Sensible Fire And Police Pension Plan - And Response (2)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I concur with Mayor Andy Berke's pension plan. A five percent pay cut across the board is not too much to ask, and raising the retirement age to 58 seems modest in my opinion. 

I doubt that Chris Willmore, president of the pension board, speaks for the rank and file when he states, "If this goes in, fire and police from all ranks will up and quit."

And if they do, It's a nifty way for Mayor Berke to raise taxes, because the gangbangers will have a field day upon the good citizens who vote. In private industry, we call this tactic, "Exploiting the irrational passions of the gullible fools, in order to filch power and wealth unto the city's coffers."

Donald Woods
Knoxville 


* * * 

Mr. Woods,
 
First off I am glad that the mayor has to find a friend as far as Knoxville. Also, what you and the citizens of Chattanooga need to realize is I have options to protect my family. My first option is hope that the pendulum swings back the other direction, which I doubt before I die. Option two is expand on my two year fire science degree and obtain my professional engineering degree in fire engineering. 

You see the mayor can’t have it both ways, low wages and poor benefits. I make less as a lieutenant then the workers at McDonalds expect. I had friends out of college making a lot more than me ask, “Why are you a firefighter, they make such a low wage?”  My response was I love the job, it is recession resistant (stable), and the benefits are great (pension and healthcare). Well healthcare has all but crumbled. 

My point is, I still have options not necessarily what I planned on, however firefighters that have 15 years or more to go do not, I am on the bubble with 12.5 years. People with less time than myself will leave and the new people coming in will not be the best quality because the city has downgrade the standard. Most everyone the last four fire academies are college degree holders. Some will hold out hope because they do not have a wife and kids yet. When they do their outlook will change. 

Walk a day in a firefighters or police officers shoes, much less 30 years and see if you want a 55 to 65 year old trying to get you out of a house fire or chasing an 18-year-old gangbanger down the street. 

These are not scare tactics, but reality. You get what you pay for and I will go back to school and make $70k with private sector benefits, no bluff there, just reality. 

Charles Thomason
Ooltewah 

* * * 

To Mayor Andy Berke, Chief of Staff Travis McDonough and the Chattanooga City Council, 

What have the fire and police ever done wrong to you?  Why are we at cross purposes? 

Decades of experience are walking out the door and can never be replaced.  Officers who could have stayed have not.   We are dying from slow hemorrhaging .  And why?  All we are asking for is to be treated as respected and valued members of this city.   We ask for nothing more than what was promised and in return we have had more and more heaped on.   More and more taken.   Why?  

We do what our job requires.  We keep our word.  Keep yours.  Lead us to a better city.  Show us the way.  Stand with us to help bring this city forward to better times.  But please, please, don't cut us off at the knees.  Don't let our sacrifices be for nothing.   Or  used as a political stepping stones to something you see as better.  Don't use us as bargaining chips.   

This city is a good one and could be a better one if we all pull together.  Don't make a revolving door for fire and police officers. Don't say public safety is your number one goal and then try to do this to us, your officers.   Don't make the only retention tool you have be the promise of better times that start at the end of your first and only term.  

Take care of us as we have taken care of this city. Help us and we will help you. Lead us.  Lead us well.  We will follow. 

Richard Meier
26 years with the city


Roy Exum: In Just 23 Minutes

When ‘The Atlantic’ magazine came out with its online edition Tuesday, a story appeared about Donald Trump’s new National Security Advisor, Lt. General H.R. McMaster. It was written by a dear friend that the general and I both enjoy. Since the story appeared, it has been referenced in a myriad of other media outlets and its author has done numerous interviews. As I take the liberty ... (click for more)

Mayoral Analysis

Why have I received four very expensive glossy three-panel fold-out flyers in the U.S. mail, seen several expensive spots on television, been deluged by “Berke for Mayor” signs everywhere, experienced a newspaper that is supposed to have two fair views on topics, however only encourages me to vote for the one person for mayor who should have done well enough over the last four years ... (click for more)

City Police Officer Seriously Injured In Crash On Dodson Avenue

A Chattanooga Police officer was seriously injured in a crash on Dodson Avenue on Friday afternoon.   Police said the injuries to Sean Lynch, 38, are not life-threatening.   Police responded to a traffic crash at 1400 Dodson Ave.   The crash involved a silver Ford 350 van,  (Vehicle #1) a white Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser driven by Officer ... (click for more)

Lawsuit Charges That Georgia Law Firm Stole One Of The Woodmore Elementary Cases From Chattanooga Attorneys

A Circuit Court lawsuit charges that one of the Woodmore Elementary bus wreck cases was stolen from a Chattanooga law firm by Georgia attorneys just shortly after the Nov. 21 tragic crash that killed six students and injured others. It is illegal in Tennessee for attorneys to contact victims of a tragedy for 30 days after the incident. The lawsuit brought by Carl Lewis, father ... (click for more)

Amazing Bradley Builds 32-0 Lead, Routs Cookeville 69-35 In Region 3-3A Tournament

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Bradley Central’s top-ranked Bearettes went into Friday’s Region 3-3A quarterfinal basketball game against Cookeville with several thoughts in mind. Sending a message was one of them. Stamp it delivered. The Bearettes, now at 30-0 with the tradition-rich program’s third-longest winning streak in its history, overwhelmed the Lady Cavaliers with a ... (click for more)

Macon County Ends Season For Signal Mountain Girls

The Signal Mountain Lady Eagles entered the first round of the Region 4-AA basketball tournament as the District 7-AA champions and riding high on a seven-game winning streak. The Macon County Tigerettes came to Signal Mountain Friday night for that first-round game on a two-game losing streak and still hurting after finishing fourth in last week’s District 8 gathering. But ... (click for more)