Thursday, September 17, 2009

Firefighter's Quick Response Time

The mayor is touting the record level response times of the FDNY-but the quickest response came from the UFA, which yesterday wasted little time in jumping in to endorse Bill Thompson for mayor. As City Room reports, a great deal of the union animosity can be traced back to clueless Nicholas Scoppetta: "Stephen Cassidy, the president of the Uniformed Firefighters’ Association, which represents 8,900 firefighters, praised Mr. Thompson as “smart, tough and fair’’ and directed harsh criticism at Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, who was appointed by Mr. Bloomberg. “The Fire Commissioner of the city of New York has always set accountability for firefighters but not for himself,” Mr. Cassidy said. “Eight years under Mike Bloomberg we’ve heard Nick Scoppetta say, ‘It’s not my fault.’”

The biggest point of contention, as Wayne Barrett (as well as ourselves) has pointed out, revolves around the Deutsche Bank fire: "Mr. Cassidy said he held Mr. Scoppetta accountable for the deaths of two firefighters two years ago at a fire at the Deutsche Bank Building in Lower Manhattan. A report by the Manhattan district attorney’s office said several city agencies had failed to properly monitor the building, where a basement standpipe meant to deliver water to firefighters had been disabled, apparently without the Fire Department’s knowledge.

In addition, the UFA takes issue with the planned spate of firehouse closings-and hits at the term limit over turn as well: "As rows of firefighters stood behind him, Mr. Cassidy criticized the mayor for his plan, a budget deal with the City Council, to close 16 firehouses. He also criticized Mr. Bloomberg for his push to persuade the City Council to change the term limits law so he could run for a third term."

The issue of the competency of Scoppetta is important because it strikes at the heart of the Bloomberg assertion that his superior managerial acumen in an economic down turn merits an additional-and bogarted-third term. The reality is that the fire commissioner is a two time loser whose record at ACS was, charitably, less than stellar. The UFA endorsement, then, is a real feather in Thompson's cap; and it might be another of those hopeful signs that Michael Goodwin evinced yesterday in the NY Post.

As Auntie Mame once said: "Get me my shawl, I feel the winds of change blowing."