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  1. #1
    Rescuegunr509
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    Post PA Fire Department Quits

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...7&sectionId=46

    I am curious to what my fellow firefighters think about the PA station walking out. I have read the article a few times and my personal opinion is that this seems to be the first time I have heard of volunteers walking out. I don't think it was the smartest thing to do, but I can see the reasoning. Let me explain
    1. By walking out you only hurt the people of your district, your placing lives at risk for a minor fight with the town board. The cost of that is irreplaceable. I wouldnít want that on my head. This also places a huge burden on the other stations around this one. Having to cover their calls now it placing your problems on someone elseís plate.
    BUT
    2. I can see their point, by them walking out, they are letting the town see it is the volunteers that give up their time. It has been a long standing thought, in my mindset, that people overlook the fire service all the time, until they need them. Usually the fire and police budgets are the first to go when it comes to cutting costs, and that goes for both paid and volunteer alike. Sometimes even the community seems to forget about the fire service, until your 3 seconds late for a call. Then they care. By the station not showing up to a fire when they are called is a way to prove this point. Is it the correct way? No, not by any means, but it will get the point across really fast. I just hope this won't cost any lives. Money is a strange thing sometimes.
    I really hope this comes to an end without any lives being lost. As a note, these are my opinions and in no way meant to be derogatory to anyone, paid or volunteers.


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    In my opinion the walk-out shows a total lack of RESPONSIBILITY on the part fo the department's officers and firefighters. When they made the choice to VOLUNTEER thier time THIER COMMUNITY, they took the RESPONSIBILITY to provide fire coverage for THIER COMMUNITY. My department has also had run-ins with our dity officals, but a walk- out was NEVER an opition. We've tried to 10 years to get our city officals to approve to purchase on another badly needed pumper with THIER MONEY. Seeing that the possibility of that wasn't going to happen, we went out on our own and purchased the truck. We understand that the COMMUNITY comes first. What ever the differences between the department and the city are put aside and what it best for the COMMUNITY was done. It seems to me that the firefighters of that department need to get thier prorities in line!

  3. #3
    Forum Member 1835Wayne's Avatar
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    It sounded to me like they set up shop nearby and will probably start to respond again.
    I.A.C.O.J. Charter Member
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    "Not for fame or reward,Not for place or rank. Not lured by ambition or goaded by necessity. But in simple obedience to duty as they understood it. These men suffered,sacrificed,dared all, and died. Let us never forget our fallen friends."

  4. #4
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    Originally posted by loxfire6016
    In my opinion the walk-out shows a total lack of RESPONSIBILITY on the part fo the department's officers and firefighters. When they made the choice to VOLUNTEER thier time THIER COMMUNITY, they took the RESPONSIBILITY to provide fire coverage for THIER COMMUNITY. My department has also had run-ins with our dity officals, but a walk- out was NEVER an opition. We've tried to 10 years to get our city officals to approve to purchase on another badly needed pumper with THIER MONEY. Seeing that the possibility of that wasn't going to happen, we went out on our own and purchased the truck. We understand that the COMMUNITY comes first. What ever the differences between the department and the city are put aside and what it best for the COMMUNITY was done. It seems to me that the firefighters of that department need to get thier prorities in line!
    First of all, you need to get the whole story before you start running your mouth. Do you have any idea what is going on up there? I didn't think so.
    Read this:
    Link to Story on Windham FD
    Second of all, the correct spelling of "thier" is actually "their."

    Please continue to enlighten us w/ your whopping 3 years of experience.

    Stay Safe

  5. #5
    Forum Member 1835Wayne's Avatar
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    From my reading, and re-reading the stories about this, it seems to have been a long time coming. It is of course a shame that it had to come to this, but it was unconscionable to revoke agreements that were already in effect. The fire department is in essence striking over a breach of contract. I hope they continue to run calls so that they maintain public opinion in their favor.

    If the company I work for was to go back on an contractural agreement, you can bet we(the union) would fight them tooth and nail.

    How can we expect this department to do otherwise?
    I.A.C.O.J. Charter Member
    "Chet, get an inch and a half on that!"

    "Not for fame or reward,Not for place or rank. Not lured by ambition or goaded by necessity. But in simple obedience to duty as they understood it. These men suffered,sacrificed,dared all, and died. Let us never forget our fallen friends."

  6. #6
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    Originally posted by 1835Wayne
    How can we expect this department to do otherwise?
    Bingo ... the decision to quit (go on strike) has been an issue for 8 years. Every other single alternative has been done. When you decide to not go on strike for 8 years, when is enough enough?

    Stay Safe

  7. #7
    Forum Member 1835Wayne's Avatar
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    sounded to me like the township had renigged on some money due the department for equipment also.
    I.A.C.O.J. Charter Member
    "Chet, get an inch and a half on that!"

    "Not for fame or reward,Not for place or rank. Not lured by ambition or goaded by necessity. But in simple obedience to duty as they understood it. These men suffered,sacrificed,dared all, and died. Let us never forget our fallen friends."

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by PAVolunteer

    First of all, you need to get the whole story before you start running your mouth. Do you have any idea what is going on up there? I didn't think so.
    Read this:
    Link to Story on Windham FD
    Second of all, the correct spelling of "thier" is actually "their."

    Please continue to enlighten us w/ your whopping 3 years of experience.

    Stay Safe
    PAVolunter,

    1. I read 3 three articles on this subject before I made those comments about that situation. One thing I know for sure is that you do not trust anyone in politics.

    2. I grew up around the fire service. My father has been a volunteer for 21 years now and has risen through the ranks to Chief of our department. It was only 3 years ago that I could legally join the department as member.

    3. If you wanted to correct peolpes spelling, maybe you should devote your spare time to teaching rather that firefighting.

  9. #9
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    Originally posted by loxfire6016
    1. I read 3 three articles on this subject before I made those comments about that situation. One thing I know for sure is that you do not trust anyone in politics.
    You are obviously lying. If you had, you would not have posted what you did.
    Originally posted by loxfire6016
    2. I grew up around the fire service. My father has been a volunteer for 21 years now and has risen through the ranks to Chief of our department. It was only 3 years ago that I could legally join the department as member.
    Congratufrickinlations.
    Originally posted by loxfire6016
    3. If you wanted to correct peolpes spelling, maybe you should devote your spare time to teaching rather that firefighting.
    ... but you make it so easy!!!

    Stay Safe

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    Pavolunteer, Does this hit close to home? It sounds like it may be closely related to you. If it is, keep strong and negotiate in good faith so that all look like winners when this thing is worked out. We all know that what we read doesn't ever closely relate the truth, but how else do we ever learn? Again, good luck to all the firefighters and the community.
    Also, loxfire, you do make it easy. Slow down and look at the keyboard. Your not on a run, your posting.

  11. #11
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    Originally posted by dcems348
    Pavolunteer, Does this hit close to home?
    Geographically ... no. This is very far north in PA. I am in South Central PA.
    In other ways ... yes. The way that Volunteer FD's are run in PA is so screwed up, that it is pretty scary when stuff like this starts happening. Administratively, almost nothing has changed in PA from when Ben Franklin started the first FD.

    Click here to read another thread regarding how the Volunteer Fire Service is set up in PA.

    If a precedent is set that if the township doesn't want to give the FD the necessary support, all they have to do is fire them (or force them to "go on strike") and start their own, it could be very dangerous.

    Stay Safe

  12. #12
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    PA, why could it be very dangerous for a town to start up their own Department?
    As I stated in the thread in the Firefighters forum, any Municipality has a right to start their own Department. If they are willing to fund it properly why would that be a bad thing? And theoretically should they start a "rival" Department, they can easily order Dispatch to send only "their" trucks can they not?
    I have chosen no side in this issue as there isn't near enough unbiased information. I sit here though and shake my head when I read some complaining about how they don't get a penny from their Municipality, while others say we don't want a penny from our Municipality because then they couldn't spend the money the way THEY want, to others complaining about the Municipality deciding to take full control and responsibility for maintaining a Department as they should.
    The impression I get is that a Municipality should fully fund the Department, yet not want any input or accountability for where the money goes, what type of equipment is purchased or what image the Fire Department portrays.
    It sucks, but we can't have it all.

  13. #13
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    PAVol,
    I've read other post you put in another forum. Just to let you know we do things like that in Alabama too. Volunteer departments are under funded all over, not just in PA. We have had fund raisers in the past to raise money for things we needed that weren't budgeted by the town. It's not easy, but the money can be found if you work for it. Many departments in my county do not even have the privilage of a township to back it what-so-ever. BUT all the department recieve tax money that comes off land and sale taxes in the county. Our whold state is setup like this. Some counties recieve more than others because of tax base, but in each county the money is destributed evenly. Maybe the solution can't be found within the municipility, but by going to the state government to past some type of legislation. AND...Let's quit with this immature bickering and have a reasonable conversation.

  14. #14
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Did I read correctly? The Wyndham FD pays the municipality $15,000 per year for "use of the building" and then the municipality is supposed to pay the FD $8500 for services? Is that correct?

    If so, it seems pretty damn simple to me. Take the 8500 out of the 15,000 and their all set.

    If all they are bitching about is money, get them some cheese to go with their whine. You say a "volunteer group" is bad mouthing them? Get your butts to meetings and out in the public and tell the truth. Ever hear of Newspaper articles?

    I'm with LadyCapn on this, there is not enough unbiased information here.


    And for anyone who cares, my Department is municipally funded. The town buys the trucks and equipment and pays for training. The members of the departments raised monies to build our building and we rent space to the town to park their trucks. It's a great deal. We go to them and say "Hey, we need a new truck." They say Ok, tell us how much and we'll bond it when your ready. We get an annual budget, which of course is never as much as what we want, but you work with what you got. Don't be afraid of municipalities, learn to work with them.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    Default If I may intervene.....

    loxfire:
    I started a thread similar to this over in the General Discussions.
    I believe that it is an important and perhaps, a national, precedent-setting case. I want to see this discussion continue, but it won't if we don't step back and calm down a little.
    Your first reply was directed at the volunteers from Windham and their responsibility to their community. Please keep in mind that the township supervisors run the show in Pennsylvania. Trust me; I'm from Illinois and it is alot different here, as I'm sure it is different in Alabama. The good folks from PA have taken the time to educate me to their brand of township government.
    And I can give you my opinion here; township government is the biggest waste of tax money without question. However, fire protection districts are the best investment taxpayers will ever make.
    You challenged the heart of every man and woman who have fought the tyranny of their township governments. You struck a nerve with PA Volunteer who has been working within this framework for many years.
    And he doesn't need my support or sympathy; he can handle himself.
    I am a chief and have been for 14 years. I sympathize with the firefighters in this case. I have been forced over the years to take drastic measures. It may not appear at the moment like it was in the best interests of the community, but they need to understand the predicament their elected officials have put them in. There needs to be a complete separation of the players in this case or it will cause additional problems for years to come. And let's face it; that means replace the firefighters or replace the twp. supervisors. It would be an easy choice for me. In fact, we did just that back in 1990!
    It's not the firefighters that are the problem. Now, the community suffers. The township supervisors will just continue to stroke each other's ego like nothing has happened.
    I wish that the fire department had stayed and duked it out, but this calls for "whatever it takes".
    Have a spirited debate. Stick to the issues and try not to get personal. This thread needs to stay open.
    CR
    Last edited by ChiefReason; 02-13-2003 at 09:53 AM.
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  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber EFD840's Avatar
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    Default Whoa, that ain't true!

    loxfire6016,

    From reading your posts, I believe that you really mean well but your statement

    all the department recieve tax money that comes off land and sale taxes in the county. Our whold state is setup like this. Some counties recieve more than others because of tax base, but in each county the money is destributed evenly.
    simply isn't true. Alabama has NO statewide funding mechanism for volunteer fire departments except for the $2500 Forestry commission grant. Many counties have no guaranteed source of funds. In addition, most counties do not have 'home rule' so any taxes or fees save those used to support education must be enacted by the state legislature and approved by the voters of that county.

    Many counties do have some sort of tax or fee funding for their departments. The most common are tobacco taxes, flat-rate assessments (usually $25-$35 a house), or a property tax based on value but not all of these are evenly divided. In my county (Elmore), we get $25 per house and $50 per business but the money goes to the department providing protection. Some departments get well over $100,000 but several that cover rural areas get less than 10,000.

    In case you doubt me, here's some background. I'm the assistant chief of my department and in charge of most administrative functions, I serve on our county fire association's funding committee and I serve on the city council. I know my stuff in this area.

    As I said earlier, I think you mean well and I'm not looking to pick a fight with you but if you want to engage the folks that regularly post on these forums in a "reasonable conversation", you simply must have your facts straight.

  17. #17
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    Originally posted by LadyCapn
    PA, why could it be very dangerous for a town to start up their own Department?
    I never said it would be dangerous for a town to start its own department. I said that it would be dangerous to set a precedent that, if there was a conflict between the municipality and the FD - be it personal, political, or your dog crapped on my lawn so I'm gonna pull the rug out from under you - all the municipality has to do is cut the funding for the FD and they are out of business.
    Originally posted by LadyCapn
    As I stated in the thread in the Firefighters forum, any Municipality has a right to start their own Department.
    Agreed ... this is America, after all.
    Originally posted by LadyCapn
    If they are willing to fund it properly why would that be a bad thing?
    Picture this ... for the past 20 years, you have devoted your entire life to a volunteer department. Midnight, 2AM, 5AM, noon ... you have gotten out of bed, left work - all to keep the citizens in your community safe. Every weekend, you have made chicken corn soup, BBQ'd chicken, cooked up pancakes - all to buy bunker gear so that your fellow firemen would be safe. During all this time, the township that you protect gives you $10 G's a year (which barely covers electricity and diesel fuel), and charges you rent for the building you are in. Fine, it sucks, but you have a working relationship. Then, because of a stupid conflict between you and the township, a conflict that did NOT arise out of a concern for public safety, you lose your $10 G's, and you lose your building. Note that the township has made no arrangement for other fire protection, yet. Where does that leave the volunteers? The township has been taking a dump in your kitchen for the past 20 years, and you've been cleaning it up ... well now they decide they don't like dumping in your kitchen anymore, and somehow, you are forced out of your kitchen ... and the citizens of the township are left with no where to dump.
    Originally posted by LadyCapn
    And theoretically should they start a "rival" Department, they can easily order Dispatch to send only "their" trucks can they not?
    Yes, they can do that if they like.
    Originally posted by LadyCapn
    I sit here though and shake my head when I read some complaining about how they don't get a penny from their Municipality, while others say we don't want a penny from our Municipality because then they couldn't spend the money the way THEY want, to others complaining about the Municipality deciding to take full control and responsibility for maintaining a Department as they should.
    The impression I get is that a Municipality should fully fund the Department, yet not want any input or accountability for where the money goes, what type of equipment is purchased or what image the Fire Department portrays.
    Here's an example for you ... a municipality in my immediate vicinity just purchased a new engine and tower for their FD. FD wanted manufacturer A, municipality wanted manufacturer B (a certain manufacturer which begins with a K and ends in ME). Of course, manufacturer B is the low bidder. FD presents soundproof case of why the extra $$$$ for manufacturer A would be worth it. Municipality says, we don't care, we're going with manufacturer B. As a result, the tower purchased has been out of service for over 19% of the first 365 days after it was initially placed into service. So, who was right? Does the FD have a right to bitch about the municipality directing their money? Sure they do! Do the citizens? Sure they do! Note that the people making the decisions for the municipality don't know a piece of fire apparatus from a hole in the ground.

    Accountability, yes. Input, yes. Complete domination and control. Heck NO.
    Originally posted by loxfire6016
    I've read other post you put in another forum. Just to let you know we do things like that in Alabama too. Volunteer departments are under funded all over, not just in PA.
    I know all too well. It is absolutely a national dilemma. This is taking place in PA. It just as easily could be in anytown, USA.
    Originally posted by loxfire6016
    Maybe the solution can't be found within the municipility, but by going to the state government to past some type of legislation.
    I know. The goal of most PA Volunteers is to get the state to get more involved and oversee things more. Power is subdivided too much, and too many people have way too much power.
    Originally posted by loxfire6016
    Let's quit with this immature bickering and have a reasonable conversation.
    Good idea ... agreed.

    Stay Safe
    Last edited by PAVolunteer; 02-13-2003 at 09:54 AM.

  18. #18
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    So basically what it boils down to is that a town, county, fire district whatever should not only 100% fund the Department, which I have absolutely no problem with.....but they should only fund YOUR Department.

    We all agree that there is no reason you SHOULD be out there raising funds for necessary equipment. That should be the responsibility of the governing body of the Municipality.

    However, having said that, it is fair to say that this is inappropriate as well? (Sorry Chief Woods )

    " WE DON'T WANT LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO BUY THE APPARATUS. Our county buys apparatus for those locations or purposes that the local volunteer companies cannot provide for. This apparatus is wholly paid for, designed by, titled to, and painted and lettered for, the county government. Yes, they have every right to do this, it's their money. And yes, they have made that very clear to everyone, with a very Ham-Handed approach of "here it is, you have to take it as it is and like it". Some of our VFD's are driving very old, badly worn apparatus to avoid taking something from the county as they (in fact, all of us) feel that the county is trying hard to eliminate the individual identities of the volunteer organizations so they can have their "one big faceless county fire department"

    So because they can't do it their way they will drive very old worn out apparatus just because they can't paint it what colour they want, or stick whatever decals they want on it? I am amazed that any Municipality (I will use this word in lieu of county, town, district etc) would allow that when faced with the liability issues. Or any Department for that matter.....I can just see the inquest now.
    Coroner......And sir the County offered you a brand new engine however you declined this offer even though you knew the engine you were driving was unreliable? And that there was a possibility it would operate properly at a fire?
    Chief........That is true sir
    Coroner......And Chief, please tell us why did you decline this offer?
    Chief........Well sir, we wanted it painted snot green and purple and the County insisted it be painted the same colour as the rest of the trucks in the County. And they wouldn't let us put our Taz in firegear stickers on the side, said it looked unprofessional. So we didn't want their darned brand new engine at all.
    Besides, they wouldn't let us put more bells and whistles on it so that we could have a better truck than Hardee Har County down the road!!!! Can you imagine????
    ****Disclaimer....things have been exaggerated for sarcasm purposes.***

    All Municipalities have tender processes, they have rules and regulations dealing with how large purchases are made. If you feel that the wrong choices are made then ask to form a committee with representation from the Fire Department and the Municipality. EDUCATE them on why this particular equipment is needed. (and no, just because so and so County has this doesn't make it a legitimate request)
    As for individuality, there is no reason why a small area on the truck cannot be utilized for some type of recognition of that areas history etc. But again, most areas have rules governing how municipal vehicle will look. Again, this is something that can be compromised on. Again, EDUCATE.
    You can't have it both ways. You can't have full or any funding and not expect to have to be accountable. Hell, you should also be fully accountable to all those people who attend your pancake breakfasts, or throw money into your boot. They are providing that money to contribute to fire protection in their community, and as such are fully within their rights to demand a full accounting of every penny.
    Our system here is completely different. We are not allowed to just up and start a Department where and when ever we feel like it. The local Municipality is responsible for full funding of the Fire Dept. Some areas are good, some are bad. But I will tell you that the Departments whose staff have made the effort to educate their council in a professional manner, usually want for little.


    The point of this is this....

    1. All Counties, Towns, Districts etc should be responsible for providing fire protection in their community. Whether they chose to operate a Department on their own, or fully fund a Department/Departments of their choosing.

    2. If full funding is provided than the Counties, Towns, Districts etc have full input into how the Department is run.

    3. While they may be appreciative of the work you have done and the committment you have made, being open and accountable will probably earn your Department the right to carry on providing service.

    Normally this type of thing doesn't happen unless they are frustrated with lack of information on how the money is spent or by a sense of being shut out of everything by those running the Department.
    Last edited by LadyCapn; 02-13-2003 at 03:08 PM.

  19. #19
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    Originally posted by LadyCapn
    So basically what it boils down to is that a town, county, fire district whatever should not only 100% fund the Department, which I have absolutely no problem with.....but they should only fund YOUR Department.
    Isn't it THEIR department too? Aren't they benefiting from it too? Why does it have to OURS or THEIRS? Why can't it be everyone's? Why in the heck would you waste the money to start a new department when you already have a perfectly good one? That is the problem. That is where the personal agendas and the ridiculous waste of money come in.
    Originally posted by LadyCapn
    " WE DON'T WANT LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO BUY THE APPARATUS. Our county buys apparatus for those locations or purposes that the local volunteer companies cannot provide for. This apparatus is wholly paid for, designed by, titled to, and painted and lettered for, the county government. Yes, they have every right to do this, it's their money. And yes, they have made that very clear to everyone, with a very Ham-Handed approach of "here it is, you have to take it as it is and like it". Some of our VFD's are driving very old, badly worn apparatus to avoid taking something from the county as they (in fact, all of us) feel that the county is trying hard to eliminate the individual identities of the volunteer organizations so they can have their "one big faceless county fire department"

    So because they can't do it their way they will drive very old worn out apparatus just because they can't paint it what colour they want, or stick whatever decals they want on it? I am amazed that any Municipality (I will use this word in lieu of county, town, district etc) would allow that when faced with the liability issues. Or any Department for that matter.....I can just see the inquest now.
    Coroner......And sir the County offered you a brand new engine however you declined this offer even though you knew the engine you were driving was unreliable? And that there was a possibility it would operate properly at a fire?
    Chief........That is true sir
    Coroner......And Chief, please tell us why did you decline this offer?
    Chief........Well sir, we wanted it painted snot green and purple and the County insisted it be painted the same colour as the rest of the trucks in the County. And they wouldn't let us put our Taz in firegear stickers on the side, said it looked unprofessional. So we didn't want their darned brand new engine at all.
    Besides, they wouldn't let us put more bells and whistles on it so that we could have a better truck than Hardee Har County down the road!!!! Can you imagine????
    ****Disclaimer....things have been exaggerated for sarcasm purposes.***
    Where is all this coming from? Who ever said that the members of the department, and only the members of the department should have supreme executive power over all funding and decisions relating to fire service?
    Originally posted by LadyCapn
    All Municipalities have tender processes, they have rules and regulations dealing with how large purchases are made. If you feel that the wrong choices are made then ask to form a committee with representation from the Fire Department and the Municipality. EDUCATE them on why this particular equipment is needed. (and no, just because so and so County has this doesn't make it a legitimate request)
    If you read my example posted above, I already stated that this was done - but to no avail.
    Originally posted by LadyCapn
    As for individuality, there is no reason why a small area on the truck cannot be utilized for some type of recognition of that areas history etc. But again, most areas have rules governing how municipal vehicle will look. Again, this is something that can be compromised on. Again, EDUCATE.
    That is great, and for the most part, is done. It is not done when personal agendas (on either side) get in the way.
    Originally posted by LadyCapn
    You can't have it both ways. You can't have full or any funding and not expect to have to be accountable. Hell, you should also be fully accountable to all those people who attend your pancake breakfasts, or throw money into your boot. They are providing that money to contribute to fire protection in their community, and as such are fully within their rights to demand a full accounting of every penny.
    Who ever said that this should not be the case?

    Stay Safe

  20. #20
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    EFD840,
    I'm apoloize for my error. I am aware of the money recieved from Ala. Forestry, but I thought that the tax money was a state wide thing too. I think that the forestry money can only be spent on certain things, correct? I know that the tax money helps out a great deal, especially in the rural areas with no municipal funding. Each department recieves about $80,000/yr. (regardless of municipal or rural, and we also have 5 vol/paid departments that get the same) as of right now, and it increases a little each year. Like I said this helps the rural departments a great deal. It also helps we municipal departments, but only to a certain point. Because we have to deal the town leaders it can be a long drawn out process to make the purchase of anything. Rural departments do not come across this problem and spend the money how they want, when they want, and with no questions asked.

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