1. #1
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    Angry Panel Decides To Close Eight FDNY Firehouses

    (New York-AP, April 4, 2003) The blue ribbon panel appointed to determine whether eight firehouses should be shuttered due to the city's budget crisis has decided to close the stations, officials said Friday.
    The closings come as the city faces a projected $3.4 billion to $4 billion budget deficit in fiscal year 2004, which starts July 1. The closures would shave about $11 million off the fire department's $1 billion annual budget.

    "It is a small number for the amount of safety they provide," said City Council member Erik Martin Dilan, who represents a Brooklyn area where one of the firehouses is located.

    Opponents of the closures have expressed concerns about response times in the affected neighborhoods and questioned whether the closures would make the city more susceptible to a terrorist attack. The fire department lost 343 members during the World Trade Center attack.

    "I believe that this is a threat to public safety," said council member Hiram Monserrate, who represents portions of Queens. "In firefighters' response, sometimes seconds can make a difference between life and death. And in an era of Orange alerts and a war on terror, the firefighters of the city of New York are our frontline defenders."

    When the Bloomberg administration first proposed closing the stations earlier this year, the decision was decried during rallies and protests held by firefighters, city council members and residents from neighborhoods where the firehouses are located.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg eventually delayed implementing the closures in favor of appointing a blue ribbon commission to decide the issue, though administration officials said the panel was likely to come to the same conclusion as the administration.

    The mayor and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller each appointed two panel members and three members of the FDNY: Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, Chief of Department Frank Cruthers and Chief of Operations Salvatore Cassano.

    Bloomberg appointed Stanely Brezenoff, the president and chief executive officer of Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, and Geoffrey Canada, the president and chief executive officer of Harlem's Children Zone, an organization that provides educational and economic opportunities to families.

    The speaker's appointments were Frank Fellini, a retired assistant fire chief and the former Brooklyn borough commander, and Glenn Corbett, an assistant professor of fire science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

    The panel had originally been scheduled to report back March 21, but their work was delayed several times.

    The vote, which occurred Thursday, was 5-to-2 in favor of the closings. The two council appointees voted to keep the stations open.

    "It's not unexpected," said Uniformed Fire Officers Association president Steve Cassidy. "Closing firehouses day or night will result in the deaths of civilians and firefighters."

    The closures will not take place for at least 90 days.

    The Bloomberg administration and the fire department had no immediate comment Friday.

    Due to the budget crisis, the fire department also faces layoffs of some civilian workers and the closure of up to 37 fire stations at night - which would save about $23.5 million.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    "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?

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    Thumbs down So much for homeland security

    It is a good idea that they close 37 houses at night...Because fires only occur during the day

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    Angry

    The World Trade center is attacked and the twin tower's collapse, You would think after that the City would learn that proposing cuts in vital services such as the fire department would not be a good idea

    Guess the City of New York still hasn't learned there lesson
    LOOK ELSEWHERE TO IMPOSE YOUR BUDGET CUTS!

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    Which houses are closing? Anyone know?
    No longer an explorer, but I didn't wanna lose my posts.

    IACOJ 2003

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    Just when the city needs "every swinging dick in the field", to paraphrase a line in Platoon, the Blue Ribbon (?) panel decides to reccommend closing 8 firehouses.

    I also wonder which 4H club awarded the blue ribbon and in what catagory??? Certainly not public safety...

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    Mayor Michael Bloomberg eventually delayed implementing the closures in favor of appointing a blue ribbon commission to decide the issue, though administration officials said the panel was likely to come to the same conclusion as the administration.
    ... there's a shock ...

    Stay Safe

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    So, the real question is, do the houses to be closed cover the areas where the mayor, city council, and administration live. After all, they should share to the risk of a delayed response.

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    This is the petition so many residents of New York City signed and sent to the Mayor, myself included. Yes the city is in debt, but after what we went through and with the FBI reminding us we remain a potential target, closing firehouses, proposing to close others at night and reducing the crews, doesnt seem the answer. Today the mayor told the unions they better stick it up and accept it because he plans to get reelected so they will have to deal with him for years to come........now can we start to talk about a regime change???????????

    "To: Mayor of New York City
    We, the voting people of New York City, petition the Mayor, the City Council and the Fire Commissioner to stop the closing of our fire houses.

    Engine 204 in Cobble Hill; Engine 209 in Bed-Stuy; Engine 212 in Greenpoint; Squad 252 in Bushwick; Engine 278 in Sunset Park/Borough Park; Engine 251 in Long Island City; Engine 293 in Woodhaven; and Ladder 53 on City Island.

    We also denounce the reduction of (49) 5-firefighter engines to 4-firefighter engines. It is an operational policy that requires 2 engines to stretch an operate 1 hose line. By reducing the manning in these units and the closure of 8 field units, this will directly compromise life and property in these communities.

    We will stage community meetings, we will rally as one, and we who vote, will dictate what our tax dollars are spent on and will not accept cuts in our most vital, essential services.

    Sincerely,"

    PS these firehouses are no where the Mayor's residence

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    Correct me if I am wrong: of FDNY's budget only about $750 million is actually related to fire fighter salaries and such. Which leaves a lot of money in other areas. My question is why can't money be pulled from other areas that are not operationally related?

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    Default A question, and some answers

    Have we learned nothing? I place a portion of the blame on the citizens of NYC. I wonder what the voter turnout was in the last election? My point; an informed public who participates in their government is the answer. I am not talking about increased voter turnout alone. I am talking about contacting elected officials in large numbers to express their concern. I also wonder how many FD members lobby their elected representitives in all levels of government.

    Why is it that we, firefighters are for the most part the only ones who get worked up about this, and usually only after the decision is made?

    This is bigger than FDNY. This is happening all over the country. Did you ever wonder why people will turn out in the hundreds of thousands to protest war, but very few protest closing firehouses?

    The level of apathy on part of the public and in some cases the fire service is apalling.

    For those of you wondering, I put my money where my mouth is. I vote. I pay attention to how my elected officials vote. I lobby via mail and in person. I attend council meetings or at least obtain and read the minutes of said meetings.

    I go to bed at night knowing that I participate in government, not just whine and complain when decisions don't go my way.

    Do you?
    "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."

    IACOJ

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    Default Dual Houses

    What they are doing with the pieces that share the quarters with some of these companies? I believe at least two of these companies share their quarters with ladder companies and one of them is with a BC. It makes no sense to be closing firehouses. How can they say it won't affect response times? FDNY rescues more people from fires each year than my city has fires. I am not familiar with all of the companies but I know 36 Engine is in Harlem and that remains a busy area, as well as 209 in Bed-Stuy. I never would have imagined NYC closing firehouses after Sept. 11th. It is a real slap in the face to all of the members of that department.

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    Smile Mayor vs. stroller-pushing moms

    NY Post April 9, 2003 -- CALL it the People's Firehouse redux.
    Mayor Bloomberg probably never saw this one coming. But in a Brooklyn neighborhood where folks still fly the American flag proudly and without irony, the mayor is about to come up against the fiercest bunch of radicals he's yet encountered:

    The stroller-pushing moms of Cobble Hill.

    It's final. Come June, the century-old Engine Co. 204, whose firetruck stands guard over a vast swath of vulnerable Brooklyn, is scheduled to shut its doors forever.

    But, the moms - women and some men who are about as likely to stage a protest as they are to jet off to Bermuda on a whim to play golf - are planning something completely out of character.

    They're gonna take the place over.

    Wielding baby carriages and blankets, sitting on mattresses, boxes or the concrete floor, the moms plan to act as human shields, protecting their firehouse with their very lives. As they see it, it's their own lives that are at stake.

    "We'll come here in shifts," said Lori Burch, 43, who demonstrated her powerful dialing finger by turning up dozens of like-minded neighbors on a moment's notice.

    Lori will take along her son, John, 10. John is terrified at the thought of being left without a firehouse in a neighborhood that sits just scant blocks from a mosque that's accused of playing a part in funneling millions to terrorists.

    "Everyone's so upset," said Lori. "We feel especially vulnerable in the middle of a war."

    The moms drew inspiration from the so-called "People's Firehouse" - Engine Co. 212 in Greenpoint. When the 212 was slated for closure in the 1970s, community members staged a sit-in that lasted 16 months. The city gave in and kept it open.

    Now, the 212 is among the six firehouses and two engine companies that are to be axed to save a lousy $11 million.

    "What is the mayor telling us? One life is worth $11 million?" said Doreen Slattery-Cellers, another mom.

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    Angry Fire Dept. Study Predicts a Lag in Response Times

    NYTimes, April 9th 2003


    Fire response times will increase in the neighborhoods where eight city firehouses are scheduled to be closed, but will remain below the city average in all but two cases, according to a Fire Department analysis.

    The projections are included in an analysis provided by the Fire Department to the panel that recently endorsed Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's plan to close the firehouses. The proposal has been bitterly contested by unions, elected officials and neighborhood residents.

    The eight firehouses were chosen in part because most are in neighborhoods where first responses to fire boxes are already among the fastest in the city, and well above the city average of 4 minutes 46 seconds, fire officials said.

    If the plan to close the firehouses goes forward, the remaining companies in those neighborhoods would pick up the slack, and first response times would rise above the city average in areas around two of the eight affected fire companies. Those companies are Engine 293 in Woodhaven, Queens, and Engine 261 in Long Island City, according to the department's analysis.

    But the projected first response times to fire boxes in those neighborhoods, 5 minutes 25 seconds and 5 minutes 10 seconds respectively, would still be faster than in some other areas of the city, fire officials said.

    Response times around the other firehouses would be lower than the current city average. . Those firehouses are Engine 36, in East Harlem; Engine 204, in Cobble Hill; Engine 212, in Greenpoint; Engine 278, in Sunset Park; Engine 209, in Williamsburg; and Squad 252, in Bushwick, which would be relocated to Midtown Manhattan.

    Response times were only one of a number of criteria used to select the eight firehouses, said Francis X. Gribbon, a spokesman for the Fire Department. The top three criteria were response time (the time before the company's first engine arrives at a fire); the time that it takes for a second engine to arrive; and the number of fires in occupied buildings to which the company responded. Other factors included a company's total number of runs and medical emergencies.

    "These companies were selected to minimize the impact of closings on fire protection, both for the surrounding areas and for the city as a whole," Mr. Gribbon said.

    Steven Cassidy, the president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said official fire response times were misleading, and could not justify the closings.

    "I maintain that the department is absolutely misleading everyone with their response-time myth," Mr. Cassidy said. "All they mean is that one unit will pull up in front of your building in X minutes. If you're on the 20th floor, you're talking about an extended period of time before those firefighters are in control and in position to save people's lives."

    Peter Gorman, the president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, agreed that response times were not a valid way to make such decisions, and said the department should seek budget cuts elsewhere.

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    Default Firehouses, Forged in Past, and Set to Become History

    NYTimes, April 11th, 2003 - Some of the most distinguished buildings in northern Brooklyn are firehouses, many of them built more than a century ago to protect the borough's densely populated warrens of wooden tenements.

    Now five of those firehouses are scheduled to be closed, along with three others elsewhere in the city.

    Neighborhood advocates and some elected officials have planned a wave of protests, saying fire companies with such a long history of service and sacrifice should not be the first to go under the budget ax.

    Yet it is history that has helped make Brooklyn's legendary firehouses targets for closing. Over the last century, the borough's population has spread southward, from Canarsie to Coney Island, and fire officials say the heavy concentration of firehouses in the northern part of Brooklyn no longer makes sense.

    Response times in the neighborhoods where the firehouses are situated are among the fastest in the city, and the number of fires has been steadily decreasing, fire officials say. Even if they pull the houses down, they say, response times will increase by only about a minute, leaving them below the city average in all but two cases.

    For example, one of the firehouses to be closed is Engine Company 204 on Degraw Street in Cobble Hill. Established in 1855, the company has long been beloved in the neighborhood. But it is now known among some firefighters as 2-0-snore because its members respond to so few fires.

    Some have criticized the department's justification for the closings, saying that an increase of a minute in response time could be lethal. Earlier this week, members of Engine 212, one of the companies to be closed, rescued an unconscious woman from her burning apartment. Some firefighters and union officials said an extra minute might have meant the woman's death.

    But another engine company arrived at the scene of that fire at the same time, and a third one arrived in the next minute, said Francis X. Gribbon, a spokesman for the Fire Department.

    "When you look at that particular incident, it shows why they chose to close a firehouse in that area," Mr. Gribbon said.

    Response times were not the only factor the department used in deciding which houses should be closed. Others included the number of fires in occupied buildings to which a company responded; the number of medical emergencies; the total number of runs the company made; and the company's proximity to surrounding units. According to the department's analysis, Engine 212 "is very close to last in each statistical category."

    The city's decision to thin the concentration of firehouses in Brooklyn is not without precedent. In Manhattan, more than 20 firehouses have been closed in the area south of 14th Street since the 1940's, as that part of the city became more commercial and less residential, said Jack Lurch, a librarian at the department's George F. Mand Library.

    Yet closing firehouses has never been easy. Engine 212 has been known as "the people's firehouse" since the mid-1970's, when neighborhood residents took it over for 16 months, eating and sleeping there, until the city agreed to keep it open.

    Ever since, mayors have struggled to avoid community opposition when closing firehouses. In 1988, the Koch administration closed Engine 232 in Brooklyn on Super Bowl Sunday, while the firefighters were responding to what they believed was an emergency call to relieve a nearby firehouse for a few hours. Instead, recalled Brian Dixon, a former member of the company, they were told after arriving that their fire truck was being taken away.

    After Sept. 11, closing firehouses may be a more emotional issue than ever. Communities around the eight firehouses that are to be closed have been holding rallies for weeks.

    Yesterday, a banner could be seen hanging over the red door of Engine 204 on Degraw Street, reading, "Members of Engine 204 would like to thank the neighbors and community for their support and prayers in our time of need."

    Near Engine 212, in Williamsburg, some of the same people who protested the closing nearly three decades ago are prepared to go to similar lengths.

    "That firehouse is definitely necessary," said Anthony Martin, 66, who has lived a block away from Engine 212 for 20 years. "The population of the area has increased dramatically since I've been here, so it's more necessary than ever."

    Two rallies are planned for this weekend and a third for April 27. Members of the City Council are preparing a lawsuit to block the closings, and some members are circulating a memo that calls them "arbitrary and capricious."

    The selection of which firehouses to close was not a matter of major controversy on the panel Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed to study the issue, said Mr. Gribbon, the Fire Department spokesman.

    The average first-response time to fires over the past year in Brooklyn, he said, was 4 minutes and 21 seconds, about 30 seconds less than the average in other boroughs.

    However, many have taken issue with the decision to close firehouses at all, particularly in light of the Fire Department's sacrifices on Sept. 11 and its gradual assumption of new responsibilities in recent years.

    The Fire Department responds to six times as many nonfire emergencies, like gas leaks and stuck elevators, as it did three decades ago, said Stephen J. Cassidy, the president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. The department's analysis of response times does not adequately take those new duties into account, Mr. Cassidy said.

    In addition, some critics have taken aim at the methods the Fire Department used in its analysis of firehouse activity. Those methods were pioneered by the Rand Corporation, which studied fires in New York City in the late 1960's and early 1970's, said Glenn Corbett, a professor of fire science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who served on the mayor's panel.

    The Rand model places too much emphasis on response times and does not account for the difference between, for example, a fire in a high-rise and one in a two-story house, Professor Corbett said. Before closing any firehouses, he said, the department should conduct a new study.

    But such a study might not save the firehouses, said Terry Golway, the author of "So Others Might Live," a history of the New York Fire Department.

    "If you were going to build a modern fire department from scratch, you would not have as many firehouses as we have today," Mr. Golway said.

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    Default What?

    Some have criticized the department's justification for the closings, saying that an increase of a minute in response time could be lethal. Earlier this week, members of Engine 212, one of the companies to be closed, rescued an unconscious woman from her burning apartment. Some firefighters and union officials said an extra minute might have meant the woman's death.
    But another engine company arrived at the scene of that fire at the same time, and a third one arrived in the next minute, said Francis X. Gribbon, a spokesman for the Fire Department.
    "When you look at that particular incident, it shows why they chose to close a firehouse in that area," Mr. Gribbon said.
    This Gribbon guy is a FD spokesman? Shouldn't he realize that it takes more than one engine to handle rescue and suppression at a fire. So what another engine got there at the same time. They were probably venting and protecting the means of egress for the company making the rescue.

    The problem is Gribbon's remarks make sense to the general public. They don't have any idea how many personnel it takes to handle a given situation. If we don't educate the public, they will be continue to be fooled into thinking their safety isn't being comprimised.
    "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."

    IACOJ

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    Default FDNY Firehouse Closings

    I have been following this with interest and I am in complete agreement with all of you on this subject. In addition, I have reached the conclusion that Bloomberg has got to go for the good of the City. If he tried the same thing in Buffalo, or Rochester, near where I live, half those cities' departments would be closed down. This is not only tantamount to playing Russian Roulette with people's lives, but from another angle, I see it as a form of Class warfare as well; Rick Corp. Fatcats vs. the Workers and the Poor. And this while the great city of New York remains a prime target for terror attacks. What has Mike Bloomberg been smoking, anyway? Go figure.

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    But another engine company arrived at the scene of that fire at the same time
    2nd arriving Engine was 229, and not at the same time!

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    Originally posted by nycgal
    Engine 204 in Cobble Hill; Engine 209 in Bed-Stuy; Engine 212 in Greenpoint; Squad 252 in Bushwick; Engine 278 in Sunset Park/Borough Park; Engine 251 in Long Island City; Engine 293 in Woodhaven; and Ladder 53 on City Island.
    If this is the same 53 Truck that I'm thinking of in the Bronx...
    They aren't even permitted to transfer out of their first due because it takes so long for the next arriving to get there...What the hell are they going to do if they disband the company? Good grief...
    Remember KQJ943

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    Angry This is getting worst.......40 FDNY stations could face the ax

    MAYOR SOUNDS THE FIRE ALARM

    April 16, 2003 -- Mayor Bloomberg offered a harrowing portrait of a hobbled city yesterday - including 20 percent of its firehouses shut -if Albany and municipal unions don't help close a $3.8 billion budget gap.
    "I want Albany and everybody else to understand what would happen," the mayor declared as he presented a grim $44.5 billion executive budget for fiscal 2004.

    The plan contained $620 million in new cuts that included pink slips for 4,453 workers, the first large-scale layoffs in a decade.

    More ominously, there was also a $1 billion contingency plan with the type of service cuts that haven't been seen since the city flirted with bankruptcy in 1975.

    The contingencies - which would be enacted if $2.7 billion in Albany aid isn't forthcoming - included 10,491 additional layoffs.

    Virtually every segment of city life would be affected.

    A $47 million reduction to the Fire Department would force the closure of 35 to 40 of the city's 207 firehouses, the mayor said.

    Thirty-one outdoor swimming pools, a summer haven for poor kids, would shut.

    Trash pickups would be cut.

    Subsidies to the MTA that fund half-fare MetroCards for the elderly and disabled would vanish.

    "It's not a scare tactic," insisted Bloomberg. "I'm just trying to lay out the facts."

    Public safety unions said the cuts will leave New Yorkers vulnerable to terror, arson and crime.

    "It makes about as much sense as cutting the 101st Airborne during the war in Iraq," said Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.

    Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta refused to concede he might have to chop firehouses beyond the eight now set to close.

    "We haven't done the analysis yet. I'm not prepared to talk about the contingency plan," he said.

    Scoppetta, along with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and two other agency heads watched intently in City Hall's Blue Room as the mayor described how their agencies were being hit.

    In an earlier private briefing for City Council members, Bloomberg lost his temper when Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn) asked why he wouldn't let corporate sponsors fund firehouses.

    "He said, 'Vote against the budget, I don't give a s- - -," recalled Barron. "He used profanity out of frustration."

    The mayor apologized later.

    For the first time since taking office, Bloomberg urged New Yorkers to lobby state lawmakers to bail out the city.

    "Call Albany," he suggested. "We need help. Call the unions. I'm not ashamed to ask for help."

    The $2.7 billion package Bloomberg wants from Albany includes a $1.4 billion commuter tax, $478 million in restored education aid and $275 million for previously negotiated teacher raises.

    He also wants $200 million in transportation aid, restoration of $100 million in state spending cuts and $252 million in other actions.

    The mayor stood silent for 30 seconds while a screen displayed defiant comments from three municipal union leaders.

    Bloomberg said the unions offered just $20 million of the $600 million in givebacks he wants.

    Everywhere the mayor turned, the news was troubling.

    He pointed out that non-discretionary bills - for such expenses as Medicaid, health care and pensions - soared to $16.8 billion in 2004 from $13.1 billion in 2002.

    Discretionary spending - for cops, street cleaning and other services - declined in that period from $15.2 billion to $14 billion.

    The city's workforce was scheduled to drop to 288,931 by June 30, the end of the fiscal year. It stood at 310,376 in December 2001.

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    "It's not a scare tactic," insisted Bloomberg.
    Baloney! It's entirely a scare tactic....and hopefully one that will work for NYC and stop these cuts!
    "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?

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    229 and all the other FDNY guys;

    My thoughts on redeployment are well known and I won't go through them again. But I have two questions.

    1. Has the mayor asked non-public safety unions, such as the school custodians, to give back? It seesm to me that the corrupt and wasteful way in which this union controls the schools would be a place ripe for saving money.

    2. How does the mayor think he can justify the layoffs of cops and fire fighters, when the result of his closing rec centers and pools will be a frightening increase in crime, arsons and open hydrants (a time consuming task for the FDNY to shut them down)?

    I guess three questions;

    3. Does Bloomberg have a copy of Abe Beame's playbook on his desk?

    Stay safe.

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    Last edited by E229Lt; 05-14-2003 at 08:10 AM.

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    If the mayor is so concerned with the budget....why doesn't he take a cut in his salary or his personal staff take a cut or drop a few positions??

    I agree with everyone that has posted. I'm at a loss of what to do or think of.

    Keep your head down and your powder dry.
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    Dickey,

    Due to his Billions, the Mayor only accepted $1.00 per year salary... Then he gave the rest to Marc Shaw

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    Ok I have been in Venezeula for the past six months.....

    Artie, where does this stand? Still being hashed, more truth than fiction, or just some political BS being strewn forth?

    I would like to know what make the Politicians think, not just in NYC but everywhere, that we can do more with less. They cut our budgets and then want to know if it will affect service.

    "Er ah no Mr. Mayor/Mr. Selectman/Mr. Adminstrator we really didn't need that money, we were just asking for it. We can operate in exactly the same way with less money, go ahead and cut our budget"

    Gimme a break! Anyone want to bet that West Warwick will add more manpower? Of course they will, for the wrong reasons probably, but they did it the last time they had a bad incident. There are so many places that operate in the typical knee jerk, oh my god mentality. Cut to the bone, cut some more, and then throw some money on it after the nightmare happens.

    Why do they hire Chiefs? Since they all think they are qualified to handle the issues we face......

    Rant mode accidentally triggered by stupidity, author apologizes for any splater.
    Last edited by hfd66truck; 05-15-2003 at 07:36 AM.

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