports disclosing such activity.

DIRECT VS. GRASSROOTS LOBBYING

Lobbying can occur in two forms: Direct Lobbying or Grassroots Lobbying. Direct Lobbying involves direct contact between a Lobbyist and the government official the Lobbyist is seeking to influence. Face-to-face meetings, telephone calls, distribution of written materials, e-mails, and social media interactions all fall under the umbrella of Direct Lobbying. Grassroots Lobbying is indirect and involves soliciting another to make direct communication with a Public Official. It often occurs through advertisements, rallies, receptions, social media or grassroots communications. For more information about Direct and Grassroots Lobbying, see the Commission’s regulations at 19 NYCRR Parts 943.6 and 943.7.

GRASSROOTS LOBBYING

Grassroots Lobbying is essentially an attempt to advance a position by generating support and action from the public. In order for a communication to be considered Grassroots Lobbying, it must take a clear position on a specific “government action” and urge the public or a segment of the public to contact a Public Official in support of that position. For more information about Grassroots Lobbying, see 19 NYCRR Part 943 of the Commission’s regulations and Advisory Opinion 16-01 at www. jcope.ny.gov.

PROCUREMENT LOBBYING

Procurement Lobbying is an attempt to influence a government contract or purchasing decision. The procurement in question must be for more than $15,000 for the Lobbying to be considered reportable under the Lobbying Act. A State or local government agency will often issue a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) describing what commodity it seeks to purchase. Vendors respond to the RFP by submitting a bid for consideration. Once a State entity posts an RFP, Lobbying Activity is restricted until the State or local agency has selected a vendor.

WHAT ARE SOME RESTRICTIONS ON LOBBYISTS, CLIENTS, AND LOBBYING?

Gifts to Public Officials Lobbyists and Clients of Lobbyists are prohibited from giving gifts to Public Officials.

Public Officials generally include the four statewide elected officials (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General), members and employees of the Legislature, and officers and employees of State agencies, boards, departments, and commissions. Officers and employees of local municipalities with a population of over 5,000 also qualify as Public Officials under the Lobbying rules. For a more detailed definition of “Public Official,” see 19 NYCRR Part 934.2(q) of the Commission’s regulations. Generally, a gift is anything valued at more than $15; however, some items so valued may not be gifts. For a list of exclusions and other rules, see the Commission’s regulations at 19 NYCRR Parts 933 and 934. The gift restrictions are in place to avoid creating the appearance that a gift is being offered to either influence the Public Official or to reward them for performing their public duties.

CONTINGENT RETAINERS

Clients are prohibited from retaining or employing any Lobbyist when the Lobbyist’s compensation is based on the success or failure of the Lobbying Activity. The amount of compensation or payment a Lobbyist receives must not be dependent (or contingent) upon

the results a Lobbyist has with respect to influencing a Public Official. Similarly, a Lobbyist may not accept a contingent retainer. For more information about the contingent retainer prohibition, see 19 NYCRR Part 943.5(c)(2) and (3).

WHAT ARE MY REPORTING OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE LOBBYING ACT?

Registration and Reporting of Lobbying Activities

As a Lobbyist, if your Lobbying efforts exceed, or you reasonably anticipate they will exceed, the $5,000 threshold, you will be required to register with JCOPE and fill out Bi-Monthly reports that disclose the amount of money earned and expenses reimbursed for attempting to influence government actions. Calculating the $5,000 Threshold You (as a Lobbyist or Client) will have reached the $5,000 threshold if you incur, expend, or receive, or reasonably anticipate incurring, expending, or receiving, more than $5,000 in combined reportable compensation and expenses for Lobbying Activities on a State and/or local level per calendar year.

  • Money paid to an external Lobbyist, internal spending (salaries, business costs associated with in-house Lobbying) and expenses of purchases towards things like advertising are to be included in the calculation. Reportable expenses also generally include items such as postage and electronic advocacy listed on page 1.
  • Remember, the threshold is cumulative across all Lobbying Activities engaged in by a Lobbyist or Client.

Filing Requirements

Once an individual or entity has determined that its attempts to influence government decision making qualify as Lobbying under the Lobbying Act, registration and reporting may be required. Lobbyist Statement of Registration The Lobbyist Statement of Registration describes anticipated Lobbying efforts within a two-year (biennial) period. A separate Statement of Registration is required for each Client. The registration includes, but is not limited to:

  • An executed Lobbying Agreement form, as provided by the Commission, or copy of a signed Lobbying agreement/contract (or written authorization to lobby if no contract exists), detailing the start and termination dates of the Lobbying Activity and the amount of compensation a Lobbyist will be paid by the Client;
  • Name of the Principal Lobbyist;
  • Client name and contact information;
  • Names of the individuals who are authorized to Lobby;
  • Subject matter for anticipated Lobbying;
  • Targets of the expected Lobbying, including the person, organization, entity, or legislative body before which you expect to lobby;
  • $200 filing fee

BI-MONTHLY REPORTING

A Lobbyist must file Bi-Monthly reports every other month. These filings report the actual activity undertaken by and the compensation and expenses reimbursed to the Lobbyist during that time period. Bi-Monthly reporting is required even when no compensation or expenses have occurred during the required reporting period. There is no filing fee

required for submitting a Bi-Monthly report.

Client Reporting Requirements

Clients must file a Client Semi-Annual Report (“CSA”) twice a year. This requirement includes those Clients who Lobby on their own behalf. A CSA report reflects actual Lobbying Activity during the preceding six month period. A $50 filing fee is required for this report. Any required source of funding reporting is done as part of the Client Semi-Annual report.

Other Lobby-Related Activities Subject To Disclosure Under The Lobbying Act

Reportable Business Relationships

Lobbyists and Clients are required to publicly disclose information regarding business relationships where a State Person, or entity in which a State Person has Requisite Involvement, receives more than $1,000 in annual compensation from either the Lobbyist or Client. For more information, see the Commission’s regulations at 19 NYCRR Part 943.14.

Source of Funding

Organizations that devote substantial resources to Lobbying in New York may be required to disclose their funding sources. The Source of Funding Disclosure requirement provides the public greater transparency regarding which entities and individuals 4 are financially supporting Lobbying efforts in New York. The disclosure of Sources of Funding can be required of both Lobbyists who Lobby on their own behalf and Clients who devote substantial resources Lobbying in New York. For more information, see the Commission’s regulations at 19 NYCRR Part 938. [fire district funding comes from the taxpayers, so does dues paid to State Association and Local Associations]

Disbursements of Public Monies

Public monies are funds previously appropriated as part of the enacted State budget, which are designated for programs, grants or are discretionary funds and have not been allocated to specific recipients. Lobbyists already registered with JCOPE must file separate reports disclosing the reportable compensation and expenses associated with attempts to influence a disbursement of such public monies if compensation and expenses exceed $5,000 in a year and the public monies sought exceed $15,000. This is in addition to the $5,000 threshold for Lobbying.

EMS Cost Recovery Passes after 25 year Battle

April 8th, 2022

EMS Cost Recovery has passed both houses of the State Legislature! The New York State Fire Service Alliance has long fought for the right of volunteer EMS to recover costs associated with their services. Prior to this legislation, New York was one of very few states that did not allow this. Volunteer EMS will now have the option to recover costs thanks to this bill, which would not have been possible without the support of legislators and, of course, our members. Thank you to all who helped make this legislation happen!

President Rinaldi Sworn In and Addresses Attendees

March 13th, 2022

Welcome everyone I certainly wish the weather had cooperated but we can finally unmask and socialize again, event though the cost of fuel may keep us close to home.

I really don’t recall what year we started these gatherings in the Capital Area but it’s been several, we gather just to relax and enjoy each other’s company, no drama.  Our first reception was down on Caroline street at a bar named Johnny Lucs, the police and the state liquor authority closed it down about year after we left.

There are a few people we have lost along the way and it’s a sad thing, but we are left behind to preserver on and finish they work they started.  Fred Blaise, Norm Petricca, S. Paul Anazalone, Ted Mulberry, Ernie Jarvis and I’m sure several more.

The officers, the board and members have been working together and have several initiatives planned that directly benefit our member fire districts which at this time number about 80 districts in 7 counties, which in square miles is the same size as the state of Connecticut.  To the north from Pottersville in Warren County to the south to Ravena in Albany County and Berlin in Rensselaer County on the Massachusetts boarder to Fort Hunter Montgomery Co. to the west.

Why do we do what we do?  To quote Dennis Smith:

“Firefighters may be the most ubiquitous civil servants we have.  Think of any natural or man-made disaster you might have seen on television or read about in the newspapers and in every photo, you see, every paragraph you read, there will be firefighters.  Paid or volunteer, often at great personal risk they are there, giving of themselves for others.”

As fire district officials its our duty to be educated and to provide effective and efficient fire protection to the citizens of our respective fire districts and to provide as best we can for those firefighters who have entrusted their destiny to us.

Some of the Challenges that Your Fire Company Members are Dealing with!!

March 13th, 2022

6 Steps To Safe, Effective Solar Panel, ESS Fire Attack

Richard Burt

[With more of energy storage systems appearing in your district, your firefighters need to be aware of how these systems react in a fire, are they informed?]

Basic firefighter strategies and tactics needed to mitigate a residential structure fire have changed with the installation of thousands of solar panel and battery storage systems in homes across the United States. As such, firefighters need updated training that addresses the presence of this technology. Let’s review a bread-and-butter approach to mitigating a residential structure fire involving solar panel and battery storage systems.

STEP-BY-STEP SAFE FIRE ATTACK

On a residential structure fire where an aggressive interior fire attack strategy has been declared, one of the initial benchmarks for command is to control utilities. This critical task needs to be accomplished so that the firefighters inside the structure can safely complete a primary life search, locate and extinguish the fire, and contain it to the room of origin.

Fire service training on electrical utility control and extinguishment has evolved little in the past 100 years. However, the introduction of alternate energy systems has changed where power flows and how it is made safe. With this in mind, the following six critical simple steps can impact firefighter life safety and lead to the successful mitigation of the incident.

  1. Complete a 360 to locate ESS:The-first arriving member should complete a 360-walkaround of the building, if possible, to locate any solar panels and or energy storage systems (ESS) present. Many such systems will be located outside, in a garage or basement depending on the region and building codes.

The one common thread across the country is that building codes require a placard be installed on the outside of the residence indicating to firefighters that a solar/battery system has been installed and where the system and shutoffs are located. This placard is usually placed on the electrical utilities box on the exterior of the house or on the system itself if it is located outside.

  1. Turn off all systems:The unit assigned to control utilities needs to understand that electricity to the home is only isolated once the main breaker from the grid utility and the DC/AC disconnect from the solar and storage have been turned off. Turning off only the main utility breaker will activate the backup battery to the home, so it is imperative to turn off all the systems to eliminate the possibility of the interior firefighters receiving an electric shock.

If the ESS is on fire and firefighters need to gain access to it, whether it is in the garage, basement or located outside, the damage from direct flame impingement can cause the system to start degrading and may cause thermal runaway. Thermal runaway is the process where self-heating occurs faster than can be dissipated, resulting in vaporized electrolyte, fire and/or explosions.

If the battery is in a confined space and exposed to any internal or external heat above 150 degrees F, then it is critical that firefighters ventilate the space first. Once the space has been adequately ventilated, firefighters can attempt to extinguish the fire if needed and then evaluate whether the ESS needs to be isolated.

  1. Be smart about ventilation tactics:If the incident commander (IC) calls for vertical ventilation to help interior crews complete their life saving functions, firefighters need to be aware of two important facts. First, electricity can be produced by the solar panels day or night depending on the light source. In a UL study, 800V and 340mA were measured coming from a 1000V array at night. The light source creating this electricity was from apparatus spotlights directed at the solar panels. With the capability of solar panels to create electricity day or night that travels through conduit, firefighters should not cut, damage or touch any part of the system.

Second, if the conduit is hidden, which it normally is for aesthetic reasons, a firefighter cutting a hole in a roof unaware of the conduit’s location could easily be exposed to an electrical shock. The simplest and safest strategy is for firefighters to stay off the roof. They should be instructed to not touch the panels or conduit and only vertically ventilate if they can locate a stable part of the roof that is clear of the solar panels and conduit.

If a roof is discovered to have multiple solar panels covering the majority of it, the IC should immediately consider using vent, enter, isolate, search (VEIS) or horizontal ventilation.

  1. Commence fire attack – from a distance:If the solar panels on the roof of a residential structure are burning, firefighters need to understand that the back of the solar panels are made of combustible material and can burn very easily. They also need to recognize that a large volume of fire in or around the solar panels could mean the roof is burning as well as the panels that may lead the IC to call for a defensive operation.

Firefighters can safely extinguish the fire by applying a straight stream from a minimum of 20 feet away or use a fog pattern from 5 feet away. Grid utility electricity coming from the local power company to the house has not changed and the firefighters need to recognize this and follow their standard operating procedures (SOPs) for working with existing residential utility electrical service. Foam is not needed to extinguish a solar panel or battery fire. In fact, testing has shown that plain water is the most effective tool.

  1. Apply the same strategies to a battery fire:If a battery is burning or involved in a residential structure fire, whether it is in a garage, the side of a home or basement, firefighters can apply the same fire flow principles as the solar panel fire. Specifically, if the battery is in a confined space, firefighters should first effectively ventilate the area, then approach it in full firefighting PPE, including SCBA, and start flowing water at a minimum distance of 20 feet with a straight stream.

As the crew advances, they can switch to a fog pattern to safely extinguish the fire from 5 feet away. Firefighters need to approach the battery from the side because the solid metal casing covering the front of the battery will deflect the water stream away from the burning cells.

A note on temperature: When actively burning, batteries can produce temperatures in excess of 1,200 degrees F, and reach thermal runaway temperature between 300 to 400 degrees F. The batteries can start degrading at temperatures as low as 200 degrees, causing them to produce combustible toxic gases that will need to be aggressively ventilated. If the battery is stored in a confined area, like a closet or basement, and has been exposed to temperatures above 150 degrees F, it is critical that firefighters adequately ventilate the area first before making entry.

  1. Perform overhaul – carefully: After a residential fire involving solar panels and batteries has been extinguished, firefighters must be cautious during overhaul.

Solar panels need to be evaluated by a certified electrician after every structure fire because of the possible damage to them and the wires that run through the conduit to the charge controller or inverter. Firefighters should not touch any part of the system until this has been accomplished. The two exceptions are if the firefighters can cover the panels without coming in direct contact with either the panels or conduit, or if the fire started at night and the panels are not being exposed to any sources of light. Black plastic sheeting at least 3-mm thick or traditional canvas tarps are highly effective for completing this overhaul technique. Covering the panels at night with no exposure to a significant light source can help the homeowner because of the possibility of a delay in contacting a certified electrician.

After a battery has been extinguished, firefighters should keep flowing copious amounts of water on the battery to cool it down to ambient air temperature. Cooling the battery after extinguishment will reduce the possibility of a chemical reaction occurring in the damaged battery cells. If the cells are not sufficiently cooled, temperatures could rise and lead to thermal runaway. Burn tests with lithium-ion Batteries have shown that damaged battery cells can create enough heat to cause a fire even 72 hours after being extinguished. It is impossible for firefighters to determine the amount of stranded energy present in a damaged battery, so they must follow key safety protocols: Wear full PPE with SCBA, do not touch the battery, and wait for a certified electrician to evaluate its state of charge and supervise its removal from the structure if necessary. The IC should explain all of this to the owner (if they are on scene) and recommend that they immediately contact their installer or a qualified electrician.

The fire service needs to be proactive and start reaching out to the solar and storage industry, so firefighters have a resource to contact if a homeowner is not available on scene. The local electrical utility companies are only responsible for the connection to the house from their utility lines and will not be able to help.

Powers and Duties of a Fire Commissioner

March 9th, 2022

[NOTE: In many instances the cited section may not be printed in its entirety and to gain complete understanding of the permissions and limitations the entire section of the law needs to be read and understood.  In addition, this may not be an all-inclusive list of the powers and duties of Fire District Commissioners but is a comprehensive representative example of their responsibilities.    There are many more applicable laws and sections of State law that mention the Board of Fire Commissioners and their rights and responsibilities, but applicability is secondary and cannot be completely discounted. When questions arise exhaustive research should be performed and professional legal counsel should be sought.]  Note, this is a 12 page document.

Powers-and-duties-of-a-Fire-Commissioner (1)

Running a Productive Meeting – Good Read!

February 27th, 2022
**Running a Productive Fire District Meeting

Linda Willing

Ask any commissioner what their favorite part of the job is, and never – and I stress never – will they say, “Going to meetings.”

A few years ago, I did an informal survey among fire service leaders regarding why they disliked meetings so much. The responses were consistent across diverse departments. “It’s frustrating. Nothing ever gets done” was a common sentiment. “Nobody ever really listens” was also a frequent observation. The most common response about meetings? “A waste of time.”

But meetings are not going away any time soon, even if they happen virtually (where the only saving grace for some people is that they can multitask out of the camera’s view). Plus, when done well, meetings can be a positive forum for sharing information and ideas and problem solving.

MEETING PLANNING IS KEY

Many things get in the way of having productive meetings: inadequate preparation, lack of focus, poor time management. Lack of attention to any of these elements can cause meetings to go off the rails.

Have an agenda: Every meeting should have an agenda that is sent out to all participants prior to the gathering. This agenda should include any background materials for discussion, and it must be emphasized that all participants are expected to have read those materials prior to meeting together as a group.

Stay focused: Meetings should also have a specific focus, as outlined in the agenda. While having some brief time set aside for general discussion can be useful, the meeting itself must stick to the stated purpose.

Respect attendees’ time: Time limitations must be respected. Of course, people need to be heard, but personal issues, off-topic discussions, side conversations and general rambling must be kept to a minimum. Many business leaders believe that meetings should never last longer than one hour long. In fact, some think they should be much shorter than that.

Facilitating group dynamics

The bottom line is that meetings must be managed to be successful, and this means that someone must fill the role of facilitator. This job often falls to the highest-ranking person in the room, though that is not necessarily the best approach. Among groups that meet regularly, it can be a good practice to rotate the facilitator’s job among all attendees.

Facilitators are responsible for the business of running the meeting – the preparation of pre-meeting materials, notifying all attendees and tracking attendance. Perhaps most importantly, facilitators have a role in guiding discussion, including paying attention to who speaks first. The fire district board chairman is a facilitator with one vote, no more, no less.

Studies show that people in groups, either in person or virtually, are disproportionately affected by the first opinion expressed on any given topic. Psychologists call this the cascade effect, (I call it mob rule) – if the first person speaking on a topic is favorable toward it, there is a greater chance that the next person who speaks will agree rather than disagree. Each subsequent speaker then has increasing pressure to go along.

There are many reasons why this happens; people may genuinely agree, or they may not have a strong opinion and find it easier to just go along. They may feel pressure to fit in with the group and not appear uninformed or disagreeable. Whatever the reasons, the effect can be premature agreement and cursory analysis of situations or problems.

A good facilitator can mitigate this effect by being deliberate about how members participate. Instead of allowing a free-for-all atmosphere where anyone (and usually the same few people) speak first and most often, a facilitator can call on people, or assign topics where everyone has the chance to have the first word.

Everyone should have the opportunity to speak during a meeting but creating this norm can mean changing current patterns regarding how things happen. Such change is possible but must be handled professionally. Leaders must explain how they intend to alter the format of meetings and why these changes will benefit members and the organization. Such changes must be framed in a positive light – how the new format will benefit everyone, not that one member is talking too much.

Committing to change

Meetings will never be anyone’s favorite activity, but when managed well, they can be a productive part of the workday. Taking steps to overhaul how your organization runs its meetings is work that can and should be shared among all who participate, but as with most positive change, it will come down to leadership setting the tone.

New First Responder Tool for Reporting Transportation Struck-By Incidents

February 14th, 2022

The Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI) has just launched a new nationwide platform that collects detailed information directly from first responders about incidents on the roadway where responders or their equipment were struck by a vehicle while operating at a scene.

By improving first responder reporting, this new tool will help ERSI track and analyze struck-by incident data, gain a better understanding of exactly how and why these incidents are happening, and help prevent future incidents.

The new incident reporting tool at ReportStruckBy.com:

  • Accepts reports from all roadway responders, including fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire police and special traffic units, safety service and freeway service patrols, departments of transportation, public works, and towing and recovery.
  • Allows any first responder involved in a struck-by incident to report the incident from any device, whether in the field or at the station.
  • Accepts all reports on struck-by incidents of any type, including incidents resulting in death, injury or property damage.
  • Takes approximately 3-4 minutes to complete. All fields are optional so you can report as much as you know and skip what you don’t.

Are you Serious? NY Lawmakers Considering End to Single Family Housing

February 14th, 2022

Rockland County Biz Journal

Bill Is Aimed At Creating More Affordable Housing In Cities, Suburbs; Lessening Rent-Burdened Dwellers

STATE NEWS

New York lawmakers are considering a new bill that would end exclusionary zoning and allow for multiple units to be built on most lots earmarked for residential development.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman (his district covers the heart of Manhattan, are you surprised?) has introduced a bill that would allow multifamily construction on almost all residential lots, eliminate parking requirements in cities and villages, and prohibit larger municipalities from requiring large lot sizes for homes.

The legislation would prevent cities and villages from setting minimum lot sizes larger than 1,200 square feet. It would also bar them from requiring off-street parking.

In cities, landowners could build four-family dwellings on any residential lot, or up to six-family buildings within a quarter mile of a train station. In villages, builders could construct duplexes on any residential lot or six-family dwellings near transit stations.

The bill also addresses towns, setting a maximum lot size of 20,000 square feet, or 5,000 square feet if the parcel has access to sewer or water infrastructure.

“We need to end the policy of exclusionary zoning that disadvantages lower- and middle-income New Yorkers,” said Hoylman. “The affordability crisis is best addressed statewide.”

New York, which has been dealing with a growing housing crisis for years, wouldn’t be the first to introduce the measure. In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that effectively bans single-family home zoning in the country’s largest state. The bill eliminated single-family zoning and essentially allowed up to four units to be built on lots previously set aside for one home. The state also passed a bill encouraging higher density near transit hubs. In 2019, the city of Minneapolis passed a law increasing all single-family zoning to triplexes.

In New York, as in nearly every state, the state government leaves zoning to localities. But Connecticut, Massachusetts and California have passed laws to spur increased density in suburbs in recent years and the movement is gaining traction nationwide.

New York has some of the most exclusionary zoning in the country, particularly in the suburbs of Westchester and Long Island, according to a study by the Furman Center at New York University.

“The results of these policies are clear: a state with fewer homes, higher rents, higher levels of segregation, higher carbon emissions, and a slower economy,” wrote Hoylman.

Hoylman’s bill is likely to face strenuous opposition from suburban, exurban, and rural towns where density proposals are often opposed by local residents. But urban planners and advocates of affordable housing favor allowing multiple dwellings on what are now single-family lots.

Supporters say the bill’s provisions increase housing supply, driving down prices that have kept many severely rent-burdened and first-time buyers priced out of the market. Critics say that it damages the fabric of neighborhoods. Rockland’s leaders have acknowledged the need to provide housing for millennials and seniors in the county’s towns and villages.

The Furman Center has found that New York has some of the most exclusionary zoning in the country, which has slowed housing production. New York’s suburbs are “national laggards” in housing development, according to Furman’s report, which Hoylman cited in introducing the bill.

While California has been out front on single-family zoning, it is instructive to look at the state’s protracted adaption of permitting accessory dwelling units, such as granny flats, backyard cottages, or garage apartments. The state first required cities to allow ADUs in 1982, but cities and suburbs threw up so many regulatory barriers that it was nearly impossible to build a legal ADU, and most existing ADUs were illegal. It would take more than three decades for the statehouse to get serious about ADU legalization, and the passage of five separate bills, starting in 2016, to unclog the logjam.

New York is considering ADU legislation that would allow for construction and permitting of ADUs in all single-family zones statewide, regardless of local zoning codes prohibiting them.

Local leaders in Rockland, including Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann are pushing back on the proposed law, saying it tramples on “home rule,” or the rights of towns to govern themselves. Assemblyman Mike Lawler has also expressed his opposition to the proposed bill.

Homeowners often build ADUs either to house family members or to rent for extra income to help subsidize the cost of home ownership. ADUs also assist with creating affordable housing units.

According to the Regional Plan Association, “ADUs conversions can have many positive impacts on communities,” such as providing secondary income allowing aging homeowners to stay in their homes longer, providing spaces where older relatives and younger children can live together, bringing new residents to the community who contribute to the economy, and reducing the cost of maintaining and building municipal infrastructure by increasing density.

Important Record Management News from State Archives

February 8th, 2022

The New York State Archives has changed how it delivers advisory services to New York State local governments. For the past thirty years the Archives has delivered these services using a regional model; each region served by a Regional Advisory Officer or RAO.

As of January 1, 2022, advisory services are delivered by government type. Each government type is assigned a Records Advisory Officer (RAO).

One advantage of the new model, it will allow RAOs to develop a deeper understanding of each government type and the records it produces, enabling each RAO to provide even better service than they did before. Here is our list of RAOs and the government types they cover:

Cities, Fire Districts, and New York City Municipal Agencies

Maria McCashion, Records Advisory Officer

Cultural Education Center
Room 9B38
222 Madison Avenue, Albany, NY 12230

(518) 486-4823

maria.mccashion@nysed.gov

 

Villages and Cornell Cooperative Extensions

Lorraine Hill-Campbell, Records Advisory Officer

Suffolk State Office Building, Room 2B-41A

Veterans Memorial Hwy.

Hauppauge, NY 11788

631-521-9796

Lorraine.Hill-Campbell@nysed.gov

 

Towns

Michael Martin, Records Advisory Officer

Senator John H Hughes Office Building

333 E. Washington St. Room 230

Syracuse, NY 13202
518-330-7987

michael.martin@nysed.gov