20 SAFD Battalion Chiefs address 'crisis of morale' within SAFD and dishonesty from Chief's office
Updated On: Nov 29, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 11, 2016
Contact: Christopher Steele, SAPFFA President
SAN ANTONIO, TX - Twenty San Antonio Fire Department Battalion Chiefs have formed a committee to address serious and systematic issues of morale within the San Antonio Fire Department and certain actions by the Chief's office they say have eroded their trust and confidence in his leadership of the department.
The 20 Battalion Chiefs, or about 80% of the Battalion Chiefs, reached out to SAPFFA to let them know of their serious concerns with actions they believe are eating away at the integrity of the department and ultimately impacting morale. They have formed a committee to formally address these issues, which include:
Recent history of heavy-handed and unfair disciplinary actions
Harassment and intimidation of personnel
Training emphasis on diet and fitness at the expense of firefighting skills
Episodes of injury and hospitalization of cadets at the SAFD Training Academy
SAPFFA is standing behind the SAFD Battalion Chiefs who have brought forward these allegations.
“This is a crisis of morale,” said Christopher Steele, president of SAPFFA. "These Battalion Chiefs are a conduit. They're the ones who are between management and the front lines. If they speak, the Fire Chief should listen."
Prior to the letter the Battalion Chiefs wrote to Chief Charles Hood, there were a series of three meetings where they told the Chief the biggest problem facing the department was morale. They said the Chief denied their concerns.
A July 2016 Gallup poll looking at the state of local and state government workers’ engagement found just 29% of workers are engaged in their jobs. According to Gallup, engaged workers drive innovation and move their workplaces forward. The report found local and state government employee disengagement is around 71%, which they estimate costs the U.S. economy up to $100 billion.
"We've had guys discliplined for a lot of different reasons, [which] is creating a hostile environment, for what these guys have to work under," said Steele. “It’s ultimately affecting morale, and for anyone who’s ever worked in a hostile work environment can tell you, it adds even more stress to an already stressful job."
Steele said he hopes the Chief would sit down with the Battalion Chiefs to find solutions to the issues they have presented.