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LAFD Scandal Prompts Formation of Task Force

The Los Angeles Fire Department forms a task force on Tuesday to analyze response time data and to restore its reputation amid a scandal that involved department officials presenting inaccurate data to the City Council.

Fire Chief Brian Cummings on Tuesday announced the formation of a task force to analyze the department's response time data.

The 11-member Task Force on Information and Data Analysis is aimed at restoring the LAFD's reputation in the wake of a scandal that erupted this spring, when department officials admitted presenting inaccurate data to City Council members in 2011 as they made decisions to cut the department's budget and re-deploy fire trucks and ambulances.

"This task force provides an excellent opportunity for the LAFD to refine its process for presenting clear, consistent and easily understood information regarding our response times, as well as establishing measurements and benchmarks for all that we do,'' Cummings said.

The IDA will include data experts from the RAND Corp., the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Police Department, as well as sworn and civilian LAFD members. The task force will be charged with analyzing and validating the department's raw data, including response times and developing separate systems to share LAFD data with fire department members and the public.

Cummings named LAFD Assistant Chief Patrick Butler to head the task force. Butler lost the chief's job to Cummings, though he was the top candidate recommended last year by a group of advisers to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, including Fire Commission President Genethia Hudley-Hayes and Fire Commissioner Alan Skobin.

Hudley-Hayes called the creation of the task force "an important step forward in both rebuilding public trust and using data as an effective management tool."

She applauded Cummings for the make-up of the panel, which has already held one meeting to create a strategic plan and divide into two committees -- one focused on data interpretation and accuracy and another on performance measures.

Frank Ormsby July 18, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Let’s put aside the heroic allure of firemen that some praise more than others. It’s their job to save lives, put out fires and rescue citizens from danger! They have a nice salary, great benefits and excellent retirement that, by far, exceed the public they serve. So whenever someone states that LAFD response time saved a life we can always turn to another case where a person’s life was lost for the very same reason. The bottom line is that Angelenos deserve the best possible emergency service and if the LAFD is fudging with their response statistics then heads need to roll. Unfortunately, in this situation, the fox is watching the hen house. My suggestion is to hire an independent panel of angry, laid off, LAUSD teachers who will scrutinize this issue with a vengeance.
baysphere July 18, 2012 at 08:01 PM
If you want to compare the salaries, pensions, and retirement benefits of teachers and firefighters let's do it. Teachers receive 49.9% of the States Budget, 82% of that is earmarked for Administration, Teachers Salaries, and Teachers Pensions, leaving a whopping 18% for our children. Now let's talk where our California Children sit amongst other States, 48th place, proud yet Mr. Teacher. Now when you are home this summer, or home on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, or any other holiday, or when you are home for Spring Break, Winter Break, and Summer please remember who is still saving lives and at your beckon call Mr. Teacher. I am not in the Fire Industry just sick and tired of your bitchin teachers.
Gil July 18, 2012 at 08:43 PM
to Bayspere Funny your telling people to stop Bitc#ing.. yet you come on a comment board and do the same thing. If you want to talk about Budgets L.A. CITY FIRE takes up almost 40% percent of the cities buddget alone overtime included. I am not a teacher or fire fighter. Average salary L.A.teacher $64,000. LA teachers that make more than $100,000.00= is less than 10 Average L.A. City Fire departemnt worker $ 96,000 .LA city fire employees that make more than $125,000.00 more than 176. i stop counting. Salaries our dailynews database.
SIMON July 19, 2012 at 01:45 AM
I believe there needs to be an overhaul at city hall, We need fire/ambulance, police and teachers these 3 pillars are important for society and the future of our community. The problem is when you have a city as large as los angeles that extends from the harbor all the way border with ventura county. There is so much money but these politicians keep lying to us and covering up for themselves, If we look at the fire dept in the mid 1990's if your home was in a hill which the dept considered a high hazard brush area then a red dot was placed and if there was ever a fire your home would not be protected. Now they did not put a red dot on these homes but instead permanently shut down fire companies and ambulances. I believe these leaders have a responsibility to protect us and serve us that is why they have these great salaries and pensions, now when they intentionally disregard our safety and our community suffers then they should be held accountable and liable.
SIMON July 19, 2012 at 01:52 AM
The city of los angeles posts the salaries along with overtime made of its employees on their web site in the city controllers office. It amazes me how much money is being made at the top ranks and how much we as a community suffer because of that. I encourage everyone to log on to the city controllers site and view the salary these fire chiefs have some of them are making their regular salary and $150,000 on top of that in overtime alone. unreal

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