APD is no longer alone in having a staffing shortage that risks the lives of both its members and Albuquerque citizens. AFD is now so under funded that Chief Dave Downey has authorized AFD apparatus to be run short staffed. Trucks, which should be staffed by four firefighters, are now running with three crewmembers.
This is happening because AFD is understaffed and underfunded and this administration refuses to do anything about it.
During the worst economic times our country has known since the Great Depression, and in the city with the worst economy in the nation, the City of Albuquerque says it cannot hire firefighters! It appears there are unending funds to pay lawsuits but not enough money to staff AFD trucks.
The Albuquerque Fire Department’s entire training process and SOPs for fighting fires are built on running four man pumpers, not understaffed three-man units. The decision of Chief Downey to save money by running short-staffed units has put firefighter lives at risk and, worse than that, it jeopardizes the lives of Albuquerque residents. Each of the four persons on the truck have specific duties to do as it is and with three, they each have excessive duties.
The real responsibility of this staffing and budgetary crisis lies at the feet of Mayor Berry. He is responsible for leading Albuquerque into its current state of economic disaster, destruction of APD and now the dismantling of the Albuquerque Fire Department. I guess this is what Mayor Berry was referring to during this past election when he continually stated, “Albuquerque was about to turn the corner economically.” Except it was turning the corner away from recovery and INTO meltdown.
This morning orders came down from the top of the AFD administration that anyone who stated over the radio during an emergency response that they required an additional unit as a result of a short-staffed pumper would be disciplined. You read that correctly, if an AFD firefighter requests over the radio additional units do to a short-staffed pumper they will be disciplined!
AFD Deputy Chief of Operations Victor Padilla was recorded Sunday morning stating explicitly that the decision to short staff AFD apparatus was being done to save money and that AFD administration did not want this fact getting out.
Chief Padilla repeatedly stated that he disagreed with this decision but that it came from the Mayor’s Office. Chief Padilla explained that Chief Downey could obey the Mayor or look for another job. Chief Padilla also stated that Chief Downy had made the decision to short staff units endangering lives in a reactionary fashion due to AFD members calling of sick this weekend. If that is true, Chief Downey needs to be dismissed. Sick leave has been used for over one hundred years in AFD and there has always been more sick time used on the weekends.
Endangering the lives of firefighters and Albuquerque residents to punish AFD members who did show up for work is totally unacceptable and conduct unbecoming, by definition!
"If this gets out....Fuck You." In his statement, Chief Padilla spoke sarcastically about the well being of AFD personal. He holds the very members of AFD he has sworn to protect in contempt. It is totally intolerable that any Chief in AFD behaves in such a manner. During Chief Padilla’s disgusting and outrageous presentation he used profanity and conducted himself in an unprofessional manner. Chief Padilla needs to be immediately removed from his position. His handling of this AFD crisis has made a bad condition even worse! The time for AFD to receive the same scrutiny as APD has had for mismanagement is long over due.