San Jose Firefighters in Breach of Contract: Supervisor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Another Santa Clara County supervisor is calling for more accountability from the San Jose Fire Department. Kris Sanchez reports. (Published Monday, Feb 3, 2014)

    Another Santa Clara County supervisor is calling for more accountability from the San Jose Fire Department.

    The department is currently in breach of its contract for failing to respond to Code 3 calls -- so-called "lights and sirens" calls -- within eight minutes 90 percent of the time. SJFD has missed its target times for more than a year.

    San Jose Fire Department's Response Times Under Scrutiny

    [BAY] San Jose Fire Department's Response Times Under Scrutiny
    Show up faster or we'll cut your funding. That's the stern message the Santa Clara County supervisors are giving to the San Jose Fire Department, which has failed to meet response-time expectations. Kris Sanchez reports. (Published Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014)

    "EMS response time was dropping like a rock," said Dave Cortese, Santa Clara County supervisor. "We need to hold them accountable, our contract says we can hold them responsible and I think our public expects us to hold them accountable."

    Cortese joins Supervisor Joe Simitian in calling for answers and change. But they differ in how to make that change happen.

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    The search for the San Jose serial arsonist is rekindling worries about staffing levels in the fire department. Damian Trujillo reports. (Published Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014)

    MORE: San Jose Fire Department's Response Times Under Scrutiny

    Simitian proposes holding hundreds of thousands of dollars in incentive pay until the firefighters turn things around. Cortese, however, said withholding the $800,000 would make things worse.

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    The San Jose Fire Department Saturday is urging people to be on high alert following a string of fires in the downtown area, including one early this morning. Investigators believe most of the fires were deliberately set. NBC Bay Area's Kimberly Tere reports from the scene of the most-recent fire. (Published Saturday, Jan 11, 2014)

    "What I'm proposing is that we release the money that would go to them right now but only under the condition that they submit to a 30-day remedial plan and that for the next five months they meet the 90-percent response time that they're supposed to," Cortese said.

    San Jose Fire Department Cleo Doss said any cut in funding will cut tot he bone. As it stands, the department can't make the 90-percent target with its existing staffing, he said.

    The national standard calls for two firefighters per thousand residents. San Jose is not close with a 0.3 average per thousand residents.

    "At our height we were looking at about 200 to 205 folks on duty per shift," Doss said. "Now we're about 176 on duty per shift, so it makes it very difficult to keep up because the calls are not going to go away."