News

Capital Area By-Laws as of November 9, 2017

September 21st, 2017

Latest By-Laws of the Capital Area Association of Fire Districts

 

AFDCA-By-Laws 9-5-17

A Call for Legislative Proposals by the State Association

September 18th, 2017

We are asking all fire districts in the State to present their legislative ideas that the AFDSNY will review and discuss at the upcoming Law and Legislative Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday October 11th at 3:00PM at the Saratoga Hilton as part of the fall Leadership Conference program.  All proposals should consider the following:

  1.  A written description of the proposal.
  2. Is the proposal a new issue or one modifying an existing law or regulation? If so, please cite the statue or law (that is always helpful when researching issues).
  3. If known, what type and how big of impact will this have on the fire service or population in general? (e.g. monetary, administrative, etc.)  Remember, state budget items are normally handled through the budget process and not always in the legislative process.
  4. While individual fire district proposals impacting a single fire district (a home rule bill) may not rise to the level of having full support of the AFDSNY Legislative Committee, it is still important for the committee to know in order to advance support, if needed.
  5. Any other background information or facts that will assist the committee in evaluating the proposals.
  6. Please have them emailed to me no later than Wednesday October 4 in order for copies to be made for the committee meeting.

All the issues and proposals that the committee approves for the new legislative session will be discussed for inclusion for the 2018 Issues of United Concern when that committee meets on December 2 in Albany.  Contact Law and Legislative Chairman John Wicka at jwicka@afdsny.org with your suggestions.

Marchione Sponsored Bill Signed into Law

September 18th, 2017

Bill S05785 Cathy Marchione has been signed by the Governor

This will affect all fire protection districts!

Fire districts, villages, and towns on behalf of fire protection districts are authorized to enter into fire protection contracts with, among other entities, certain incorporated fire companies. The Town Law and the Village Law require that the fire protection contract specify a “definite sum” to be paid each year for all fire protection services to be rendered under the contract. The “definite sum” consideration under the contract is established through a negotiation process between the parties to the contract. In most cases, it is believed that there is a free exchange of information during the negotiation process as to the cost of providing fire protection. However, over the years, the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) has received a number of inquiries from local governments which have had difficulty in eliciting cost information from the fire company. In those situations, OSC has made several recommendations, such as including provisions in the contract to allow the local government access to fire company records pertaining to the cost of fire protection, making access to such information a condition of approving fire company fund raising activities pursuant to Section 204-a of the General Municipal Law, an d obtaining copies of various financial filings of the fire company.

Rather than remediating the problem on a case by case basis, this bill would provide for a standard statutory process to ensure that the necessary cost information is provided at the outset of the negotiations. The submission of an itemized statement of estimated costs will help promote a more transparent negotiation process that can better result in the parties to the contract reaching a fair and equitable price for fire protection services. This is especially appropriate since both the local government and the fire company are discharging a function for the benefit of the public in providing for fire protection. A waiver provision is included for situations when, for good cause shown, a board of fire commissioners, town board, or village board of trustees determines to waive the filing requirement, in whole or in part. Such waiver may be accomplished by resolution of the governing board.

Fall Seminar Scheduled for November

September 3rd, 2017

Attached is the flyer and registration form for the fall seminar being held on Saturday November 11th.

OPEN HERE:

AFD-CA Fall 2017 Workshop Flyer

7:30-8:00              Registration & Continental Breakfast

  8:00-8:10             Pledge to the Flag & Welcome:  Capital Area Association Officers

 8:10-9:15             Managing Human Resource Issues in the Fire Service: MICHAEL DALLESSANDRO, Fire Department Consultant (Volunteer & Combination) and current President and Life Member of the Grand Island, NY Volunteer Fire Company

 9:15-10:15          The Public Information Officer’s (PIO) Role in the Fire District:  ARTHUR HUNSINGER, Chief of the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Fire Department and Television Producer & Director  

                   

10:15-10:30        Networking Break                        

 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.

 

 

 

Four things a District Must do in a Public Relations Crisis

September 3rd, 2017

Four things a Fire District/Fire Department must do in a Public Relations Crisis

 

Fire Districts/Departments get themselves into trouble all the time and the public backlash can be especially fierce under the harsh glare of social media.   While every crisis is different, there are certain important steps that they should take to avoid turning a crisis into a total disaster.  All press releases should be developed by the authority having jurisdiction whether that is the Board of Fire Commissioners, Board of Directors or the Administrative Officers.  There should be one message from one source by one spokesperson/PIO.  The person delivering the message should be involved in developing the press releases and, should be confident and articulate.  If the district or department does not have such a person, look to the outside for a credible person who has such qualities.

 

  1. Acknowledge and Apologize

Acknowledging the problem and issuing a swift apology is critical. The apology should be immediate and unconditional; that’s an important signal of the character of the organization.  Make a statement quickly, have all stakeholders agree to the statement and be sure it does not come across as half hearted, it should be sincere.

 

  1. Identify the root cause of the crisis

Districts/departments should immediately work to understand the factors that caused a crisis. In an ideal scenario, the organization would commit to making the findings public.  Transparency and a desire to be open and honest about the cause of the crisis is key to restoring trust with the public.  It can also help protect against future crises.

 

  1. Make the necessary changes

Once the diagnosis of the root cause is clear, organizations need to act — and be seen to act — to make the changes that will prevent similar problems in the future.  Make the changes public, not just an internal document, release it to the media.  This is what went wrong, this is what we are doing to fix it and we’ll continue to monitor it.   Only a full-scale intervention will be seen to be credible and authentic to the public.

 

  1. Ongoing evaluation of crisis response

Districts/departments need to understand that rebuilding trust with the public takes time.  They should continue to evaluate their actions to ensure they are fully addressing the causes of the crisis.  They also need to be transparent in their work and investigations, don’t keep it to yourself.

 

Budget Calendar for 2017

September 3rd, 2017

Budget Process Calendar for 2017

 On or before September 26th 2017

Required Action Adopt proposed budget for 2018, including fund balance estimate for 2017 (Town Law [“TL”] §181[2]).

File budget with fire district secretary (TL§181[3]).

Post budget on fire district’s website (if district maintains as website) (TL§181[3]).

Provide copy of proposed budget for 2018, including fund balance estimate for 2017 to town clerk of towns in which district is located. (no statutory reference, but best practice)

 September 27th ; October 2nd  2017

Required Action Post notice of budget hearing on fire district website and signboard (if district maintains a website/signboard) (TL§175-c[1]).

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 signboard)(TL§175-c[2]).

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 signboard) (TL§175c-[2]).

Annual Date On or before 5 days prior to budget hearing

On or before October 12th 2017

Required Action 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[3][a]).

Post published notice on fire district’s website (if district maintains a website)(TL§181[3][a]).

Provide copy of proposed budget for public inspection to town clerk of towns in which district is located [see September 27th tasks stated above] (TL§181[3][a]).

Provide 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[3][a]).

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 Tuesday October 17th 2017

Required Action Hold budget hearing (TL§181[3][a]). Required Action Hold budget hearing (TL§181[3][a]).

October 17st ; November 3rd  2017

Required Action Subject to certain restrictions, make changes, alternations and revisions to proposed budget (TL§181[3][b]).

Before adopting Fire District Annual Budget determine if the tax levy will exceed tax levy cap and if so the Fire District must pass a resolution by a 60% vote of its board to override the tax cap (GML§ 3-c(5))

 On or before November 4th 2017

Required Action Before adopting Fire District Annual Budget and after passing any resolutions necessary to override the tax cap levy “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[3][b]).

 On or before November 7th 2017

Required Action 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[3][c]) and obtains receipt.

Tax Cap Filing Tax Growth Factors

August 18th, 2017

This year’s tax cap figure is 1.84% and the Special District growth factors which you need to file your tax cap information is listed by county at this OSC web site:

https://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/publications/orpts/tbgf/2018%20-special%20districts%208-7-17.pdf

 

FAQ’s On the Cancer Bill Awaiting Signature

August 9th, 2017

FAQs on the Cancer Bill awaiting the Governor’s Signature!!

A bill that would provide financial assistance for volunteer firefighters who develop certain kinds of cancer awaits Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signatures.

Q: Who qualifies?

A: Interior firefighters only

Q: What is the minimum length of service to qualify?

A: Five years as interior firefighter

Q: Are yearly mask-fit tests required?

A: Yes, at least five of them

Q: Is a physical required?

A: Yes, from entry into service and with no evidence of cancer at that time

Q: Is a diagnosis of cancer required to get the benefits?

A: Yes, diagnosis must be made after law goes into effect

Q: What cancers are covered?

A: Prostate, breast, lymphatic, hematological, digestive, urinary, neurological, reproductive and melanoma

Q: What does “presumptive” mean in this situation?

A: These cancers are automatically believed to be caused by exposure during firefighting

Q: Can firefighters collect for more than one diagnosis of these cancers?

A: Yes

Q: Where does the money come from?

A: The money comes from an insurance policy covering each and every interior firefighter

Q: Who pays for this?

A: The firefighter’s fire district, company or department or whoever currently pays for the VFBL coverage.

Q: How much can a firefighter receive?

A: There is a lifetime cap of $50,000.

Q: Is there a lump sum payment per diagnosis?

A: Yes, either $6,250 or $25,000, depending on the severity of the disease

Q: Is there a monthly payment upon total disability?

A: Yes, $1,500 a month for up to 36 months

Q: Is there any payment to beneficiaries of the firefighter if he or she dies?

A: Yes, $50,000

Q: Once signed into law, is there a deadline for start of coverage?

A: Yes, Jan. 1, 2019

Sources: Senate bill S1411B, Assembly bill A711B

Tell The Governor You Would Like This Bill Passed

July 27th, 2017

The Cancer Bill Has Passed the Legislature – Tell the Governor He Needs to Sign It  – Do it right now!!

Cancer coverage for volunteer firefighters has passed both Houses of the Legislature and is waiting to go to Governor Andrew Cuomo for final action. We need every volunteer firefighter, and their family members, in New York to call AND email Governor Cuomo. Follow the links below!

Click here to send an email:  Take Action 

Click here to make a call:  Take Action 

DECON Yourself At the Scene of a Fire

June 20th, 2017

Properly Deconing Yourself at the Scene of a Fire

 

  1. Remove Wipes from packet and fully open to take advantage of the whole wipe. If both sides of the wipe become soiled during the process, use additional wipes as needed
  2. Start with your eyelids and external corners around your eyes. Action Wipes contain no alcohol or harmful chemicals to further irritate or harm your skin
  3. Clean your hands, lips and surrounding skin BEFORE hydrating. If you are thirsty and cannot wait to hydrate, be sure to clean your hands off before grabbing a beverage
  4. Your nose has a lot of blood vessels close to the skin that easily absorb contaminants. Clean inside and around the folds of your nose
  5. Be sure to get inside and around the back of your ears
  6. Get all around your neck and make sure you get all sides as well as under your shirt collar
  7. Wipe down your hair
  8. Use a clean side of the wipe to thoroughly clean your arms. Be sure to mop up the soot and debris and not just spread it around
  9. Clean your hands and be sure to get in-between your fingers and underneath any rings or bracelets
  10. Get as much of the debris out of your fingernails
  11. Underarms and groin are dense with hair follicles and very important to clean, since they can capture and hold debris
  12. Be sure to wipe down below your belt and into your groin to remove as much debris and contaminants as possible.
  13. Don’t forget to blow your nose and TAKE A SHOWER at your earliest opportunity

 

Do not forget, these can also be used to DECON Equipment before it is washed or that cannot be washed  {ie. helmet, ear-flaps, SCBA, Portable Radio etc.}

Considering a Municipal Lease Agreement – Read This First

June 10th, 2017

A municipal lease can be much more complicated than you might imagine, read this before you decide to make a move.

MUNICIPAL LEASE OR INSTALLMENT PURCHASE CONTRACT

July 28th Updated Scorecard, Two Bills Have Been Signed

June 8th, 2017

The legislative season is over for this year, as we wait for the Governor’s Pen, here is where we stand –2017 Bills Scorecard 28July2017