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

* * * 

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

* * * 

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

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Picture a sold-out baseball game at Wrigley Field or Nationals Park packed with 40,000 fans. That image represents roughly the same number of women and men who die from breast cancer each year.  In Tennessee alone, an estimated 900 women will die from the disease in 2016. It is a sad statistic, but there is some good news: thanks to early detection and improved treatments, ... (click for more)

Medical Cannabis Can Literally Save Lives

Narcotic drug overdoses have increased in our area over 40 percent in the past year, and it's time to do something about this public health crisis. Tennessee Bureau of Investigations Director Mark Gwyn said, "We had more overdose deaths in the state last year than we had traffic fatalities."  Medical cannabis is an alternative to the use of potentially dangerous narcotics ... (click for more)

1 Shot And Killed In St. Elmo Monday Morning; 2nd Person Taken To Hospital

One person was shot and killed in St. Elmo Monday morning. Another person was taken to the hospital. The person transported was driving a Lincoln that was behind a church off of Virginia Avenue. The shooting happened on Florida Avenue, and police said it did not appear to be gang related. More information to follow. (click for more)

6 People, Including 4 Children, Die In Mobile Home Fire In Trion, Ga.

Six people, including four children, died in a mobile home fire at Trion, Ga., on Sunday night. The fire broke out on Airport Road in Chattooga County. Sheriff Mark Schrader said, "It is with a heavy heart tonight that I report that a residential fire has claimed the lives of six people, two adults and four children. The fire occurred around 11:00 p.m. in the Airport subdivision, ... (click for more)

UTC Women Fall To UNCG 1-0 To End Regular Season

 The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s soccer team fell 1-0 at UNCG Sunday afternoon to close out the regular season. The Mocs end the year at 6-10-2 overall and 4-4-1 in the Southern Conference and tie the Spartans (7-10-2, 4-4-1 SoCon) for fifth in the standings.   “It was another tough result,” Chattanooga head coach Gavin McKinney said. “We did, however, ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Draws Top Ranked Greeneville, CCS Opens With Madison Magnet

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame drew the top-ranked Greeneville in the opening round of the TSSAA Class A/AA state tournament.  Notre Dame is scheduled to play Greeneville on Wednesday at 8 p m. (EST)  in Murfreesboro. CCS will play Madison Magnet in the first round on field #1 at 7:30 p.m. (EST) . CCS and Greeneville met in the state championship game ... (click for more)