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Thursday, May 01, 2008

News Coverage of the RFFA Speaking out against Budget Cuts

I will try to stay on top of the News Coverage following the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association's stance against the budget cuts.

From what I have heard already, the Council Members were very receptive to our message. Some are said to have remarked that our presence and our message was the biggest and most impressive that the Council Members had seen in their tenure on Council.

Another little birdie told me that Mayor Nelson Harris was at the previous meeting at 5pm and even ate the catered dinner after that meeting between 5pm and 6pm. However, at 10 minutes to 7pm, Harris handed the gavel to Vice-Mayor Trinkle and tip-toed out the back door. I guess our presence was something that he did not want to get involved in during Elections. I also understand that the City Manager was not prepared and tongue tied while being interviewed afterwards.

I have so many things I would love to say right now, but instead I will leave you with this fact. Ninety One (91) Firefighters were in Council Chambers tonight. That is more than one-third of the department. Remember that one-third was working. I think we have your attention.

I must say that tonight I was a very proud Firefighter and a very proud member of the RFFA. To see you all come together in unity and solidarity was truly moving. Scooter's account of his incident, Rorrer's talk about Scooter, and Rodney's account of Kyle Wilson all gave me goose bumps. It brought me to a place that I will be speaking of in the future on the blog.

I look forward to the Roanoke Times in the morning. Look for the story on Scott Hetherington on the front page of the Virginia section as well as an article by Mason Adams on the Council Meeting last night.

Click on the links below for news and video.

Firefighter Hourly covered the story here
The FireEMSBlog covered Scooters story here
STATter 911 covered the story last week here
Valerie Garner covered the story on her blog here

Firefighter Returns After Heart Attack - WSET
Roanoke firefighter returns after heart attack
Video: Firefighter returns to duty since suffering cardiac arrest - Roanoke Times
Firefighter reclaims spot at station - Roanoke Times

Firefighters upset about proposed cuts to Roanoke's fire department - WDBJ
City seeks widespread budget cuts in proposal - Roanoke Times
Firefighters Face Cuts - WSET
Roanoke Firefighters Association makes statement at City Hall - WSLS
Many fired up about proposed cuts to Roanoke's fire department
Firefighters Fight Cuts - WSET (a snippet is below)
Chief David Hoback, Roanoke Fire & EMS - "City council, city manager, no one wants to do this. But the fire department, being the second largest budget, has to contribute their share." And Chief Hoback decided the only way to reduce his budget by $350,000 to $400,000, as instructed, was to reduce his staffing. A decision that has his firefighters rallying against him. Lt. Rhett Fleitz, Firefighters Assoc. Local 1132 - "This isn't necessarily the firefighters against the fire chief. This is more so, the firefighters against the budget cuts." Cuts that would scale back the staffing at Station 13 on Peters Creek Road from six firefighters to three, the absolute minimum required to operate a truck. Fleitz - "This proposal will jeopardize Roanoke City (web) firefighters as well as the citizens we're trying to protect." Chief David Hoback, Roanoke Fire & EMS - "They will not see a difference. They will not experience a difference. The truck will still get there in four minutes or less and be able to meet those performance standards." But Chief Hoback admits, if adopted, this proposal would stretch his department thin. He says reducing any more positions would force them to eliminate a station. And no one wants that.


Cut This said...

Nice to see how the times hid the article back near the obituary section. No photos either. I guess we know who's side they are on. Why do we get the paper?

Anonymous said...

Now we need the citizens to take a stand against the cuts. They need to realize that there will be a huge difference in our response if Engine 13 is placed out of service. We as Firefighters are asking the citizens to stand with us against the cuts and help us keep the same protection you now receive.

Anonymous said...

Burcham and her group spend, spend and spend. She is financially irresponsible. It’s not the fault of the national economy, its inept local government. Then she wants to cut city departments to bail her out for the short term. Did you know the police department is understaffed by 28 positions? We have a lot in common with them.

We in the fire ems department have taken a beating under her regime. Grigs practically destroyed the department. Much of it was at her direction. They continually downsize us. We can’t afford to be cut any more, not now, not a year from now. They risk our lives and the citizens. She and Grigs need to go. They have a total lack of respect for us and what we do, and disregard our financial well-being. The citizens of Roanoke should be very watchful.

If 6 positions must be unfunded; we have 6 city paid firefighters working at a Roanoke county station. Bring those 6 positions back to the city. Let the county pay to staff their own stations.

Don Caldwell also brought up a good point, why have 4 public information officers instead of one?

The media said no one would lose their jobs. I think when the tri-data study said to lose an administrative position; it didn’t mean a low paid secretary with 23 years. Hello, are you listening?

By the way, someone in his neighborhood saw Nelson Harris mowing his yard during the meeting last night. The public forum on the budget wasn’t too high on his list. I’m sure he knew the firefighters would be there.
Get involved in your neighborhood and city. Find out what’s going on. Vote.

Anonymous said...

What about the cost that Ol Red cost the city when she wrecked 2 - count em two city vehicles. Oh and did I mention she had been drinking, swept those under the rug pretty well didnt she. She has got to go. I hope her house doesnt catch on fire, and I bet she doesnt live in the Peters Creek area either - probably down in So Roanoke.

Anonymous said...

I hear that N. Harris left about 18:30 to go CUT GRASS. I hope the tax payers of Roanoke city hear about this. Is this the kind of MAYOR the city needs! NOT.

Anonymous said...

Sure would be nice if Channel 7 or 10 did something with this.

Anonymous said...

how many in fire administration have vehicles provided to them? Certainly the chief should get a car, but some of the others should not. want to cut? look downtown.
Eliminate an administration position, one of the chiefs, not a sectretary. Reduce the 4 public information officers to one. The personnel on the street are the most essential.

Anonymous said...

Well - Ol Tiffany has her job in the bag - not only being the chiefs daughter, they would always use the spin that being a PIO is a small part of her job. They will say that public education is the largest part of her job. Along with the cars - how many take home cars does the fire dept have. I bet there are at least 10. How much fuel do they burn, and do they have to keep track our their mileage - how do we know they arent using them on the weekends to go run errands - get groceries etc. How much maintenance is involved with all of that - oil changes, tires. I wonder if we could get exact figures of how much each car costs the city. Just some food for thought.

Anonymous said...

When will firefighters start sending in Milage Reimbursement forms for the fuel they use when they transfer? With the 2% pay raise you will use that large sum to buy gas to transfer. Quit worring about promotion or chief getting mad. You now see what the city really thinks of you - their most valuable resource.

Anonymous said...

everyone that doesnt think it's that big a deal to cut engine 13 should have to live in between old 12, 13 & the soon to be lost 9. lets see how they feel then when they're waiting for someone to arrive & how long it takes then

-& why isnt there a map created to show the territory to soon be covered & how thin things are gonna be when 5 & 9 merge & only have 1 engine there as well