1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Dispute in PA, Support the Firefighters!

    Hello Brother Firefighters!

    Members of the Donora Fire Company are locked in a dispute with their local council over a long-running lack of support. The situation recently came to a head when council threatened suspension of Chief Dennis Shawley over use of a rescue boat and about 10 members of the department turned in their pagers, saying they were taking a 30-day "vacation". Read about the dispute at http://www.firehouse.com/news/2000/6/14_strike.html and send your support to shawley@westol.com

    All letters of support will be forwarded to our borough council members.

    Thanks for your support and stay safe!

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    Where do we send the letters NOT supporting the strike. Five years ago, our Fire District suspended two of our chiefs', one of them justifiably, one of them not. (My opinion on the justification). At that time there was talk of going on strike, and we decided, as a department, that that was the wrong thing to do. We all have family and friends that live in our jurisdiction. What good does it do them if nobody answers the call for help. Luckily, the situation was resolved amicably, and now we have a very good relationship with our Fire District. I know that I'm rambling, so I'll consolidate my statement to these seven words:

    Going on strike is NOT the answer.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Here is more information on the Donora dispute that I posted in "Firefighters Forum". It may shed more light on the root of this problem.


    I am a firefighter in Donora, and one of the 10 who took a 30-day "vacation". My father is the chief that faces possible disciplinary action. I want to clear a few things up here, and I'll be more than happy to answer questions via email at shawley@westol.com.
    The REAL issue here is NOT the possible suspension or the use of the boat. It is the lack of financial support from the borough and their absolute refusal to discuss possible solutions to this problem. For example, we presented them with a plan to purchase a new $600,000 ladder truck using Community Block Grant money that would not directly cost the taxpayer A SINGLE DIME. Our idea was ignored.
    We conduct weekly bingos, and we're lucky if we net $100-200 in a month anymore. Our direct mail fundraising has a 25% or less return rate. When you take a look at the budget we get from the borough, we get $4000 a year to spend on equipment with ABSOLUTE refusal to discuss ways of increasing funding.
    These men, including myself, walked away to open some eyes. We have tried every other way possible of reasoning and dealing with these elected officials. We simply cannot survive without additional support. If our department goes bankrupt, where is the borough then? They are faced with the need to hire a paid department at an estimated annual cost of nearly $500,000!! 1/4 of the total budget now!!
    We're not doing this to jeopardize public safety. We're doing it to PROTECT the public from the grim possibilities in the future.
    As I said before, I'll be more than happy to answer your questions as best I can via email (shawley@westol.com) and I'll be glad to listen to your views.

    Thanks for being interested,
    Justin Shawley
    Donora Fire Company

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Please don't call me "Brother"

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I feel for your department....but striking or " waklking out" on the citizens of your community is WRONG! I CAN NOT AGREE WITH THAT..you as a firefighter and a public servant should know better, there are other more appropriate ways to get you point across than to jeopardize your fellow " man"....

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    I have read all you articles and such on this situation and the bottom line is YOU ARE WRONG as far as Im concerned.The Chief deserves the suspension if not removed from his position. He deliberatly disobeyed a direct order from his "boss" (town council).As for the other people who turned in their pagers,good riddens to them.They show me that they are there for the lights and siren playtime and such.They arent there for what they are supposed to be and that is To answer the communities needs! The council had a reason to tell them no to the boat outing.it was a big liability.Apparently they were out there to play on the boat at the festival and show it off and could care less about the position of liability they brought onto the citizens and town. Also you said you just got the boat which tells me you didnt have one before so why the rush to put it out immediately ? It should have waited a week or a month or whatever it would have taken to get all the legal "ducks" in a row. the only way I could have seen bucking council is if there was an actual rescue to respond to which there wasnt.I feel some guys wanted to go play with the new "toy" and now they need to pay the penalty as far as Im concerned.As for the comment about a paid fire dept,Maybe a paid Chief would have done the right thing and remembered he is there for the needs of the public not to play with the new toys.

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I have kept my composure in these posts until this point. This last post from a PAID firefighter is all I can take. Try doing what you do for no money. There are thousands of volunteers across the country who do exactly what you do for NOTHING, and save the taxpayers BILLIONS over what a "professional" (and I use that term VERY loosely) department would cost. They also get all of their equipment handed to them. When's the last time a paid firefighter had to run a bingo to pay for a new truck? How about a fish fry for new SCBAs?
    Ever see a paid department in action? They usually end up with a parking lot instead of a building. I am absolutely sick and tired of PAID firefighters criticizing volunteers. You think paid departments are the solution to all problems. A paid department would be the death of a small town like Donora.

    We've taken a stand to make sure the volunteer fire department continues to provide the BEST service to our residents. We don't have a union negiotiator. We fight our own battles. And we don't collect a check for our time.

    This boat was not a TOY. We were officially asked by a neighboring company to standby as a RESCUE BOAT in case of accident during powerboat races. I happen to know that the City of Pittsburgh provides the same service to the Three Rivers Regatta. Are they just out there "playing with their toys"? Or are they providing a needed service?

    Come spend a day in our shoes, and let me go fight fires for pay. My shift lasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Yours lasts 8 hours, and you get days off. Take your head out of the union hall (and another place you probably have it stuck most of the time) before you speak. I've got a set of gear just your size waiting here in Donora.

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