I recognize this post comes at a time when many of you are hopping as the season bears down on everyone. However it is critical that we hear from folks in Forest Service "Regions" other than R-5 (since we know what’s going on there) as it relates to a Forest’s application, or lack thereof of USDA Departmental Regulation 5400-005, Use of Government Vehicle for Home to Work. We also need to hear from those in all DOI agencies if possible about those agency’s policy for on-cal Duty Chief, if so assigned, and their ability to take their command vehicles home with them.
FS firefighters should know that Agency FAM shares a similar feeling about the regulation’s application as we do and I am confident the Agency will address the "unintended consequences" of the Regulation with Sec. Vilsack of the USDA, hopefully before a delayed response as a result of a Forest Supervisor refusing or limiting the use of a command vehicle for those "on-call" results in injury or death of a firefighter or member of the Public.
Further, if anyone who has been "on-call" as a Duty Chief for the FS, R-5 included, we’d like to know if they have ever been apprised that those taking home a Gov’t vehicle, may, IAW USDA Regulation 2600-001 "be subject to fringe benefit witholdings." I would suspect that most of you would agree that taking home a Command vehicle while being uncompensated for being ready to respond at a moment’s notice to make split-second life or death decisions isn’t a "fringe benefit" it is an absolute necessity.
Any info would be appreciated. As always folks can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 208-775-4577.
Best Wishes to all for the safest of seasons,