[PICTURED: DEMING. The man with a plan. Zuma Dogg is merely attempting to apply it.]
If EVER there were an L.A. City municipal issue ready for L.A. Mayoral Candidate Zuma Dogg (David Saltsburg) to apply Deming’s 14 Points (“Methods for Management of Quality & Productivity”) it is regarding the information presented in this week’s City Controller audit report on Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) emergency response times, compared with national averages.
The philosophy and opinion of the entire hoopla may surprise some of you (probably ALL of you) — except for those who have an appreciation and profound knowledge of quality and productivity systems.
SO FIRST, here is a compilation of the LA Times, KABC & KNBC report on the matter. [All I needed…I HEARD ENOUGH! My comments will be italic and in brackets]:
Operators on average take far longer than the national standard to send rescuers, a Los Angeles Times analysis shows.
[If it is “far” longer, we may have a problem. But please define “far longer,” relative to resources; and compared to geographic territory being compared to, based on national standards. Are national fire department operators covering the same amount of geography, and the same TYPE of geography (windey hills, mega-traffic, spread out over large region); and same density of population? Same numbers of calls being responded to, compared to same fire department personnel/resources? Are L.A. dispatches more complicated than the ones in Chagrin Falls, Ohio? (Are national average fire companies stuck without their vehicles being repaired?) With a system so out of alignment, it drags the whole process down, even the dispatch. So beware numbers. It may not be “far” longer, considering LAFD has “far longer” to drive, and is most likely doing so under “far less” resources.]
L.A. City firefighters are slower to respond to medical emergencies — such as heart attacks and car crashes — than fires, and the system for tracking response times is unreliable, according to a city audit released Friday.
[If the system for tracking response time is unreliable, how do they know LAFD is slower to respond? And the reason the response times are unreliable, is because the City of Los Angeles has not made a fundamental decision to build “quality and productivity” into all City services, as a starting point. So no leader has been in charge of overseeing that; a) there IS a system in place. b) it is reliable. And also, what do you do with the information that LAFD is slower to respond to medical emergencies — than fires. In any ranking, you are always going to have a bottom end/something slower than something else. What if they were slower on fires — than medical emergencies. YOU WOULD STILL PUT THAT IN THE REPORT, AS THOUGH IT SHOULD BE EXACTLY EVEN? Perhaps, once one has profound knowledge of the system, a reason will present itself why the fire response times are faster than the medical ones. Although it may not even be able to be changed, no matter HOW MANY people you yell at, demand better results, or fire.]
L.A. City Controller’s Audit Report: “Our independent analysis and review of LAFD response times noted that public perception and trust was compromised due to the Department’s poor communication of revising their standard of performance measurement and their use of inconsistent methodology in calculating reported results.” The report also said LAFD data could not be compared to National Fire Protection Association standards due to incidents being “coded unclearly.”
[I think that single statement violates ALL 14 POINTS at once. So rather than dissect each element of the statement; here is why this is all happening: To the City of Los Angeles, “Quality & Productivity” is a “commission” that has an awards banquet, annually, recognizing quality and productivity throughout Los Angeles. AND, perhaps a report that says the city needs to do a better job collecting revenue. (And makes some suggestions on how to better collect revenue.) QUALITY & PRODUCTIVITY IS NOT A COMMISSION, WITH OR WITHOUT THE BANQUET. QUALITY & PRODUCTIVITY IS DECISION THAT IS MADE BY THE MAYOR & COUNCIL. It starts at the top, with the mayor and council deciding they are going to commit themselves to the challenge of taking on the transformation. The mayor and council are charged with the task of improving “Quality & Productivity,” NOT a COMMISSION. It is a way of life. Not an annual report.]
“Public safety is absolutely the city’s top priority,” LA Councilman Mitch Englander, the chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said in a statement. “We must have accurate numbers on fire response times because you can’t fix what you can’t measure.”
[Any IDIOT can say, “public safety is ABSOLUTELY the city’s TOP priority.” And an idiot DID say it. Because all Mr. Englander is capable of is spouting, “empty exhortations,” of which he is providing no method for achieving the goal. WE MUST HAVE ACCURATE NUMBERS!!!! MR. ENGLANDER DEMANDS ACCURATE NUMBERS!!! DON’T YOU PEOPLE KNOW…INACCURATE NUMBERS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED! Until, NEXT TIME. When he will say, “I DON’T UNDERSTAND! I SAID INACCURATE NUMBERS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!” But did anyone do anything to overhaul the system and provide a quality system and environment in which to function? Is Mr. Englander standing up to take on the task of leadership to implement Deming’s 14 Points at L.A. City Hall? Because until someone does, this report will be the same report in 2013. And, NO, Mr. Englander, I digress. You do NOT need accurate response times of previous responses to fix the system. You do not need to measure what you want to measure. Do you even HAVE a range of acceptable response times defined? And, if so; what statistics and standards do you use, for that. Mr. Englander, you should take the time fixing the measuring system — and find out how to simply FIX the problem. Does it matter by what percentage it needs fixing?]
Los Angeles Fire Chief Brian Cummings said in a statement that he had not had an opportunity to read the audit and so could only comment generally.
[LOL! The only person in the city who didn’t read the report is the only person who is in charge of doing something about it. If I were LAFD Chief, I think I would have read it, along with the reporters and rest of the city. I would think the leader of the fire department would already be well aware of problems and would be able to speak more than generally. He generally sounds like someone who is not a leader with any type of method to improve any of this.]
The Controller’s report said it was unclear if the department met its goals because nearly a third of the 1.9 million calls her office reviewed were not clearly classified as emergency or non-emergency. So there was no way to compare to the standards put out by the National Fire Protection Association. The calls, the audit said, “could be categorized as either an emergency or a non-emergency, at the discretion of the dispatcher.
[See comment below/combined with next statement.]
“The Los Angeles Fire Department is committed to dispatching the appropriate resource to the correct address as quickly as possible for every single incident to which we respond,” Cummings said.
[MOST of that is actually good “14 Point” philosophy by ZD’s interpretation. And the point of ALL of this: They send the resources as quickly as possible for every single incident to which they respond.” AND THAT IS THE LAFD MISSION STATEMENT & GUIDELINES under “Zuma Dogg for L.A. City Mayor.” The only issue I have with this otherwise simple and perfect mission statement, is LAFD is NOT “committed” to the goal, because as you can see, there has been no commitment to quality and productivity, other than appointing some commissioners toward the goal of an annual awards banquet to recognize quality. THAT is not doing anything to implement quality at City Hall and at LAFD. Though Zuma Dogg agrees with the simple mission statement and is indeed the only rule you need in the rule book, it is up to city leadership to provide an operational and functional system and environment in which to operate efficiently. The media was quick to note for everyone, how LAFD response times are slower than before. WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU LAFD PEOPLE!?!? CAN’T YOU SLIDE DOWN THE POLE IN 3% LESS TIME? CAN’T YOU RUN FASTER??? CAN’T YOU CARE MORE?!?! CAN’T YOU DO A BETTER JOB!?!? Of course I’m kidding and these are all empty exhortations that makes Councilmen like Mr. Englander feel like he’s doing something about it. And Councilman Zine can heap accolades on the new commissioner in charge with the annual”quality report.”]
It also comes as a shrinking staff of fire department mechanics are struggling to keep up with a growing backlog of repairs to the department’s fleet.
[But LAFD is being judged on numbers and it appears they are not even accurate. And they are being compared to a national standard, of which LAFD standards (conditions) may have substantial deviation from the standard of comparison. Did anyone run a control chart? SHOCKING…after cutting the budget and not able to repair emergency vehicles — and no one having any idea as to the accuracy (inaccuracy) of the numbers — LAFD is now forced to spend a lot of time and effort sorting it all out…when NONE of these response time statistics matter, in reality, anyway. People LOVE stats, but all of this evaluation, will now simply cause MORE fudging/lying/covering up to IMPROVE the numbers…but doesn’t do a THING to improve the quality of LAFD response time. The only way that is going to happen, is when the city decides to make a fundamental decision to put quality first and implement the “14 Points” philosophy.]
2013 Candidate for L.A. Mayor