International Association of Firefighters

July 26, 2012 17:39 ET

Calgary Fire Chief Censure Unanimous: International Association of Firefighters

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - July 26, 2012) - Yesterday, delegates of the International Association of Firefighters unanimously confirmed a censure of the Chief of the Calgary Fire Department.

The censure was brought forward by Calgary firefighters as a response to fire management's decisions and practices that are creating higher risk factors for firefighters and Calgarians.

"Firefighters in Calgary are working in an environment that is not 100% committed to safety," says Calgary firefighter Mark Faires. "Our priority as firefighters is the safety of our members and the safety of the public. With the unanimous approval of this censure, our international colleagues have added their condemnation of fire management's decisions and practices in Calgary that are affecting everyone's safety. For years we have tried to work with Fire Chief Bruce Burrell, but, our efforts have failed. This censure is intended to strengthen our message that we want to work with the City of Calgary leadership to solve these important issues."

Calgary firefighters are primarily concerned by the lack of commitment to internationally accepted response time standards and the size of the teams that should be responding to emergency incidents. They are also concerned with the way tax payer dollars are being budgeted because it is lessening the availability of front line services to Calgarians and increasing the risk to firefighters.

The International Association of Firefighters delegates represent over 300,000 professional firefighters. This censure is only the third censure of a fire chief in Canadian history.

Background Attached: Censure motion as passed by the International Association of Firefighters.

Re: Censure of Bruce Burrell, Chief of Calgary Fire Department, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
the Corporation of the City of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, hired Bruce Burrell as its Fire Chief on August 2, 2005; and
WHEREAS, during Chief Burrell's tenure, the Calgary Fire Fighters Association has unnecessarily been forced to engage in countless and constant battles with the Calgary Fire Department to protect the interests of its members; and
WHEREAS, under Fire Chief Burrell's administration, the Calgary Fire Department has taken actions that are adverse and contrary to the collective bargaining agreement, working conditions and legitimate interests of Local 255 members; and
WHEREAS, since Chief Burrell's appointment, Local255 has been forced to file numerous grievances, a disproportionate number of which have resulted in arbitration at an enormous financial cost to Local 255 members; and
WHEREAS, while the Calgary Fire Department continues to fall well below acceptable staffing and deployment standards and has been placed on probation by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), Chief Burrell continues to vigorously advocate for and protect administrative and management resources at the expense of front line response capability; and
WHEREAS, in an effort to improve the vastly deteriorated labor/management relationship, Local 255 has made several requests to involve third parties including the IAFCIIAFF Labor Management Initiative (LMI) Technical Assistance Program and independent mediators, but Chief Burrell has failed to respond to Local255's requests; and
WHEREAS, the morale of Local255 members has been severely and negatively impacted as a direct result of the management methods and decisions made under Chief Burrell's administration; and
WHEREAS, as a result of the severe deterioration in morale, officers and senior experienced fire fighters and apparatus maintenance personnel are seeking counseling for workplace stress some of whom have been advised by their physicians to resign or retire from service even on significantly reduced pensions in order to preserve their health; therefore be it
that the International Association of Fire Fighters formally censure Fire Chief Bruce Burrell; and be it further
that the International Association of Fire Fighters notify the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and the Alberta Fire Chiefs Association of the censure action taken by the IAFF against Fire Chief Bruce Burrell.
Submitted by Local 255, Calgary, Alberta
Cost Estimate: None

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