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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Arrow Seminole Fire Dept. Oklahoma

    BC-OK--Seminole Fire Dept., Bjt,340
    Seminole officials waive challenge to recall election
    oklgu
    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Seminole officials will submit to a recall
    election as a way of getting the city past a controversy over fire
    department job cuts, the city's mayor said.
    "If it helps the city move forward, then it's the right
    direction," Mayor Connie Colwell said. "We've had this conflict
    since March. We'd like to settle this one way or the other."
    The election on whether Colwell and six council members get to
    keep their posts will occur along with other general voting on Nov.
    5. The officials have agreed to the vote even though city attorney
    Bradley Carter said a recall petition is invalid.
    Carter said people who circulated the petition never took an
    oath about the authenticity of its 800 signatures. Carter also
    noted that one of the petition's organizers does not live in
    Seminole.
    Critics of the mayor, council and city manager Steve Saxon say
    they have cut six of the Seminole Fire Department's 14 full-time
    firefighter positions to further their own political agendas. The
    eliminated positions were replaced with volunteer firefighters.
    "Everything he (Saxon) does seems to go against what the
    citizens of the city want," said Jason Brinker, a former Seminole
    police officer who helped circulate the petition.
    Colwell said the cuts were unavoidable as problems such as a
    deteriorating water and sewer system threatened to bring the city
    stiff fines.
    Colwell said the fire department was taking almost a quarter of
    the city's annual budget. Cutting the number of city firefighters
    will save Seminole about $220,000 a year, he said. Colwell also
    said other city departments have suffered reductions including the
    police department that lost three officer positions.
    Brinker said the recall attempt is about more than the fire
    department cuts. He said many are angry about the city's decision
    to annex a nine-mile strip of land near Interstate 40. He also said
    Seminole's leadership has lost touch with the people.

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


  2. #2
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    This story is a real shocker..Coming from a state that voted to ELIMINATE collective bargaining for firefighters.

  3. #3
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    Okay, I'll say it ... any volunteer who would agree to respond so that a city can lay off a paid fireman is a scab, slimeball, scumbag ... you can fill in the blank Mikey ... I hope this volunteer is going to buy dinner and pay rent for the out-of-work fireman and his family.

    Stay Safe

  4. #4
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    PA...The story says it all brother.

  5. #5
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    Default Here's a story that tells a little more.

    Seminole already had volunteers. The city just wants more volunteers and less career firemen.

    This has been going on for months--apparently, the citizens of Seminole are pretty fired up and are coming out in support of the firemen on this deal. It's not a volunteer versus paid issue, and they aren't trying to make it one. The issue is having adequate personnel on duty to response and be effective without waiting for volunteers for recalled off-duty personnel.

    I don't view the volunteers that were on the department
    before the layoffs as scabs--they're just doing what they always have been.

    Here's a link to an article I got from Seminole's newspaper online Seminole Producer - Local News about a council meeting in Seminole. You'll have to scroll about a quarter of the way down to read it, but here's what caught my attention: The City Council voted to approve a special election to recall the city council in response to a petition to created by supporters of the firefighters, because "it's in the best interest of the city" even though the city attorney advised that the petition was probably illegal. What kind of City Council does that?

    There is another article on that local news page about a house fire in Seminole. The department had to go back out after the fire rekindled. Here's some quotes:

    Baker said the Fire Depart-
    ment’s alarm time was 7:34 p.m.,
    and the first truck, Engine 601,
    arrived on the scene at 7:38 p.m.
    Ladder One was next, Baker
    said.
    Eventually, 11 fireman were
    on the scene, including Baker and
    Chief Ed Lemmings, and seven
    volunteers.
    At 10:20 p.m., they were
    called back, because the fire had
    rekindled.
    “There were four layers of
    shingles on the roof,” Baker said,
    “and some of them reignited.”
    This time, 20 firefighters re-
    sponded, including Baker and
    Lemmings, and 15 volunteers,
    Baker said.
    Sounds to me like they need the volunteers.

    The right-to-work legislation hasn't gone into effect in Oklahoma--it's tied up in the courts.

    Anyway, I worked for a combo department in Oklahoma. We only had 8 paid positions and we ran ambulance, which Seminole doesn't--so I know what it's like. I was also a charter member of the IAFF local when I worked there. Our problems were 1) bad leadership and 2) a poor city council & city manager. Let's just not turn this into a volunteer versus paid issue please. It's a ignorant politician issue.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  6. #6
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, this is absolutely a paid/volunteer issue. Even more unfortunate, is the fact that the city administration made it that way.

    In a combination department, the volunteers are there to supplement the paid crew. Meaning,IN ADDITION TO NOT INSTEAD OF.

    In almost all cases, volunteers existed prior to paid crews. However, once the volunteer response falls below an acceptable level, and paid crews are hired, that's it, the paid guys are there to stay. If the volunteer level skyrockets, too bad. You have already hired someone.

    No paid firemen should ever be replaced, or experience a lay off, because there is a volunteer there to take his place.

    There is no problem with an administration not hiring paid firemen because they have enough volunteers. There is a huge problem with an administration eliminating paid positions with the intent of having the slack picked up by volunteers - and any volunteer who would agree to pick up the slack while a paid man is sent home is stabbing him in the back.

    Stay Safe
    Last edited by PAVolunteer; 09-03-2002 at 03:41 PM.

  7. #7
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    I see your point.

    I meant it wasn't paid firefighters on one side of the fence and volunteer firefighters on the other, as is often the case. This time, it seems as if everybody is on the same side except the City Council.

    What about the paid men coming in for callback on their days off? Are they stabbing the guys that got laid off in the back?
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    In a combination department, the volunteers are there to supplement the paid crew. Meaning,IN ADDITION TO NOT INSTEAD OF.

    Not neccessarily, and this is one of the areas departments often never define clearly and set themselves up for a lot of bickering and grief over.

    A combo department has to decide if it's a paid department supplemented by volunteers, or a volunteer department supplmented by paid personnel. Both models work well in the proper place and proper time.

    Where you're using the wrong model for your situation, or you have two factions each of which with a different idea what kind of department you are, you're in for trouble.

    In this case like SilverCity said, it seems that it's everyone against the inept city council (accept a petition against attorney's advice?!?!?!?)

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