Is it all about safety or is it all about the money or is it all about the union and salaries and benefits?
The recent discussion focused on the emotional high note of having three operating fire stations complete with a smorgasbord of EMT’s available for the growing populous. No argument with that as all one has to do is cruise down Route 28 and see the 4X8 placard in front of the station spray painted with “Station closed.”
During the discussion the previous week you had a line of firefighters and/or their relatives and - of course - the out of town firefighters who support the grant that has been discussed over and over and over. The mind numbing figures that never seem to have any connection to one another. The projections which are just that. Insurance regulations, mileage, equipment expenses and all the assorted minutiae that makes me thankful I am not on FinCom, BOS or the Chief.
So is it really all about that main focal point of safety? That was the trump card. Like any good poker player the BOS called the bluff - deliberately or not - by attaching “concessions” to the grant. The classic Quid Pro Quo. I doubt this was planned strategy but it did take the BOS off the temporary hook and dump it firmly into the hands of the firefighters. You want this? You talked of safety? OK….give us 5% or even 10% back in salaries and benefits to show us you can do the walk after doing the talk. How about call firefighters that have been used extensively in the past and are in other communities? Is this really a union inspired roadblock?
Now....contingent on concessions from the firefighters’ union is a phrase I see in The Enterprise. Does no concessions kill this? Will the BOS then scuttle this?
Now if the firefighters do give concessions that in turn will open the door for revisiting other contracts that may be in negotiation. It may be a revisiting to all those retirees.
The BOS seemed to be almost uniform in the necessity of playing some fiscal hardball down the line with all the town unions simply because at our current way of doing business it is fiscally unsustainable.