We're getting some interesting comments on the subject: http://firehousezen.com/2011/02/08/more/

We'd love to hear your lucid thoughts.  Note: Lucid.  No ranting please.

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ruf, ruf, ruf......ruf, ruf, ruf.......ruf, ruf, ruf, ruf, ruf
Ha, exactly.
I dont see Ralph saying the ADMIN did not get fat too. I Agree they did, and so did the shareholders. This is NOT his point. He stated it clearly "They both worked hard for their money, but $72,000 a year to squirt sealant under the wheel wells? She averaged about $99,000 a year with OT. My wife is a Masters (Plus), teaches at a state university and what she makes is a fraction of what my mom did." How does THAT amount compare to what is paid to a Firefighter? or a Teacher? or someone at a non-union factory working just as hard. NO ONE GROUP is FULLY responsible. Unions (public and private) are seen by MANY as bloated leeches, Wall street types are seen to steal big $$$ and politicians are known to waste TONS of money on NON essential items. ALL of this was accepted by too many of us for too long when the economy supported it - guess what, that is NOT true today. You, Me and Everyone with job knows we work hard for our money and have to give too much of it to Fed/State/Local Gvmts. I know I earn my pay, but I do not want to PAY more in taxes. Other writers are correct, our communities WILL prioritize spending. It is UP to all of us to HELP our communities CHOSE wisely how to spend dwindling revenues. I dont want to see 1 group pull others down. Ideally, I would like to see more Americans have that truck/boat/vacation/education/etc they dream of. The reality is that we may have to wait a few (or many) years to see our economy recover enough for all of us to prosper again. Read the post below (John Crabbe) he is much more eloquent than I am.
interesting post. i had the same discussion with a guy in line at wal mart when he commented on my FD shirt. He said, "you fire guys make a lot of money, why are you shopping at wally world?". i asked how he came to that conclusion and "like the article" he commented about the vehicles and the toys we tow. i told him in my case, i (and my wife) make a good saliry and benifits and have no complaint but most FF's work on their days off to increase their incomes so that we can enjoy some of the better things in life. He asked what my side job was and i told him and he figured that i was getting a good chunk of change there too, (which i confirmed without specifics). he said that "my FD saliry should be cut if i was doing that good." (compleatly serious)

i asked if he had a yard sale last year? (we have a lot of them in this town) and he said he participated in a community yard sale. i asked him how much he made and he told me. i asked what he did for a living and he told me. i said, well your saliry should be adjusted to reflect your influx of cash too. he quickly said "i'm not a public employee" i said well would you like to only pay for the fire department when you use them? he said that would be nice because he has never had to use the FD. i agreed that would be fair- but you do understand that operating costs increase every year and if we respond you would pay right? what if i could not afford to to pay the current rate. well then in the interest of fairness you would have to sign the house and property over to the FD to satsify the debt, AND if a firefighter got seriously injured or killed, you would be liable for the expenses espically if the fire was preventable or god forbid arson, is that still fair to you? he had to stop there getting that the system that is in place serves everyone equaly. it is not the greatest i admit but it works for the most part.

cutting salirys is a reality of working in public service and it is something i have accepted when i took the job. but if i can make additional funds to increase my standard of living for myself and my family, why should i incur a penality just for making more money?

through taxes, the expense of operation is spread amoung everyone which is fair weather you use the service or not because in a "pay for play situation", you get no service outside your home community because if you are on vacation in my state (florida-and we get alot of out of state visitors) and use the service, the locals not you pay for it...is that fair to them? or would you like to wait for your home department to come take care of you?

of course thats not going to happen and the fire service should do a better job of selling themselves to the community. i'm trying to educate when i can but like the article said, people are fed up and fustrated that public employee pensions are large and the public is footing the bill and pissed about it. we had a chief retire and request a lump sum payout and got it. while the specifics of his deal caused questions, i reminded the complainers that he didnt steal the money. it was money he was promised and the contract was fufilled-PERIOD!

the deal i signed up for is the deal i should get, nothing more-nothing less. i kept my end of the bargin and now since the economy is bad (and because i'm a public employee) i and others should loose it? NO WAY. i didnt have a crystal ball when i signed up. i took what i was offered and hoped the future would work out. should i take a saliry cut? if thats what needs to happen, ok but to cut my agreed upon benifits, NO. My department was non union in my time, they are union now and they did it as a defensive move to safeguard what they have. i cant fault them for that

i've allways thought it was funny that "elected folks" make 4 times what i make and want to cut the "working folks" first then claim that their saliry "is mandated by the state and cannot be reduced without a change in law" (so GIVING it back was never an option?) and i'm sorry, the cops the FF's and the medics risk should be a factor in the descision because 10 years ago on a tuesday in september america saw what we are made of and right after, gave us a blank check to do things. i said at that time "thats not gonna last", "we'll be back to fire department as usual" within 10 years and "here we are". even if we were not in a recession i'm sure our popularity would have faded by now. i dont see too many american flags in front of houses anymore (i still got mine out) and when a member of the armed forces comes home dead, its forgotten in a few days. patriotism should not be worn on ones sleeve

thats my spout. the article was good, i wish i had a better solution...funny the slang is when you are in trouble dial 911...who picks up the phone when the government dials 911?
well said jack
I think that for every dollar politicians cut they should lose 10 from their salary. And while most know me know that I'm not a big fan of unions and self-admitted that I don't know a lot about them, I am learning how things work in that world and it's not as bad as I've been told all my life. But we all know politicians make way too much and should have their salaries cut first and foremost, as well as lose some of their staffers and benefits. And I also wish they would eliminate a lot of the wasteful programs they support and idiotic studies they fund. And Jack not all us tea folks are bad people I drink tea all the time LOL.
When times are booming.. public employees are told they work for chump change...
When the economy takers a dive.. suddenly we are overpaid and underworked...

Whern the defacation hits the oscillation, the politicians rally around for the photo ops with the cops and firefighters...

After the hoopla dies down.. we are pariahs in their eyes...

John and Jane Teabagger love to yell cut my taxes...
John and Jane Teabagger scream when their services get cut as a result....
Right on the mark Ron.
I cannot expand or improve upon any of the comments below, so I won't try. As cool as this venue is to us, we must be willing to demonstrate the same clarity and reason in public venues. Union leaders, and elected Volunteer FPD boards alike must be willing and able to provide these hard facts to the public when such rhetoric demands it. One ranting comment in a newspaper may not warrant a media blitz, but intelligent replies to the public when questions of pay, funding, duties, etc arise is what those leaders signed on for. They must do it. UAW contract salaries got you down? Fine, point out to the public, those are exceptions, not the rule. Criminals getting disability from one job while working full time at another? Great, notice that is a criminal doing criminal things. Might as well complain about the FD when your purse is snatched.
You got it. Its a cycle.

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