The fire department says if you have any questions, please direct them to the district.

During an exchange with Ryan Herrera, president of the local firefighters union, related to a letter in the Federal Way Mirror, he revealed an intimate knowledge of the FEMA SAFER grant policies and workings, but, when asked the same question I later put to the chief, suddenly became evasive and wrote “I don’t believe that the 9 firefighters are the same”.

As the president of the firefighters union, keenly interested in the firefighters he represents, I question the accuracy of that answer.

Decidedly not very informative, to say the least, considering these two funding mechanisms are both expected to burst soon.

Truly, it seems a shame that someone can not state for sure if the 9 firefighters of both proposals are the same, especially since they otherwise seemed so well informed about the two funding requests, including recent changes to the requirements.

 

Many I have heard from actually expect the otherwise YES/NO answer to be elusive for at least the next several weeks; conveniently coinciding with the election returns.

 

Letter To Chief Church

I was able to get a direct email address for Chief Al Church and sent him this question on July 12, 2012 at 3:50pm

 

Chief Al Church,

 

There appears to be two funding requests for nine firefighters from South King Fire & Rescue approved by the district in the first two months of this year.

On January 26, 2012, the district administration presented to the commissioners, and the commissioners passed resolutions to place the Excess Levy on the April ballot. The Excess Levy, in part, is described as funding one additional Aid Unit, requiring the hiring of nine new firefighters.

Also earlier this year, in an application dated February 26, 2012, the district applied for a FEMA SAFER grant, for an amount of about $1.8 million, also identifying the need to hire nine firefighters.

Can you clear up some confusion about what these two funding mechanisms are addressing?

 

·         Are the nine firefighters the FEMA grant is seeking to fund the same as the nine firefighters that the Excess Levy is seeking to fund?

 

·         If the Excess Levy passes, SKF&R has stated they intend to hire nine new firefighters to staff one aid unit. If the FEMA SAFER grant is approved and accepted, SKF&R is required to hire nine new firefighters. Does this mean that, should both funding measures be approved, SKF&R will be hiring eighteen new firefighters?

 

Regards,

Jerry Galland

 

702103915103376

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SKF&R does double duty (dipping??) by seeking Excess Levy and applying for FEMA SAFER Grant 2012

 

Tell the voter this, tell the feds that

Great news for Tacoma Fire Department: two-year $7.7 million Federal Emergency Management Agency grant meant to help local communities keep front-line responders on the job.

So time is ripe for FEMA to start handing out millions to local fire departments. Did South King Fire & Rescue get in line for a grant?

Absolutely YES! If this is such great news, why not share it? Why keep it secret, from both funding parties? Let’s look at this from the public point of view.

 

One district – Two requests for funds

In January of this year the fire district voted to put the excess levy on the April 2012 special ballot. Included was request from taxpayers for almost $2 million to hire 9 firefighters and put an aid unit back on the street. A few weeks later all was finalized and sent to King County Elections.

At the same time the district was preparing to send an application for grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for, ironically, $1.8 million asking to hire 9 firefighters.

 

The FEMA SAFER Grant Application

FEMA has a program called Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER). Emergency districts around the country apply for federal money to bolster their budgets. All of these require some commitment from the applying agency in order to receive the money.

After citing the demographics and financial standing of the district, plus the need for more firefighters, the section justifying asking for federal money is in Element number three.

Element #3 requires the district to state its inability to address the needs without federal assistance and include all “other actions the applicant has taken to meet their staffing needs”.

A careful reading does not reveal disclosure of putting the excess levy on the ballot. Not one word, even though the commissioners approved it weeks earlier.

I for one would quite easily consider putting an Excess Levy forward to be an “action(s) the applicant has taken to meet their staffing needs.” Whether the action was successful or not is of no issue, it is an action that requires disclosure. And the district deliberately avoided disclosure when they filed the legal document.

 

Deliberate Omission in the Excess Levy proposal

Strangely and similarly, the tax payers were also not informed of the FEMA application.

Nowhere in the language of the ballot measure does the district reveal that they are simultaneously seeking federal relief for the exact same 9 firefighters they want new taxes from the public to hire.

 

Both deep pockets are oblivious of the other

So neither the federal government not the taxpayers were privy to the duplicate actions of the district to secure millions in funding, although both actions were simultaneously advanced to their prospective audience.

The original Excess Levy was approved for ballot in January, the SAFER grant application filed in February and the latest Excess Levy ballot approved for vote in April.

So all of this flurry of activity was going on in plain view of the administration and the commissioners, but not one word of double dipping was offered to the press or the public.

 

Apparently the district was afraid. Very afraid.

Should one audience become aware of the other plea for funds, then it may not appreciate the glaring and deliberate omission.

Were one to make FEMA aware that prior to the application SKF&R was spending precious dollars foisting a ballot measure, would FEMA remain compelled to grant $1.8 million?

And if the taxpayers were to suddenly discover that the district was asking for tax increases at the same time secretively applying for duplicitous grants, would we feel used and deceived?

 

Clearly, the district does not trust the public.

Serious consideration needs to be applied here because if the district is not able to achieve BOTH funding measures, then they could be in default of the FEMA grant provisions, which require that any firefighter hired under the grant retain their job for two years AFTER the grant money terminates.

 

If the FEMA SAFER grant were approved and the levy failed then the district would face two unthinkable options. Either come back to the taxpayers repeatedly until the tax increase (Never disclosing the true reason funding was needed) was achieved so they could meet FEMA requirements, or deny the grant funding obligations for much needed staffing and forgo 9 firefighters.

 

Keeping secrets is not a good thing when the public interest is involved.

 

And this contributes to a dangerous precedence of trust.

 

How many times has the district used selective ‘omissions’ to pass tax measures or get funding?

 

So, the question is:

 

Why did the district deliberately deceive both the public and the federal government?

And why should we trust them now that the truth is about to come out in the open?

And how will we know they are telling the truth?

 

Has the district matured enough to warrant your trust in adding more tax burden to your budget? Or are they still playing games with our lives?

###

 

Update

 

 

Unfortunately, when a comment is posted to my blog at the Federal Way Mirror, Sound Publishing did not see fit to let the blogger know.

So, I do not know about it unless I visit the site like any other reader. This evening was the first time I checked back. Maybe I should go back more frequently to see if anyone left a message.

 

Ms. Conners, from South King Fire & Rescue, addressed my concerns when she left a comment on July 15th.

 

Ms. Conners, thank you for taking the time to share this information:

 

Mr. Galland,

Your Blogs of July 5th 2012 “SKF&R – Raising taxes and getting federal money/with strings” and “Secrets, omissions and just plain forked tongue” cite the following:

“Element #3 requires the district to state its inability to address the needs without federal assistance and include all “other actions the applicant has taken to meet their staffing needs. A careful reading does not reveal disclosure of putting the excess levy on the ballot. Not one word, even though the commissioners approved it weeks earlier. Whether the action was successful or not is of no issue, it is an action that requires disclosure. And the district deliberately avoided disclosure when they filed the legal document.

Per the SAFER Grant Guidelines published January 2012 “FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011” by the US Department of Homeland Security -(Application Start Date: 01/30/2012 Application Submission Date: 02/24/2012). All documentation, statistics and actions noted in the application package must pertain to what the department accomplished in 2010 and 2011.

Also cited in your Blog:
“Serious consideration needs to be applied here because if the district is not able to achieve BOTH funding measures, then they could be in default of the FEMA grant provisions, which require that any firefighter hired under the grant retain their job for two years AFTER the grant money terminates. Why did the district deliberately deceive both the public and the federal government? And why should we trust them now that the truth is about to come out in the open?”

Those same SAFER Grant guidelines published January 2012, by the US Department of Homeland Security specifies the Retention Commitment: Grantees that are hiring firefighters DO NOT have to commit to retaining the SAFER-funded firefighters. Period of performance: For Hiring of Firefighters, the period of performance has been reduced to 2 years.

The SAFER Grant Guidelines “For Fiscal Year 2012” were published by Homeland Security in June 2012 – (Application Start Date: 7/16/12 Application Submission Date: 8/10/12).

Respectfully Submitted

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Read how I did with the Municipal League of King County

 

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Many visitors to this site follow me because of my position on accountable government. That standard is inherent to my core beliefs.

 

I offer this portal to my campaign page for those interested in my perspective on accountability beyond the fire district.

 

Follow this link for my interpretation on Initiative 1240, introduction of charter schools in the state of Washington

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Why do I come to you, the private citizen, asking for money to reach the voters?

The unions and lobbyists are officially buying this election and trying to buy your vote. This is called Business as Usual in politics and I want you to be clearly aware of it.

My opponents in this race are either deeply indebted to their special interest groups, using contributors money for pay-back to friends, or both.

 

The ‘investment’

The public sector unions are ignoring potential implementation of The Wisconsin Solution. Instead the unions favor ‘hiring’ the liberal contenders to raise taxes and increase their wages and benefits.

The supposed ‘conservatives’ have also rushed to get Special Interest money. And it has started to flow in, selling their representation in Olympia to the highest bidder.

 

Asking for support – Candidate breakdown

 

What we all have in common is the Interview For Endorsement process.

Every candidate gets dozens of invitations from the special interest groups, each hoping to invest in their own future by putting money into the election machine, gambling on huge returns. Every one of my opponents raced down to ply for contributions and endorsements. They are all on The List. (covered in an earlier posting)

They brag about the endorsements on their web sites and at public appearances, but then become secretive and never reveal how much they are getting paid to become a special interest mouthpiece.

I have attended several of these interviews, hoping to gain insight into what concerns the businesses have with your lawmakers. These are educational meetings for all attendees, where I have always come away happy that I met with the interviewers.

The meeting commonly ends with a comment about when they will be making contribution decisions. This is because that is usually the only reason a candidate will give them any of their valuable time. The candidate is seeking money, and lots of it.

 

Buy me or Support me?

Here is where I differ from every other candidate. My representation in Olympia is for the citizens that elected me to office, not the lobbyists.

I tell the potential endorser/contributor that while I know it takes money for me to reach the voters with my message, any money given to me will have no strings attached and will not gain any special favor for their organization.

My purpose for coming to the ‘endorsement interview’ was to meet the organizations, understand their concerns and ask how we could work together to get this state back on the right course for jobs, education and economy.

And I went to friendly groups and not-so-friendly groups. (read the SEUI Experience I posted earlier)

If any organization feels that because of my principles and political platform I am the right candidate for the job, please support my campaign. But I am very upfront about not being their puppet in Olympia.

 

Who gets what and from whom?

The Federal Way Mirror has made the comparison process a little easier, listing major contributors for candidates and the amounts they have given. Where an individuals name appears, they have also listed some of the contributors employer, while leaving others to wonder.

For a more complete list, the Public Disclosure Commission posts all income and expense reports on their website for you convenience.

Check who bought your candidate. Then decide if they are representing you, or special interest.

 

And on the pay-back friends nepotism  issue.

It appears that only one candidate feels compelled to hire a ‘consultant’ for political advice, even though currently elected official who has run for public office multiple times. The campaign manager (treasurer) arranged the plum position that sounds a lot like a Ponzie scheme, putting in $500 and getting back over $3,000 in a few short weeks. Great Return On Investment.

Most candidates-with-friends are not so open about it. They normally wait until after the unsuspecting public has elected them before appointing those rewarding positions. Giving 20% of your contributions for ‘advice’ has got to take a toll on precious funds reaching out to the voter.

Yes, I still need your contributions

 All that said, I still need financial help to get your message that you want accountable and responsible representation in Olympia out to the voter. A single mailing will cost me over $4,500 dollars which I do not have.

Failure to give the voters a fair reasonable option ends up with the “lesser of the evils”. It may be lesser, but it is still evil.

Jerry Galland,  POBOX 1843,  Milton, WA 98354

Printable contribution form

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Bob Roegner, writing in the Federal Way Mirror, hit upon an interesting scenario regarding public unions, political spending, Wisconsin and Washington states budget future.

Of particular note was the last line, “Brutal as it may be, Wisconsin could not only happen here, it may be just around the corner.”

If we do not change the mindset of our public employee unions, that may happen sooner than later.

What the unions want of our elected

Let me add some insight into what the local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) ‘endorsement’ interview was like a few weeks ago.

(Ironically, the 30th district candidate interviews were just days after the recall failure of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Originally set for March 30th, the interview was postponed because too many union leaders and members were instead preoccupied preparing for May 1 events in Seattle.)

Naturally, SEIU will not endorse me

 

‘Jerry, will you support efforts to pass laws forcing employers to allow unions to form?’1

‘Jerry, I have not had a raise in three years and, making only $13.50 per hour, I want to make $17 per hour. Will you raise my wages?’2

‘Jerry, public employees in my field make 20% less than private employees. Will you raise our pay to match the private sector?’3

 

These are just some of the questions put to me in the ‘endorsement’ interview.

The room was full of public employee union leaders who politely identified themselves then launched into questions of what will I do to increase their pay/benefits/job security.

But in the reality of flat or diminishing revenue, presenting these union ‘leaders’ with an invitation to collaborate on solutions within the budget, I was sharply rebuked by being told to ‘just answer the questions’.

What right for the state?

How do we get past staunch single minded myopia focus from “What can I get” or “I want a raise” and start looking at what our state Needs? Billion dollar shortfalls will not be resolved with pay raises, enhanced benefit packages or job-killing restrictions on employers.

 

Its the economy

Our return to robust economy depends on identifying underlying problems, finding reasonable solutions and then working together to implement improvement.

Improvements in economic conditions means more jobs and more revenue. Only then can we entertain demands from union ‘leaders’.

1 No, I am opposed to placing restrictions on the free market that stifle business creation and growth.
2 Not at this time. We are in a budget crisis with no expectation of revenue increases and rising cost on existing benefits and services. I asked ‘Which agency or employees do you want me to close or fire so that I can give you a 25% raise?’ (Here was the rebuke “We ask the questions, you are here to answer them!”)
3 I suggest that if there is a more lucrative job in the private sector and your members want those levels of benefits then your members should apply to the private employer so they can have those improved benefits immediately.

 

I am not endorsed by the SEIU but I certainly welcome them to join the discussion of how we can get the state employment rate and economy increased so we can grant the wage increases and benefits desired.

 

Maintaining the me first attitude may very well expedite the Wisconsin solution.

I am a candidate for office and want your vote and support to keep Washington and the 30th district as economically stable and sustainable as possible.

 

Elect Jerry

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Can we afford emergency rations in case of catastrophe? Barely, but we can afford to eat seafood and steak in these lean times.

 

First order of business is to express sincere appreciation and respect for the long standing practice by Commissioner Mark Freitas, Commissioner William Gates and Commissioner Mark Thompson for never, in the last two years that I have been getting the forms, demanding or accepting money for in-district mileage or local meals.

On many occasions, these elected officials have taken it one step further. Opting to put the public interests above their own, Commissioners Freitas, Gates and Thompson have repeatedly waived compensation for some meetings.

We are in a budget crisis and these three elected officials, as the saying goes, ‘get it’. Respecting the citizens of the district that put them in office should not go without notice.

Thank you Commissioners Freitas, Gates and Thompson.

 

 

Now for the subject at hand.

 

There is an Excess Levy on the ballot for August. This levy is in reaction to what the district has called a budget crisis. The fire department is asking you to raise your taxes so they can raise revenues to cover much needed staffing and equipment.

 

The fire department is always looking at sustainable measures to ensure they are fully prepared to respond to any emergency. Part of that preparedness is having enough nutrition to perform.

 

Similar to the Earthquake Preparedness Kit we should all have at home, the department makes plans to keep your firefighters at the ready.

 

Training, equipment and staffing continue to be paramount concerns as they serve our citizens.

 

As revenues fall and firefighters take repeat year pay freezes, the department must still remain at the ready no matter the conditions.

 

And in the current budget crisis, no expense is taken lightly. Well, almost none anyway.

 

Reductions

 

In one example, the district has found that by purchasing military style meals we get longer shelf life than our current practice of First-In-First-Out (FIFO) grocery store items and, even though the initial cost might be marginally higher, the shelf life saves money over the long term.

Granted, these are not as palatable as fresh foods, but do provide the required nutrition to keep our firefighters ready to respond.

 

In another post, I will discuss how the district is addressing the cost of fuel and use of emergency equipment.

 

I laud the department for being creative in their funding and making these changes.

 

Sacrifices need and have been made.

 

Who does not ‘get it’

 

Meanwhile, seemingly oblivious to the budget crisis, Commissioner John Rickert and Commissioner James Fossos continue to travel and feed well off the public dime. Making no sacrifice to their monthly stipend, these elected officials consistently demand and get paid for driving to and eating at Angelo’s fine restaurant in Bellevue, last month enjoying Seafood Connello and Spencer Steak.

 

And let’s not forget demanding to be paid mileage for going to several meetings each month at the local fire department.

 

Again, without apparent consideration of the budget or awareness of a crisis, the May compensation forms prove there are two in the department that have no further regard for your tax dollars than what they can get from your pocket into theirs.

 

Your taxes and this Excess Levy is still paying for Excess expenses.  

 

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“It’s the economy, stupid!” seems to be a common mantra for state and local budget failures and low tax revenues.

Improving the economy therefore is the most reasonable way to increase revenues.

So what can we do to stimulate the economy?

Some voice that government should give bailout money, others say close the loopholes and a few rally raising taxes. There is even a faction that still wants to pass the income tax.

I say we address regulation.

Our government at all levels has imposed so many restrictions on business development and growth that thousands of people in our community are unemployed and disenfranchised.

Whether it be a tax on employees, rampant unfounded increases in L&I or an onerous B&O structure, every employer in the state can cite multiple expensive burdens placed on them that stifle starting a business, hiring more employees or expanding operations.

From the state level, we can and must address government imposed restrictions of private businesses. Loosening them to allow growth and hiring.

Only then will our economy stabilize and flourish. Only then can we re-visit the budget and expect to see revenues increase.

Note: Now would be a great time for me to remind you that in order to be your representative, I  need your support to reach other voters. Visit my website for more about me and how to help send me to Olympia  www.elect-jerry.net

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You have never been to a Kick-Off like this one!!

 

Jerry Galland, running for 30th District State Representative, has secured a coveted and exclusive venue for his official Kick-Off.

 

We have arranged for friends and supporters to host the event in their ‘Garage’ on Lake Geneva.

 

But this is not your backyard variety outbuilding. It is a spacious showroom for the over one dozen car-show condition and award winning classic cars they own. (The ’39 Packard is in the house!)

 

Combining my official kick-off with an impromptu classic car show will set the bar for campaign kick-offs for years to come.

 

I will have my cute classic there. Roll up with your favorite ride and lets talk cars and politics.

 

June 13th is the date and we are planning a 2-hour meet-the-candidate coffee and fundraiser.

 

More details at www.elect-jerry.net

 

This is the Kick-Off of the year.

 

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What do you consider a friend to be? One who agrees with you all the time? One who only tells you what you want to hear? Only those in your close circle that you see all the time?

 

Does this person help you grow and mature? Help make you improve yourself? Give honest appraisals?

 

When you ask ‘does this outfit makes me look fat?’, would they automatically say no? Regardless of what the real look might be?

 

When you ask ‘is it just me or is that person irritating?’ do they automatically agree with you?

 

Or when you are in rehab for alcohol abuse, crying for just one beer, do you sneak them a drink because, after all, it will help take the edge off?

 

 

Recently it has been hinted that I am not a friend of the fire district. The district has been asking the public for funding while I point out questionable expenses of a cash-strapped agency.

 

Yet, once brought to their attention, on many occasions the district we me. Without explanation of past practices, some expenses were stopped. Some were curtailed. And a few were defended or continue as of today.

 

But none would have remotely been considered for change had a third party not questioned them. And even then, these observances would have been waved off as unwelcome advances had they not been questioned in a very public way.

 

Instead of relying on the always agreeable ‘friends’ who saw no wrong, this district has become stronger and leaner because an outsider would not merely follow the usual crowd of blind faithful agreement.

 

I said that should I be elected commissioner last year I would start saving taxpayers hard cold cash on day one by not taking what I consider to be non-essential perk money for travel and meals while my district undergoes a financial crisis. While the spotlight of public opinion failed to prevent dollars from continuing to flow, the district has made many changes in other areas because of my tenacity.

 

I have been considered an adversary of the district because I use straight talking language to call them out when they are wrong. Apparently, because I would be ignored any other way,  my straight-forward approach has been branded caustic and abrasive.

 

But what do you consider a friend to be? Someone who blindly agrees with your every decision and might merely become an unwitting enabler to unhealthy practices?

 

Of course, I suppose most would be satisfied if their friend merely accepted them as they are and ignored the undesirable actions. Call them simply minor but acceptable characteristics.

 

But how can a friend ignore your non-essential spending while at the same time you are asking for more taxpayer revenue?

 

I suppose you could just allow a few in-efficiencies to continue. What harm could one beer do?

 

But then how could you not consider that to be a fake friend?

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