.

Fire Lieutenant: Every Aspect of our Employment Under Severe Scrutiny

Peter Clancy, president of the Garden City Professional Firefighters, addresses residents and business owners in this letter to the editor.

Your professional firefighters have been without a contract since May 31, 2009.

In 2008 - 2009 we accepted a 2 percent salary increase to assist the village through hard economic times.

Throughout negotiations, mediation and arbitration, we have never walked away from the table. Even to the point of holding "Off the Record" sessions during arbitration.

We have continually worked with the village negotiating representatives to put forth several proposals that both sides felt were an agreeable compromise. These proposals included: more access to apparatus for volunteer members, contributions into health insurance and  a long-term contract with minimal percentage raises.

Each time a proposal was presented to the trustees, it was not accepted.

Our offer of assistance in review of the ICMA report remains unanswered.

Our compromise on dispatch duties was not accepted.

We have had our budget cut, our manning reduced, our staffing cut and our job responsibilities taken away.

Every aspect of our employment is under severe scrutiny due to a report that holds inaccuracies.

Thus far we have been reserved in order to prevent further degradation of our job. Now we are facing layoffs, demotions and the closing of firehouses. We consider these our driving reasons for going public at this time.
GCRes1 February 07, 2013 at 02:52 PM
The professional fire department in GC is overpaid and overstaffed and its members receives retirement and benefit packages that are too generous. It benefits from work rules that mandate absurd staffing requirements and overtime schemes designed to inflate their already bloated salaries. --------------------- All negotiations with the department are tainted because the state government, bought and paid for by unions, dictates arbitration designed to give out high awards and maintain these awful contracts. ----------------- But the paid firefighters in Garden City would do well to remember that nearly every other Village on Long Island gets away without ANY paid firefighters. I hope the Board of Trustees considers completely abolishing the paid fire department. Sure, the Department will scream about the safety of our citizens, as if that is what they care about. But don't believe a word they say, because they have no credibility. As I have written here before, when I hear a spokesman for a public employee union talk about my family's safety, I reach for my wallet.
GCres2 February 07, 2013 at 03:40 PM
ahhh... it was only a matter of time before the person of many OPINIONS chimed in. all opinions and no facts from gcres1. misleading readers as usual. you forgot to mention a word in your ridiculous comments. it should be worded "every other village on long island BARELY gets away without any paid firefighters." no discredit to volunteers im sure but you cant put a price on 24/7/365 coverage. heres another one of your opinions "safety as if that is what they care about." can you back this? because im sure its not true. stop embarrassing me and the rest of us who live here. and by the way.... why reach for your wallet?? apparently you have nothing in it, according to your comments. I hope you bring your garbage to the curb each night, your comments do not qualify you for the fine services we receive in this village.
GCRes1 February 07, 2013 at 04:04 PM
GCres2: Do I really need to provide evidence that municipal salaries and benefits are too high? This has been a daily national news story for half a decade or longer. Just look at the increase in that portion of the Village budget over the last decade. Look at this week's GC News, in which the list of postponed capital improvement projects was provided. Paying for the bloated salaries and benefits of our unionized workforce means we can't afford enough of the things that have made this Village great. I for one don't think that unionized garbage pick-up would be the first thing I'd name, but that's just me. ------------------------------ By your logic, since I "can't put a price" on a paid fire department, or on our sanitation department, perhaps they should receive double their current salaries and benefits? Triple? ------------------------------ No, we should negotiate in good faith . . . which is impossible because the fire department can fall back on arbitration and state mandates so any negotiation will always be a farce. ------------------------------ I think we should do what every other community in Nassau County, except for Long Beach, has done. Move to an all-volunteer fire department, support them as best we can, and move one massive liability off our books. Enough! Gcres2, a question: Are you a public employee, or do you depend on a public employee? Do you receive a public employee pension? Sounds like you do. I think I'll reach for my wallet whenever you comment.
thomas stoerger February 07, 2013 at 09:01 PM
This is for GCRes1. First of all in regards to unions buying state government is ironic because lobbying is first of all part of our freedoms in this country. And secondly how do you think a certain County on Long Island(and i'm not picking or bad mouthing here) had its most recent County Executive elected? anyone? by lobbying the Volunteer FD's in the county, so what I'm saying is it works both ways. Also Every Department except Long Beach has not "made a move to all Volunteer FD. In fact NO DEPARTMENT in Nassau has abolished a career staff EVER! As a matter of fact better than 50% of Nassau FD's have some sort of Firehouseman, Cleaner, Firemedic that is employeed by a particular district. There is nothing wrong with this because these Dept's were faced with a manning issue and they addressed it, kudos to them for being proactive to PROTECT THEIR RESIDENTS AND FAMILIES.. Remember NO Volunteer Dept. is free they conduct Fund Drives, Journals, have LOSAP or Service Award programs as you would. I will use a certain Fire District in Nassau that currently for 2013 has a budget of $6,4M employees Firehousman, Medics(PT) Fire Inspectors and cannot guarantee a response 24/7. of that budget 1.2M is for salaries 1.2M in benefits and $700K plus for their service awards program. I estimated these numbers to protect that district a bit. 3.1M of a 6.5M budget roughly 48% and I stated not a defined response. I am a public employee who has served for in the fire service since 1978 on both sides.
GCRes1 February 07, 2013 at 10:17 PM
I appreciate your candor in admitting you are a public employee. I stand by what I have said about your lack of credibility on this issue. ---------- Everyone is free to support the candidate he chooses. But public unions support candidates and then sit across from those lawmakers in negotiations, or assist those lawmakers in writing pro-union legislation. That is a rigged process designed to take from the rest of us. What you describe as "freedom" looks to those of us paying the taxes like a protection racket. That's why Wisconsin (where the public employee union was born) abolished collective bargaining for public employees. That's why the union hotbed of Michigan went right-to-work. Because if there are haves and have-nots in this country, it is starting to look like its the public employees against the rest of us.---------- Is your other point that if we abolished the paid fire department, we'd still have some kind of paid staff to support the volunteers? OK, I'm fine with that. The fewer the better, but whatever the experts (the volunteer chief of department) says we need, I am OK with.---------- Your point is that if we went all-volunteer, plus these paid supervisors, we could save "only" half the fire budget? I am DEFINITELY OK with that.---------- And enough with the ALL CAPS about protecting my family. You are protecting YOUR family. You have the right, but I don't have the obligation to believe you are not full of it.
thomas stoerger February 07, 2013 at 11:01 PM
This will be my last remark about this because 1/2 of what your speaking about was not what I was aluding to, and seeing that "I am full of it" my opinion means nothing. I was stating that at a budget higher than GCFD, that dept. could provide no guaranteed response as GCFD currently does both by Volunteer & paid quickly! By reducing the staffing here the average taxpayer will only be saving $105 per year. In my town I pay $295 per year in Fire Tax and cannot get a response in less than double the time it takes here in GC. Common sense response to stations etc. The Chief of the FD is out of office in 3 months and a new one will take over, so on and so on. He/she is in charge of the fire dept. but a Fire Commissioner by-law is required to go through(dont take me to task exactly) 24 hrs. of ethics and budget training after he is elected and needs to refresh. The Board of Trustees have determined that the Chief is the expert. Oh yeah one more thing ICMA (International City Managers Association) was hired and paid for by the village at a cost of $36,000 to work for the village so we could talk about sitting across from a table all day also. Who pays there bill?
Watt Marks February 08, 2013 at 10:32 AM
Currying political favor, demoralizing the workforce, and high expectations of promises to fill the "void" from layoffs are not responsible managerial practices. Layoffs are a last resort measure that have ramifications that cannot be measured on a balance sheet!
GCRes1 February 09, 2013 at 12:52 PM
I agree that layoffs are a last resort. The paid firefighters' resistance to changes in their pay, benefits and work rules that bring them into line with reality, and the state law that requires that Village participate in a rigged arbitration with the union, means we are now at that last point. The firefighters have had YEARS to get realistic. But let's be serious: layoffs only hurt the handful of junior firefighters who actually get laid off (the union contract governs who gets laid off, not the Village). So the senior firefighters who control the negotiations are fighting for raises, benefits and work rules, and when threatened with layoffs, well, that's some other firefighter's problem. Ironic that a UNION would screw its own members in this way. Yet another way that the union (and all municipal unions) are totally full of it.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »