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


True Revenue Situation

My honorable and respected friend Roy Exum tells us again today, “It has been 12 years since the county fathers have approved a tax increase ... .” I’ll take his word for that, but want some more information. “No tax increase for 12 years” is just the chorus; I want to hear the rest of the song, the specific verses that really tell the tale. The fact is, although Roy’s bare ... (click for more)

Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to  news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Judge Walter Williams May Go Back On The Bench As Administrative Hearing Officer

One of the city's most colorful judges may go back on the bench. The City Council on Tuesday is set to vote on the nomination of former City Court Judge Walter Williams as administrative hearing officer - a new city position. The law license of the former judge was transferred to disability inactive status in August of 2015 after he suffered a stroke early in the year.  ... (click for more)

Body Believed To Be That Of McCallie Student Jackson Standefer Recovered In Colorado River

A body believed to be that of a McCallie School student who was swept away in a creek in the Grand Canyon was recovered on Friday. The Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center said it was notified by a commercial river trip that they located a body on the Colorado River at River Mile 152. Park rangers responded and recovered the body, which was transported to the rim ... (click for more)

Morgan, Smith, Parrott Pace Lady Pounders Past Bearettes 6-0

Maybe Central softball coach LeeAnne Shurette won’t nag her Lady Pounders so much in the coming days. Central collected eight hits, including two-run singles by Tatum Morgan and Janara Smith, on Friday to back Brooke Parrott’s three-hitter and the Lady Pounders defeated Bradley Central 6-0 in the East Hamilton tournament at The Summit. “Shurette has been nagging, maybe ... (click for more)

McCallie Earns 3-1 Soccer Win Over Rival Baylor

When his team needed him the most, McCallie senior Drew Viscomi did what he does best. Two minutes after the Blue Tornado allowed an equalizer to rival Baylor in the Division II Mid-East Region soccer match on the Red Raiders’ home field, Viscomi’s strike put his team back on top. Five minutes later, the All-American and school single-season scoring leader ... (click for more)