Vote NO on Ballot Proposals on November 2nd!
The Capital Area Association of Fire Districts along with the League of Women Voters urge all our members to vote NO on Proposals, 2, 3, and 4. We take no position on Proposal #5. Turn your ballot over, these will be on the back of the ballot. Read more here:
Fire Service Regional Cancer Seminar
The dramatic increase in the incidence of occupational cancers is one of the most important problems
facing the fire service today. The First Responder Center coordinates the activities of the Fire Service
Occupational Cancer Alliance, a collaborative effort among all fire service constituencies to educate
personnel about cancer prevention, provide resources for those who have been diagnosed with an
occupational cancer and support research to address the disease.
In September 2017, the FSOCA hosted a national symposium focusing solely on fire service
occupational cancers, the first event of its kind. Over two days, presentations and workshops covered
current research, prevention strategies, presumptive legislation, benefits, and other relevant topics.
Based upon the overwhelming positive feedback we are taking the show on the road and conducting
regional one day seminars based upon some of the key topics from the symposium.
TRAINING DATE: Friday, December 3, 2021
LOCATION: New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control Bldg
ADDRESS: 1220 Washington Avenue, State Office Building Campus
Building 7A, Albany, NY 12242
TIME: 8:00AM – 4:30PM
REGISTER: Regional Cancer Seminar Registration 12.3.2021 or
Regional Cancer Seminar Topics Include:
• An overview of research studies to date, including a discussion of underrepresented groups and
• Modifiable Risk Factors and Healthy Lifestyle
• Exposure Reduction and Implementation Strategies
• Support After the Cancer Diagnosis
2021 FIRE DISTRICT ELECTION SCHEDULE
OPEN THE ATTACHED FIRE DISTRICT ELECTION SCHEDULE HERE:
PROPOSED OSHA 1910.156 FIRE BRIGADE STANDARD – YOU ARE NOT GOING TO LIKE THIS!!
OSHA has proposed a revision to 1910.156 Fire Brigade Standard Attached) that would have significant impacts on how we do business as NYS Fire Districts. This is not a new initiative (been around since at least 2016) but it recently came off the sidelines and is trucking full speed ahead. We encourage you to read this proposed document and send comments that can be shared with the committee next Tuesday (10/19/21). They have invited several Fire Officials across the country to take part in 9 hours of hearings next week. Dave Denniston is currently at the NVFC board meeting and they have three representatives here that are preparing the same comments. We need solid data on how this would effect your fire district. Looking for data on additional costs, strain on manpower and other facts that can be presented at the hearings on behalf of NYS Fire Districts. This committee has only 60 days to present the findings and is moving quickly.
Please send Dave Denniston at (firstname.lastname@example.org) any solid concerns and data that hecan present. Comments like “this is crazy”, “it will never happen”, “it would destroy the fire service” will not hold any water with the committee. NVFC is trying to present that this could have a “significant impact” on smaller rural fire departments. It will obviously have significant impacts on any size department, but our chance to be heard here is under this “Small Entity Organization” The SBA is the group responsible to research and present written findings in less than 60 days now.
There may be other opportunities to be heard, you will be kept posted on when and where they may happen. Thanks for the quick turnaround on this.
DRAFT OF THE PROPOSED OSHA FIRE BRIGADE STANDARD
QUICK SYNOPSIS OF WHAT THE STANDARD COVERS
SMALL BUSINESS ADVOCACY REVIEW PANEL – SMALL ENTITY REPRESENTATIVES
September 2021 Update to the Lavender Report – Preventing Firefighter Cancer!
Download the update to the Lavender Report, best practices for preventing firefighter cancer.
ANNOUNCING OPEN REGISTRATION FOR THE 2021 FALL WORKSHOP
Workshop Agenda: 2021 Fall Workshop Schedule
Registration Form: 2021 Fall Workshop Registration & Schedule (Generic)
This year’s workshop will be held at the Verdoy Fire Department in Latham, NY, on Saturday November 13th
7:00-8:00 Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:00-8:10 Pledge to the Flag & Welcome: Capital Area Association Officers
8:10-9:15 Presentation Topic: Leadership Challenges – Working Together for The Common Good
Presenter: David Denniston, ESIP
Description: The Commissioners and Fire Department Officers both have a responsibility to run the organization. Sometimes the goals of each group can cause conflict with the other. In this session we will explore the roles and responsibilities of Commissioners, Chiefs and Business Officers and how they can both conflict and complement each other. We will also discuss common breakdowns in leadership and the harm it can cause an organization. By working together as leaders, we can look out for the best interests of our community and membership.
9:15-9:30 Networking Break
9:30-10:15 Presentation Topic: NYS Volunteer Firefighter Cancer Benefit Program Update
Presenter: Tim Graves, OFPC
Description: Hear an update on changes to the statutory presumptive Cancer benefits, and an update on the coverage provided by Hartford.
10:30-12:00 Ask the Attorneys Panel – Do you have Questions, Concerns, Policies, Procedure, Ideas or Plans that require some legal guidance? Now is your chance! Attorneys Panel: JOHN CLARK, Esq., TERENCE S. HANNIGAN, Esq., TIMOTHY C. HANNIGAN Hannigan, Esq., and WILLIAM N. YOUNG, JR. Esq. will be available to take questions from our attendees.
12:00-1:00 Lunch and Networking, sponsored by Penflex Actuarial Services: mcneilandcompany.com/penflex/
Everyone is Invited to Attend
Not limited to Commissioners
Please Reserve your Seat Now – AFDCA Members $10.00, Non-Members, $20
Price includes all seminars, training materials, meals
Got Stuff Taking Up Space In The Fire Station – Got Surplus?
Have you got stuff just laying around taking up space that someone else less fortunate might need, then use the Cooperative Project forms?
It is no secret that there is a huge disparity in fire district budgets across New York state. Budgets range from $30,000 per year to several million dollars. Those districts in more populated areas with businesses have a much larger tax base to fund firefighting efforts while rural districts are somewhat at a disadvantage due to lower property values, lower average income, and fewer businesses to support their tax base.
Born out of discussions between Commissioners of small rural and larger urban districts at the recent AFDSNY Annual Meeting and Conference at Turning Stone is the Capital Area Cooperative Project. The Capital Area Cooperative Project seeks to build partnerships between fire districts to help provide equipment and tools donated from larger fire departments to smaller and rural fire departments within the Capital District and beyond. These better funded districts are able to replace gear more often and many times excessed gear ends up leaving the state. One Commissioner stated that he would rather have the gear stay in New York and help struggling districts than to ship it out of state or even out of the country. These underfunded fire departments can receive donated tools and equipment to ensure they can perform their duty to save lives and protect property as safely and as efficiently as possible. If you are interested in donating tools or equipment or requesting a donation, please fill out the forms in the links provided and a representative from the Capital Area Association of Fire Districts will contact you.
For Districts desiring TO GET RID OF EQUIPMENT, fill out the form at:
For Districts LOOKING FOR EQUIPMENT fill out the form at:
WANT TO SEE WHAT IS NEEDED OR BEING OFFERED GO HERE:
You will need a google account or establish one!
All donations made will go directly toward the mission of helping small and rural fire departments in need. Equipment and tools that are not NFPA compliant may be donated to the International Fire Relief Mission to assist international fire departments with equipment needs.
Announcement of the Passing of Former Capital Area President, Norm Petricca
- Sadly I have been informed that the Capital Area Association has lost an ardent supporter, good friend, fire service legend, Past President and Chairman of the Board of the Glenville #7 Fire District, Norm Petricca. Rest in Peace Norm, we’ve got it from here, say hello to Charlene.
Fire District Budget Process Calendar for the 2022 Budget Year+Tax Cap and Tax Base Growth Link
The Tax Cap for 2022 will be 2%
Link to the Tax Base Growth Factors for Special Districts: https://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/publications/orpts/tbgf/2022-tbgf-specialdist-7-29-21.pdf
FIRE DISTRICT BUDGET PROCESS CALENDAR FOR 2021 FOR THE 2022 BUDGET YEAR
On or Before September 28th, 2021
- Adopt proposed budget for 2022, including fund balance estimate for 2021 (Town Law [“TL”] §181).
- File budget with fire district secretary (TL§181).
- Post budget on fire district’s website (if district maintains a website) (TL§181).
- Provide copy of proposed budget for 2022, including fund balance estimate for 2021 to town
- clerk of towns in which district is located. (no statutory reference, but best practice)
September 29th to October 4th
- Post notice of budget hearing on fire district website and signboard (if district maintains a
- Provide copy of notice of budget hearing to town clerk of towns in which district is located. (Each town
clerk must post the notice on their town’s website (and on clerk’s bulletin board and town
- Provide copy of notice of budget hearing to town clerk of towns and secretaries of fire districts with
which district contracts. (Each town clerk and fire district secretary receiving notice must post it on the
town or district website; town clerks must also post the notice on clerk’s bulletin board and town
On or Before October 14th
- Publish notice of budget hearing in official newspaper or, if not official newspaper, in newspaper having
general circulation in district, and publicly post notice (TL§181[a]).
Remember That You Have Already
- Posted the notice on fire district’s website (if district maintains a website)(TL§181[a]).
- Provided a copy of proposed budget for public inspection to town clerk of towns in which district is
located [see September 29th tasks stated above] (TL§181[a]).
- Provided a copy of published notice to town clerk of towns in which district is located (Each town clerk
must post the notice on the town’s website and on the town signboard) (TL§181[a]).
Treasurer Performs Following Task on Comptroller’s Website:
After adopting proposed budget complete tax cap levy form for New York Comptroller’s Office
and “save” but do not submit. Determine if proposed budget will exceed tax cap (GML§ 3-c(3))
On the 3rd Week in October (has been changed to any day of the week) BUT: I would not recommend holding it on a Friday night!!
- Hold Budget Hearing (TL§181[a]).
On or Before November 4th
Before passing any resolutions necessary to override the tax cap levy and adopting the Fire District
Annual Budget “submit” the Fire District budget/ tax cap form to the New York State Comptroller’s
Office on the form prescribed by them. (GML3-c(7))
- Adopt fire district annual budget (TL§181[b])..
On or before November 7th
- Fire district secretary delivers two (2) certified copies of fire district annual budget to town clerk of
towns in which district is located (TL§181[c]) and obtains receipt.
Compensation May Increase for Chair’s, Election Inspectors and Fire District Ballot Clerks
On August 2, 2021 Governor Cuomo signed A6296 (Griffin)/ S4064 (Gaughran) into law as Chapter 347 of the Laws of 2021. This amendment of Town Law §175 increases the compensation permitted for fire district election board members. It increases the maximum pay for the chairmen, election inspectors and ballot clerks for fire district elections from $35 for a three-hour election and $50 for a longer election to a sum not to exceed $70 for a three-hour election and $100 for a longer election. This amendment to Section 175 of Town Law shall take affect upon signing.
- The question was asked if this includes the workers who may come into the station to prepare the election rolls or to become familiar with the electronic voting machines and the answer is the law is silent on this matter and those workers could be compensated separately by a resolution of the Board.
Soliciting Competition for Professional Services
Soliciting Competition for Professional Services
Tom Rinaldi, President AFD-CA
This article is being provided as an educational service for the fire districts represented by the Association of Fire Districts of the Capital Area.
Through the first seven months of 2021, the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) has issued 21 reports on audits they have performed on fire districts. The majority of them address the lack of oversight the board of fire commissioners has over financial activities (and the treasurer). However. two recent reports addressed the procurement of professional services and the perceived lack of competition sought in securing those professional services. The most recent was released in July, 2021. The OSC further addressed professional services procurement for all local governments in a report issued in July 2018. The Office of General Services also maintains a website specifically dedicated to procurement for municipalities. Links to these reports and resources are below.
We believe competition is good for the consumer and/or the taxpayers of a fire district. There are few options, it opens opportunities for vendors to seek their own interest and not that of the consumer. Without competition, there tends to be less innovation, higher prices, and a lack of customer service. On the other hand, competition keeps potential vendors sharp – they tend to pay more attention to the needs of fire districts and create products and services that will meet their needs at reasonable prices.
Generally, a fire district is not statutorily required to seek competition or use a request for proposal (RFP) process when seeking professional services. One exception is when hiring a certified public accountant to audit the fire district’s financial statements. Rather, a fire district is bound by its own adopted procurement policy, which each fire district should have based on their circumstances. The reports released by the State do not state that a fire district requires the use of an RFP process, but they do make it clear that a fire district should go through the process of seeking competition before awarding a professional service contract.
From our viewpoint, the challenge with using an RFP process when soliciting a professional service is that an RFP is generally about meeting a certain specification – can the proposer meet all the stated requirements (specifications) of the request. There is no opportunity for intangibles of value such as experience, diligence or dedication that are difficult to define in an RFP. There are several inherent problems with using RFPs for professional services:
- Most times, the fire district doesn’t actually know what it wants (doesn’t know what it doesn’t know) and so the RFP is incomplete and/or inaccurate and may eliminate qualified vendors for unnecessary reasons.
- RFPs usually result in longer detailed contracts and if the fire district is unhappy, it is hard to make changes until the term of the contract expires, which could be as long as 5 years.
- Conversely, if the contract awarded through an RFP process is too short or vague, vendors may not bid as the effort isn’t worth it, and may result in unhappy customers as costs increase when customers realize what is really needed, adding more time and cost.
- Myriad of other reasons likely stemming from fire districts that are unable to define their specific needs.
When you as an individual make a purchase, you rarely make the purchase purely on specifications. In reality, most people buy a story. A story that typically makes them feel good about their purchase, in addition to the product meeting a certain specification. Apple is great at selling a story in order to get consumers to pay more for a phone that doesn’t offer significantly better benefits than other phones (or, the benefit it does offer are not that valuable to the consumer to justify the additional cost). In professional services, relationship, chemistry, loyalty and overall “fit” are very important in the decision-making process. However, when those factors are prioritized, it could lead to a fire district paying more or perhaps not getting all the services they could receive from a competing vendor. In other words, the story a fire district might tell itself about working with a certain professional (such as how long they’ve been a client or the good things that vendor might do for the fire service) may be preventing that fire district from getting a better experience elsewhere. Soliciting competition at least gives a fire district the opportunity to see if “your guy” is offering the best service at a reasonable (not always best) price. While OSC may be looking for an RFP, what they are really looking for is the process, are you going through the process of determining if your fire district is getting the most bang for its buck, not because you like the company logo.
As a fire district commissioner, you should be looking closely at each of the vendors and the fees that they charge for the services they provide. We can also learn from the guidance issued by OSC in their audit reports. Fire districts should seek out vendors who want to partner with them and not lock in long term obligations so they can drive up billable hours. Keeping professional services providers hungry and honest will discourage bad behavior. A fire district should delineate clear expectations in writing, so a determination can be made at the end of each year if all services were provided and if they were performed adequately.
Professional Service Procurement: Considerations for Local Officials
Local Government Management Guide – Seeking Competition in Procurement
Procurement for Municipalities
Contact the NYS OSC Division of Local Government and School Accountability,
518-408-4934 or at email@example.com
Best of Luck to Jill Wiseman
Just when you think all is right with the world and things are falling into place you get derailed. I don’t remember exactly when but a gracious lady was introduced to us by Mike Podolec fa commissioner from West Glenville Fire District. Jill Wiseman was a commissioner, a firefighter and was willing to join the group and make contributions. What a find I thought; was it to good to be true and yes it was. While Jill was part of the group she spoke up, made valuable contributions and was obviously going to be a rising star. Jill made the commitment to be an officer and was elected to the office of 2nd and subsequently 1st Vice President. Recently Jill’s husband had landed a technology position in NYC and of course during the pandemic was able to work from home, something a lot of us have learned how to do. Then Jill’s mom was alone out in Oklahoma (Oklahoma?), which is not over the river or through the woods, and her and her husband decided to move to OK to take care of Jill’s mom. I admire the fact that they were able to escape from the land of high taxes and questionable politicians, but the Capital Area has lost a valuable contributor who I think had a great future and I’m sure is also a loss to West Glenville Fire District. We wish Jill and her family all the best and it was a pleasure to have her in our lives while she was here. We will miss her and all the contributions that she made to not only our organization but to all of the fire districts that belong to the Capital Area. Safe travels and all the best in the future, we will miss you don’t forget your friends back here in New York.