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


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)

Time To End The Kiser Circus

What a circus and waste of time to just watch two people lie to the court in regards to keeping Kiser alive.  Kiser killed Deputy Bond, but here he is still breathing and concocting more lies so he won't be killed. We should have killed Kiser years ago. I'd be more than happy to be the one who pulls the switch to snuff out that killer of a very good man (Donald Bond) whom ... (click for more)

Erlanger Refinancing To Provide Cash For New Children's/Women's Hospital, $50 Million Erlanger East Expansion, $8.5 Million Surgical Improvements

Erlanger Health System officials said an overhaul of the hospital's debt will include $70 million in new loans for several major hospital projects - including $11.5 million toward a new $30 million Children's/Women's Hospital. The overall cost of the latter facility is $30 million, but the hospital is seeking significant outside gifts and support. It will also pay for a $50 million ... (click for more)

Legendary Radio Broadcaster Luther Dies At 92 After Record 74 Years On The Air; Funeral Will Be Thursday At 2 PM At Engel Stadium

Legendary radio broadcaster Luther Masingill died early Monday morning at Memorial Hospital surrounded by family and friends. He was 92 and had been on the air for a record 74 years. Funeral services will be held on Thursday at Historic Engel Stadium, 1130 E 3rd St., at 2 p.m. with Pastor Todd McElyea officiating.   Honorary pallbearers will be the staff at ... (click for more)

Tennessee Wastes No Time Shifting Attention To Alabama

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – L ittle time had passed following Tennessee's 34-3 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday night before the challenge that lies ahead this week crossed the mind of the UT staff. In past years, a loss of that type could have had a lasting impact on the psyche of the team. But  Tennessee coach Butch Jones   still sees his team progressing, both mentally ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Riley Hickman: 2-for-2 Wins At Cleveland And Talladega

The “Hustler” Riley Hickman of Ooltewah hunkered down this weekend and picked up a pair of wins in Dirt Track competition. Friday night the # R1 “Hickman Manufacturing, American Billett, Austin Trucking, Tucker Mobile Home Service, Allstar Graphics, VP Racing Fuels, RH Designs, Competition Racing Equipment, A-1 Towing, MRC” sponsored CVR / Vic Hill powered machine ... (click for more)