Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 25, 2012

But all I can do is Tri Data

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Public Resources — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

At the last City Council meeting, City Manager John Russo promised that he would have on the website all of the reports that were done by various consultants about Fire Department services.   True to his word, the files are up including one that had been missing because it was not accepted by the City when it was commissioned.

As I mentioned before there was this elusive Tri Data contract that was signed by Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant in March 2010.   This contract was executed after the Fire Department Union got all up in arms when former Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant decided that she wanted to piggyback on the Alameda County EMS RFP for ambulance services in July 2009.   The Tri Data contract was specifically requested to study EMS services:

• GIS analysis and mapping of the City of Alameda EMS response
• Analysis of CAD data to include standard response time analysis, UH/U, and risk/demand
• EMS delivery models and costs for delivering these models
• Personnel needed to implement models
• A recommendation for model selection
• BLS transfer business model with ability to back-up 911 service
• Civilian/sworn combined models and costs.

Probably with the end goal of outsourcing ambulance services to the County or a private provider.

Even though it appears that the Tri Data draft was submitted in June 2010, it was never accepted by the Interim City Manager nor ever presented to the City Council even though the City paid $40,000 for the study to be done.  Even though between the time that the Tri Data draft was presented and the November election occurred the Interim City Manager had a major issue regarding EMS services come before the City Council where this report would have come in handy during the deliberation process, the Tri Data contract never saw the light of day until well after she left.

Unfortunately for our former Interim City Manager and for Tri Data, the conclusion that Tri Data reached was not the one that the Interim City Manager was looking for and so the draft report was placed on a shelf or in the “drafts” folder which used to be forbidden territory for the public.

So here are some bits and pieces from the Tri Data report:

Both AMR and Paramedics Plus have informed the City of Alameda that they do not want to take over EMS transportation from the City of Alameda Fire Department. This position is not surprising because serving certain areas ofthe City would negatively affect meeting response time obligations. The County provider would be required to staff a fulltime ambulance in Station 4’s community, which is not financially beneficial to them. There are also political issues that may make the private providers reluctant to attempt a takeover of public EMS. (p. 12)

Oh, and here’s an interesting tidbit that I didn’t know, since when Ann Marie Gallant took over as Interim City Manager she said that she was going to start the process of searching for a permanent City Manager immediately:

The city manager serves at the pleasure of the City Council, with the position currently occupied on an interim basis by the city finance director. There are no plans to officially fill the position until after the November 2010 election. (p.15)

Anyway as to service levels:

The current deployment results in 4-minute travel time gaps in at the edges of the jurisdiction, which include Alameda Point (former Naval Air Station Alameda). If this area is turned into civilian development, it will be important to look at adding another station to ensure adequate coverage of this area. (p.27)

Overall, the AFD provides good protection to Alameda residents; however, some over 10 percent exceed the recommended 90th percentile goals. Methods to reduce the dispatch and turnout times should be evaluated and implemented. This will help offset high travel times that are affected by a number of external factors, such as traffic, calming devices and residential speed limits.

Using ALS engines is helping to reduce total response time for the first arriving unit on EMS calls. However, if the plan to develop Alameda Point continues…AFD and City leadership should look at re-opening Station 5 on the west side and staffing a medic unit to assist with increased call demand. This will help reduce wait times for a transport unit on that side of town and reduce the overall call per unit on medic. (p.31)

One reason why it would have been good for the City Council to have had access to this report that was paid for was that this particular consultant felt as though it would not have been beneficial for the City to get into the patient transport business because the risks would outweigh the benefits (p.50)

The report eventually concluded that:

Our primary tasks were to recommend who should provide EMS within the City of Alameda, and what financial considerations could be considered to reduce costs. The City’s choices are minimal, due to finances, political conditions, and the changing EMS environment within Alameda County. At this time, we recommend that the City continue with its current model of providing full-service EMS. (p. 56)

They also noted, even though the Fire fighting portion of the Fire Department was not in their scope:

An evaluation of fire suppression services was beyond the scope of the study. While EMS costs are difficult to reduce, there is often room to manipulate fire suppression services. The City recently closed Station 5, reducing their armament by one engine and one medic unit. Our initial impression is that there is not much to cut, but only a formal study could provide a true picture. (p.57)

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10 Comments

  1. “Using ALS engines is helping to reduce total response time for the first arriving unit on EMS calls. However, if the plan to develop Alameda Point continues…AFD and City leadership should look at re-opening Station 5 on the west side and staffing a medic unit to assist with increased call demand. This will help reduce wait times for a transport unit on that side of town and reduce the overall call per unit on medic. (p.31)”

    Lauren- Very informative write up. In the paragraph above you use the term ALS Engine. I wanted to define what that stands for. ALS Engine means that the Engine or Truck company has a Paramedic on it. It’s the standard throughout the county and helps meet the requirement that we have two paramedics on scene in a certain time frame or the city will get fined.

    Also we receive $ 40,000 per ALS company per year from the county. This money is passed through the county by the private ambulance provider so they can staff their ambulances with one Paramedic and one EMT (Emergency Medic Tech). An EMT can perform basic life support versus a Paramedic that can perform Advance Life Support. Using this model to staff their ambulances helps reduce the private providers costs.

    Comment by Jeff DelBono Alameda Firefighters Association — July 25, 2012 @ 6:41 am

  2. $50,000 for a report that wasn’t just shelved, out was refused (so as not to be a “draft” and therefore a public document).

    Yet another example of the positive direction that this current council has taken the city in. These shenanigans have stopped.

    Comment by jkw — July 25, 2012 @ 8:00 am

  3. I think this report was much more enlightening.

    http://laurendo.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/24-years-ago/#comments

    We had a 5 Million budget by Fire in 1987 and it is now 23 Million.

    Inflation adjusted from 1987 to 2012 the Fire Budget should be 10,115,096.

    So were paying about double …inflation adjusted…..Probably around what the Federal Firefighters pay schedule is.

    $10,115,096.83

    Looks like we overpaid about 100 Million over past 10 years in the Fire Dept.

    Add in the 50 Million we still owe that is not in Budget to these same employees and past employees. The Real Costs are much larger but are not in Budget.

    But we focus on a old 50,000.00 report. I guess that’s one way to look at situation. I guess that’s the TRI Using Blindfold method.

    Comment by John — July 25, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

  4. What about the $80 million cable debacle.

    Comment by Pat Berton — July 25, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  5. What’s “old” about a 2010 report? The ICMA report in the bin looked older.

    Comment by BarbaraK — July 25, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

  6. All reports aside.

    The real problem is:

    Union Firefighters of this fair cityl are paid too “D.M.” much salary and recieve excessive benefits.

    Expect to see layoffs at the behest of Russo of Firepersons unless the Local 689 can understand the economic reality of Alameda City finance.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom — July 26, 2012 @ 6:51 am

  7. The compensation of CEO in corporations like Chevron, BofA, Goldman Sachs, and even city management are higher than police or firefighters. I think it’s all about market conditions and trying to get the best and brightest to serve in public service, or we end up with Rodney King (RIP) incidents.

    Comment by BarbaraK — July 26, 2012 @ 9:44 am

  8. Dear BarbaraK:

    “CEOs in corporations like Chevron, BofA, Goldman Sachs, and even city management are higher than police or firefighters.” And look what great work they have done for our economy!!!!

    FYI our city is headed towards bankruptcy…thanks to the management by former City Managers!

    “I think it’s all about market conditions and trying to get the best and brightest to serve in public service.” Yes I do too…if we get out of arbitrated union settlements here in our great state of California….maybe market conditions can again prevail…and reverse the crazy system of continuous escalation of salary and benefits for Unions such as Local Firefighters 689.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom — July 26, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

  9. 1, 2: This shelved report–censorship of information that the Interim City Manager found personally disagreeable–should have been made public and given to the City Council when it was first submitted by Tri Data. To not submit reports like this to the City Council–regardless of their conclusions–is completely irresponsible. Seeing some of its conclusions now only reinforces the obvious–that the AFD is well managed and it serves us well under its current leadership.

    I wonder if those who strongly supported a county takeover in the past will pay as much attention to this shelved Tri Data report as they did to those that conveniently supported their anti-Alameda biases.

    The issue of pensions and salaries will be dealt with soon–the citizen task force’s report will be submitted to the City Council this fall and the City is already beginning to discuss new contracts with its public safety unions to reduce the city’s liabilities long-term. I am sure that John will not be happy with most of the solutions presented or adopted, but they will come, I am certain, long before the City of Alameda faces any risks like those he keeps hammering on….

    Comment by Jon Spangler — July 27, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  10. #9

    ” I am sure that John will not be happy with most of the solutions presented or adopted, but they will come, I am certain, long before the City of Alameda faces any risks like those he keeps hammering on….”

    Jon Spangler

    Your Car commercials are laughable.

    We keep hearing same story from the Same Car Dealership and same Salesmen from Slime City Buick. Or it it Sim City.

    If I want to buy a Car and the National Average price of that Car and model is 49,000 and with all the Extras its 68,000.

    I want to buy the same car with extras and support the Federal Government and their model and the Local Price from buying it from them is 60,000 and 78,000 with all the extras.

    Then there is the Alameda Jon Spangler Buick Model. We can Buy Exact same car and Pay 195K.

    They keep selling price has not gone up last 5 Years. BFD.

    Slime City Buick and all the Car Salesman say we can only look at other local dealerships pricing and can’t look at what the rest of the country is paying and what the Government is Charging. We can only look at the other 22 local Dealers that are going broke because of their pricing policies.

    What is not mentioned is we still owe 74 Million that we haven’t paid the salesman yet…..They still want us buying these cars at these rates. They gave us a Deal and let us use Magic Defer Dollars.

    Don’t worry about the other categories.

    Beginning in fiscal year 2010, this report includes two additional categories of liabilities.
    The first category is the City’s liability to make payments that have been earned by
    employees in prior periods, but do not yet require actual cash payment. The primary
    example of this category is the City’s $74 million and growing liability for OPEB costs.
    The second category is the setting aside of funds for future expected liabilities. This
    category includes maintenance that must be performed to maintain City assets, costs to
    replace City vehicles and equipment when they become unserviceable, and other
    liabilities and reserves.

    Comment by John — July 29, 2012 @ 2:59 pm


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