City Government

Boise Officials “No Show” At Town Hall Meet

About 60 concerned citizens and a handful of Ada County EMS paramedics got together for the GUARDIAN Town Hall meeting at the library Monday to discuss the status of ambulance service in the county and city.

Sadly, the Boise Firefighters union accused the GUARDIAN of bias on the issue and boycotted the meeting after previously attempting to get as many members and friends as possible to attend. The entire city council and Team Dave were also invited but decided to stay away.

There was a medical doctor, former Ada County Sheriff, a former EMS official from Colorado and Kansas who now lives in Boise, Commish Sharon Ullman, and a bunch of concerned citizens asking intelligent questions…some of which went unanswered due to the City of Boise boycott.

There was coverage by Channel 7, Channel 2, and the Boise Weekly. We don’t know if the Daily Paper attended or not. The GUARDIAN will try to get a link to a video of the meeting for those who care to see and hopefully hear the discussion.

The BOISE WEEKLY has a well done report on the meeting.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. If I had nothing to say that the audience wanted to hear I would be hesitant to go stand before them too. I can’t blame them. I can see it now “Um, we would like to put an ambulance where there is already one and spend your money on something that is not needed. And yes, it will probably raise your taxes”. I don’t blame them for “boycotting”.

  2. So, is it better to stay away when you have no facts to present? Or, show up and demonstrate for all to see that your position is based solely on emotion?

    BFD wins this round.

  3. Thank you for the opportunity and attempt at geting both sides together. One thing you said in the meeting and then wrote here is that the union made the decision to boycott the discussion. I guess I don’t understand why our Fire Admin did not respond instead of the union?

    EDITOR NOTE–At least the union was decent enough to tell us they were not coming. Officials wouldn’t respond to numerous calls and e-mails.

  4. Nodnarb,

    Boise has clearly stated through all of this that they have facts and they have an entire plan on why they should do this. They state it’s because they can do it smarter, faster, cheaper. So why wouldn’t they show up to prove all these facts and numbers that they have. I would think them not showing up shows that they responded with emotion.

    BFD loses this round!!!!

  5. When you don’t care about what citizens think why would you even think of attending?

    The city leaders could care less what taxpayers think and will do whatever they please. It is the same with half baked, half done condo projects, the pit downtown, and all the other issues we see the city acting on regardless of citizen input.

    Those of you that voted these folks in have no reason to complain about anything going on at city hall. So if your taxes go up . . . . that is what you voted for.

  6. Interested, The Fire “Administration” is the same as the Union. Doan is past president of the BFD Local, Deputy Chief Oldenburg is also a past president. DC Oldenburg is now speaking to the media for the department. Where is Captain…I mean Chief Doan?.

    Maybe BFD is looking at doing the “Carl Holmes Solution”. In the late 70’s Okalhoma City Assistant Fire Chief Carl Holmes, took some of his fire personnel with management experience/degrees out of the department ranks and “Loaned” them to other city departments to help those department increase their management skills. What Chief Holmes acually did was put his own guys in other departments as spies to see what the problems were then came up with solutions that he took to the city council and showed that the Fire Department could manage other departments. OKC FD straightened out other departments before turning operations back to new department heads.

    After reading the BFD Admin page on their web site I only found that the Chief of EMS has any advanced degrees in management…So much for the Carl Holmes Solution” in Boise.

  7. If you look at this link from Channel 7, The reporter states when she road with Ada County Paramedics…they arrived 2 minutes PRIOR to the Fire Department on one call…and then only 8 SECONDS after the fire department on the second…..then The Operations Fire Chief states a Boise City Ambulance would increase response times….Ada Arrived PRIOR to the Department on the first call…..only 8 SECONDS after the Fire department on the second…….interesting?

  8. Wow, I guess the two calls that the reporter from channel 7 responded to with Ada County gives an accurate account of the response times that Ada County and Fire has.

    Kudos to channel 7’s Kacee Murray for obtaining the much needed data that she did on those two calls compared to the hundreds of calls in a given week……interesting?. I can now rest easy!!!

  9. WOW,
    If only ACEMS and BFD used the same process to track response times, you could compare the two. In reality though, the ambulance and the fire rig many times both respond from the same station and end up in the driveway with seconds of each other. Response time is simply not an issue. BFD realizes that EMS is their answer for future relevance. When 80-90% of their current calls are medical calls, it is clear that they need to get chest deep in the EMS business in order to continue being “important”. The union has it figured out and they have been fairly successful at positioning themselves in a politically powerful position to achieve their goal. Once BFD owns EMS in the City of Boise, Meridian will have to follow as ACEMS will be too small to continue their service. Once Meridian goes, then Eagle. Once ACEMS is out of the picture, BFD can offer the citizens of the unincorporated areas EMS service for a “fee”.
    Once the landscape in Ada is settled, it will start happening in Canyon County. The move in Canyon County was recently averted only by personnel changes in CCEMS and Nampa Fire. It will happen though… only a matter of time.
    Get out your wallet because once the PFFI local has their crews in all of YOUR ambulances, your taxes will go up.
    Team Dave will be OK with it as the local will throw him a bone come election time. That’s the way it works here in small town USA!

  10. Up to here, with all of you.
    Aug 25, 2009, 8:35 am

    There is a woman down the lane from me who has some kind of recurring heart problem. Goes to hospital a couple time a year. When its time to go, she calls a cab. Says she doesn’t trust any of the ambulance attendants. Says the only thing she wants out of an ambulance is a quick trip to the right address. No curbside clinic for her. No Dr. Welby on wheels. Claims the docs at the hospital are bad enough, but the 3-week emt grads (where the attitude goes in before the degree goes on) manning the trucks are pure terror.

    I used to think that the heart problem had starved her brain and she was whacko as well. After reading the posts on this block, most of them from the county ambulance gang, I think she got it about right. The city’s action is bad. But I’ve seen enough attitude on the part of the county and emt to last me a lifetime. If the need comes, I’m calling a cab.

  11. So if the Union decided not to show, that means every fire department/firefighter and city representatives doesn’t show. These people work for the public/tax payer correct?

    I could almost understand if the city decided that the FD was not to show but that was the Union.

    So my confusion is who is calling the shots here the city, the fire department or the union?

    I think they need to remember who they all ultimately work for. Us the Tax payer. And if there is a public meeting to educate the public they then have an obligation to show. Not cancel at the last minute.

    Every representative of the Ada County Paramedics was there including the County Commissioner.

    That tells me that the BFD, City council and the Mayor abandoned the public/tax payer/their BOSS on this one and for what?

    I don’t think I could no show on a meeting with my bosses just because I didn’t like the color of the room.

    It leads me to believe they are hiding something or they just don’t have good answers to any questions that still need answered.

    I think we need some new people in who haven’t forgotten who they serve.

  12. The Boise Picayune
    Aug 25, 2009, 11:42 am

    With Boise~Angelesization / Gentrification and it’s accompanying 5-Minute-Collective-Consciousness Transient Nature comes a populace (as opposed to a “citizenry”) that couldn’t give a half-a-hoot about anything that isn’t hitting them over the head at any given moment.

    And the charlatans within Boise’s Shadow Government like it that way!

    Boise blew it years ago, and has settled into well earned homogeneous mediocrity.

    Don’t kill the messenger… I don’t like it either!

  13. Clearly, the Mayor and the BFD are operating under the premise of a 4-year-old: “It is easier to get forgiveness than to get permission.” There is a reason that the FD is keeping as quiet as possible on this site and in the media. They hope to slide this through under our noses. They are suppressing the (lack of) justification and any appropriate dialogue, because the issue can’t be won on its merits. In the meanwhile, your tax dollars are being spent for BFD administrators to purchase equipment, entertain contracts, and take multiple trips all over the country to pursue this ridiculous duplication of service. How is it that their budget is so “flexible” when the budgets of the taxpaying citizens continue to shrink? I encourage you to look at salaries, benefits, work schedules, on duty activities, and facilities. How many of us have flat panel TVs on every wall of our personal work out facilities and have a six-figure income provided by a job with 4 days off per week? “Service” is out, gluttony is in. Mayor Beiter has obviously been bought and paid for by the fire union. It is clear he doesn’t work for us now and that he never did.

  14. Well attended meeting? Handful of concerned citizens? The room holds 250 people, by the way a number set by your local fire department to keep all safe, but 60 people showed? Not as big of a hot topic as one would be led to believe. I realize that this topic has had more comments then any other ground breaking issue from the “Guardian” but, they are all conversations/arguments between the same people. I too could post 50 different but the same arguments and never make a point too. Again if this is a huge issue why was it attended by

    1 Ada county commissioner who is concerned about revenue? And who if she isn’t careful will stir too many pots to move her governors race forward.

    1 Doctor from the group of how many that supposedly signed the letter?

    And 1 nurse who stated to KTVB that she “consults fire departments” and stated “Every system I have worked with is separate, they are not firefighters and paramedics, I have not seen that work well,” Newburn said. If those are the systems that you have worked with then have you seen it work at all lady?

    Furthermore, I have it on good authority that if Boise Fire adds one unit to the city this will allow the county the ability to better staff one unit in a currently lesser covered area say Meridian, Eagle or even Star we all know Kuna doesn’t want to play. Thus allowing all of the citizens of the “County” better coverage. Oh, but wait the money is in Boise sorry Star! Apparently response times only matter if they are money making propositions.

  15. Doc N the Box
    Aug 25, 2009, 12:20 pm

    lets put this into perspective, this is a local blog that is visited by a few Ada County Paramedics, and 10 other paranoid citizens of the city of Boise who sit around and think government is out to steal all their money. I guess I must have missed the public election that voted Dave Frazier into a position of Boise leadership that would give him the authority to Call a townhall meeting? I am not surprised that both Boise Fire and elected officials would not attend last nights meeting due to the fact that the Boise Guardian represents a very small yet vocal minority that does not represent the citizens of Boise.

  16. To the taxpayers of Boise City…

    Both the Fire Department and the Union have your best interests (financially and quality of medical service) in mind.

    While it would have been entertaining for some to have firefighters and paramedics “duke it out” in public…it does not further the goal of providing the best possible service in the most efficient manner.

    Pre-hospital care in care is far too important to reduce the argument from a well-developed, researched, and thought-out proposal to an emotional, misinformed, and sometimes distracting plea for citizen involvement by paramedics concerned about their future.

    Paramedic friends that I have worked closely with over the years, I understand and sympathize with your concern but, the firefighters, fire department, and “union” is not your enemy.

    What is in process, and what has occurred is the result of Ada County and Ada County EMS flatly refusing to collaborate and agree on how we (EMS service providers) should adapt the system to meet the changes and challenges that we face.

    If we remember correctly, two independent citizen committees have stated that EMS should merge into the fire service, because that is this most efficient system to provide the service. This is why the national trend is toward fire service EMS. Our EMS system is one of the expensive systems in the Pacific Northwest, although you would not recognize that unless you received a bill for service.

    To the citizens that I have proudly served over the years and are concerned…be assured your firefighters are following a path where we can both operate fiscally responsibly and maintain the quality of care you have recognized in your numerous postings.

    Unfortunately for all of us, any attempt at making positive changes in the EMS system has been, and still being thwarted by Ada County EMS and Ada County.

    They’re argument is to maintain the status quo, and rather than meet, collaborate, and collectively agree on possible changes. They (and a few un-named bloggers here) would rather stir up emotional appeals, provide mis-information, and distracting comments about the union and its possible motivations.

    I am sorry for this airing of dirty laundry in public. Rest assured that the firefighters remain focused on the delivery of quality patient care.

    I am sure that in the future those who have expressed concern (whether doctors, hospitals, paramedics, firefighters, politicians, or even bloggers) will be able to evaluate the research, see that this (buying an ambulance) is only a step in the process, and hopefully analyze an agreement between Boise City Fire and Ada County EMS.

    Leadership is needed on this most vital service issue. We will all have to wait and see if “leadership” shows up from all sides.

  17. Actually SpongeBob, thats only half the story…here is the rest..

    ACP currently has a station in Star that is being built. We have some vacancies that are currently open in anticipation of that station. We weren’t going to fill them until the station was ready (saving money). We offered to take the monies set aside for those vacancies and PAY the city of BOISE to cross staff ambulances so the BFD could get the experience they say they want (and need), without fragmenting the current system, and they would work side by side with an ACP Paramedic. This would indeed allow us to fill those vacancies, AND save money AND save the system from being fragmented into lil’ Empires here and there.


    But BFD declined. MFD remains interested, but if we lose the north end, revenues would drop to the point that we couldn’t afford to pay the other agencies to cross man.
    More information on this proposal is here:

    Things that make you go Hmmm. Why would a city turn down money from another agency when it would pay their emergency responders to be more experienced…….
    Perhaps getting experience wasn’t the real goal?

    Either way Star is getting manned. The only difference is whether the fragmentation of a cost efficient, fast, and experienced system occurs.

  18. I think Doc’nBox puts it correctly about why they did not have to show up. This was not a mandatory meeting.

    That said, Boise and BFD should come clean sooner than later about the plans. Response times and cost(taxes) are the ultimate questions that still need answers.

  19. Spongebob–

    Just for further edification, Ada County Paramedics just broke ground in Star to staff a paramedic station. It is on HWY 44 just west of HWY 16 on the northside. It is hopefully due to be open by winter. We ensure that we can adequately get medical coverage to all portions of Ada County. There is limited funds and no ability to put quality, experienced ambulance/paramedic crews on every street corner yet. Maybe one day.

  20. DOC,
    Then they need to go to the people that do and find an outlet to get all this information (that they appear to be hiding) out. Set up a town hall meeting somewhere else after letting the people in on the secret.

    Sounds like there are a few firefighters on this blog and one Union president as well.

    They feel the need to respond to the blog including the union president but are unwilling to take 2 hours out of their day to answer some questions.

    I also don’t think the BG would have continued holding the meeting if they knew the other side wasn’t showing which leads me to believe that the told the BG they would be there.

    So as Spongebob said I think that was there whole intention. Trying to show that the public doesn’t care about the topic. But the fact of the matter is is that the fire department is hiding it from the public and unwilling to respond to any of them when the Ada County Paramedics will.

    Besides channel 7, 2, and the Boise weekly was there as well. Does nobody watch the news or read local news papers either.

  21. Doc N the Box:

    I find it interesting that the “10 paranoid citizens” who are taxpayers as well don’t seem to matter. I also find it interesting that for the first time I have seen, the Guardian is actually questioning what Boise Fire is doing. We are all taxpayers and had a few questions regarding the decisions that involve our tax money. Since Boise Fire has not offered any answers, the Guardian sponsors an event and invites Boise Fire to attend to answer these questions. I find it rude that Boise Fire cannot show up to answer any of these questions and complain that the Guardian is being “biased”. If that is really the complaint, then show up and prove them wrong. Stand up for your decisions.

    Does anyone know if there will be any other time or place to ask these questions before the decisions are made final?

  22. Nemo has claimed that Meridian Fire has been “interested” in the ACP offer – which by the way was non-negotiable, meaning the terms were set entirely by Troy Hagan. I still have not seen or heard that Meridian is on board with this plan. So where do you get your info from Nemo? How about it BG, have you ever asked to look at the plan Hagan has been touting?

    Also, the BG has failed to turn the spotlight on ACP. How about some exploration into the financial relationship with their doc? Not only does the Dr. receive thousands of taxpayer dollars from ACP, he also is biased by his relationship with certain paramedics. BG considered him an unbiased source representing the thoughts of ER Docs across the valley. It just isn’t so.

    Finally, please stop referring to Chief Doan as our past union president. He never held that post. He was a former lobbyist at the State level. Attack his level of education, but know that leadership is derived from more than a degree on the wall. Ask the many fire chiefs around the valley and previous Boise Chiefs who have never had an advanced degree. ACP seems to be good at bringing things into this discussion which are contrary to their “we just want to work together” philosophy.

  23. Well congrats Nemo you have succeeded as normal in turning someone into a blabbing idiot. This time its me. I just have a question or more so a comment. If fire is looking for a way to do it cheaper, faster, better.

    Then why doesn’t the county vacate the old fire station and move their ambulance to Star. It gets Star the full time coverage that they want and the improved response times. FASTER for Star! Ada County doesn’t have to hire for those positions. CHEAPER! Boise Fire is saying they can staff an ambulance without hiring any more people again CHEAPER! No need for any new positions on either side saves Sharon money.

    The only thing that would make it BETTER is if Ada County left the ambulance in the station and allowed Boise Fire to staff it. again CHEAPER because Boise doesn’t have to buy the unit or equipment.

    If you want, work out your professional agreement that says if they use the county unit then the county gets the revenue, minus the cost of the people. Boise fire gets a unit to use and the extra training, they are no longer paying your bill at the old fire station, they don’t have to buy all the equipment, you get to keep your revenue… what other complaints did you have mostly money right?

  24. Jake,

    Although I appreciate the tone of you response I think that most people in this situation do believe that they are doing what is best (i.e GWB going to war). But I also think that when the BFD does not have support from the State, County, Hospitals, MD’s or the public as far as I can tell you might just be wrong and fairly jaded into thinking that what you are doing is best.

    If it is then you should talk to us and get support from all the listed entities and then do this. Don’t just force thing and then tell us that you have our best interest at heart because I personnel do not believe it.

    If you did all this shady politics stuff would not be necessary.

    I have been keeping up with theses posts (obviously) and have yet to see any real informative responses from the what would appear to be fire fighters. All they can say is that we are right and they are wrong. Many of the post against the fire department (some with the same we are right they are wrong attitude) do appear to be more fact based and informative.

    I have yet to be educated in anyway by fire department but I have been told that they have my best interest in mind.

    I am not convinced as of yet.

  25. Jake,

    Those committees did not state EMS should merge into the fire service. The recommendation is for ALL services to go to a Metro type system. I’m pretty sure, last time I checked, Ada County is more than just Boise City.

  26. Jake,

    Mark hit it on the head. ACP and even more importantly, the BOCC has expressed time and time again a willingness to discuss county wide consolidation.

    Let me say it again…..COUNTY WIDE consolidation. Not fragmenting the current EMS system peice by peice into 7 different fire departments.

    But that would mean you wouldnt be the “City of Boise FD” anymore…Your chief wouldnt be THE chief, neither would MFD’s chief, nor KUNA’s chief, nor EAGLEs chief, etc etc etc…..


    Interesting concept. Seems to me to be a FIX to a problem that doesnt exist in the north end.

    it also requires require more honesty and transparency by the FD, but interesting concept none the less. The only thing it doesnt do is put (to use BFDs own comments) medics that need experiance on the ambulance with a more experianced ACP medic, like the current proposal does. That would be “better’ because that would be better patient care…

    What it does do is generate funding for BFD it doesnt have currently….hmmmmmm.

    That said, if BFD can come to the table honestly, with transparency, and with out trying to make a power grab, without trying to dictate terms and set them selves up as surpreme commander in the city of Boise….I amn sure that there would be some kind of new model worked out. One that would morelikely looklike the one already proposed..but one that would be mutualy agreable.

    But so far this time, transparency and honesty and fairness havent been hallmarks of BFDs dealings with ACP, the city council or the taxpayers.

    Let me counterpose a question… Why is it you BFD’ers are so opposed to working with ACP Paramedics on the same car? Where is the logic there?

    BG ,

    YOU ARE SO RIGHT, we do need a PUBLIC SAFETY OMBUDSMAN. I am sure ACP would work with him…but would BFD???

  27. Doc – time to get out of City Hall. Thousands…yes thousands visit this site each week.

    You actually represent the minority. Nice try. If you and yours support all the wierd agendas of city hall then I suggest you go to city hall and personally write a check to the mayor – an invite all your friends to do the same. We do not indent to pay for these self serving agendas.

    The majority of us want an open, honest government….something that this site has proven we do not have.

  28. Nemo (Steve) and Mark,

    You are creative in the arguments you make, but leave so much out. I am sorry that you feel left out of the discussion but Dir. Hagen and Chief Doan have been having for the last year.

    Lisa, the proposal for enhanced ALS services by the fire department started way before 1992. Then Boise Fire Chief Renn Ross delivered a proposal to City Council for ALS Engines and was met by the same mis-direction and mis-information.

    Adding ALS services to the Fire Department has been part of the Boise City Strategic Plan for over 10 years. There have been Paramedics working for the fire department for over 5 years. I think the argument again is that the system has lacked the leadership to make significant change.

    Putting a Boise Fire Paramedic on a Ada County ambulance is not a serious proposal. The Fire Department already offers Ada County EMS stations to house ambulances around the city at no cost (collaboration?). Should we provide manpower to Ada County EMS as well?

  29. The Boise Picayune
    Aug 25, 2009, 6:58 pm

    Present company excluded…

    We need a local citizenry who gives a s–t!

    Mayor Beiter’s “Landslide” Election Victory of 8.9% – constantly misrepresented as 67.9% – tells the whole story.

    Gentrification creates a transient, commodity atmosphere wherein people treat a community as something to be bought, sold and traded. As soon as the-powers-that-be drop the ball (i.e. Boise and its Shadow Government), they move on to another community that has it’s s–t truly together, and not just full of slogans and paid for awards.

    All well and good, except they (we) are left with poorly constructed and decaying McMansions, Subdivisions, Strip Malls, etc…

    It never ceases to amaze me how most folks ’round these parts have swallowed the developers B.S. hook, line and sinker, and think we are somehow immune to the pitfalls that have befallen similar communities.

    “Those ignorant of history [blissfully or otherwise] are doomed to repeat it!”

  30. Jake, I know about the history of EMS in the BFD, I know the former Chief of EMS, Dennis Johnson, very well.

    OK Maybe its just me but I think John Boros was the best Chief…RIP Uncle John. the Bugle Still Plays.

  31. If BFD has enough extra people to man an ambulance 24/7, 365 days a year…that cost more than Paramedics at the county do. How is that saving money? The fire dept makes no revenue…they are entirely subsidized correct? Math tells me that perhaps someones budget is bloated if they have that many extra people floating around.

  32. Picayune,
    Are you a La. transient? Just curious from your Picayune reference. Anyhow, I think your concerns about development should be laid squarely at the feet of the county commissioners who have never seen a “planned development” that they haven’t approved. If there is one area where the Boise Council succeeds, its in the push for in-fill development which does not stretch existing services…like fire, ems, and police. And I know there are a lot of Growthaphobes on this site, but I have always been a believer in the notion that a community that does not grow – dies. Look at all the communities in Michigan. Companies leaving faster that Albertsons and Micron. Jobs whisked away over seas. How do we keep up without government involvement? Will the private sector really solve the infrastructure needs that comes with the tempered growth our community needs to survive? Just asking.

  33. When will we finally realize this entire debacle isn’t about response times or quality of care, or even turf wars! It is perceived by the city and the fire department as a potential revenue source! The mayor and the fire department administration see that $900.00 average transport charge as a chance to ” make money” as was stated by a BFD “higher-up” recently.
    Doc in the Box, (I hope someone gave you that name and you didn’t come up with it yourself. If so, it is very appropriate) please remember that 16% of the people living in Boise voted this bunch of clowns into office. Some “landslide” !!

  34. noname:

    You make an awesome point! Someone has actually posted a site with everyone’s earnings and it can be viewed here:

    I find it odd that the fire chief himself makes more than the mayor by more than $8 an hour. Your tax dollars at work.

  35. The Boise Picayune
    Aug 26, 2009, 10:11 am


    I DID have the misfortune of spending 3+ Years in Los Angeles – just in time for the Rodney King Riots and Northridge Quake!

    “What’s the difference between Los Angeles and Yogurt? Yogurt has live, active culture!” Though there is something to be said for all the “Silicone Sistas” on the beach ; )

    The “Picayune” name (meaning: Trivial, or of Little Interest, and an archaic Spanish Coin) was inspired by the 80s comic “Bloom County” and its fictitious daily, the “Bloom Picayune”.

    In parting, I refuse to blame ANY elected officials, because we put them there. Either through our votes – or as is more often the case – lack of voting.

    Like Ronald Reagan used to say: “We the people… We ARE America!”

    We get exactly what we vote – or don’t vote – for.

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