Attention; we continue to have technical problems that now appear to be of a nefarious nature. I have called in my eastern european comrades to help with the problem.Your patience is appreciated during this time.
Yes this is the same Department that has been whining for years about being shorthanded. The same department that in 2007 under Ron Kim claimed they needed 9 more Firemen to do the job.
So why does the Saratoga Springs Fire Department, who are perhaps best known for their culinary skills and shopping forays to Price Chopper on the cities dime, driving a couple hundred grand of equipment than putting out actual fires want to get into the meatwagon business? One word survival.
The Saratoga Springs Fire Department is a product of another age, of old wooden buildings heated by coal. When vast areas of Saratoga Springs were consumed by flames, men like my Father Fire Chief Joseph Tighe and my Uncle Fire Captain John “Grassy” Callahan battled monster fires with bad equipment for little pay, both men died prematurely and neither collected much of a pension.
Today some senior fireman make six figure salaries and even rank and file members make well over 60k. “I will be putting the full salaries of all public safety workers for 2011 up as soon as they become available}
All the while they wait for calls for structure fires that never come. To compensate for the lack of calls the fireman came up with a job saving scheme. Beginning in the early nineties fireman have been playing a game of “I’m not a doctor in real life but I play one on a Fire Truck” chasing SEMS and in some cases delaying transport of patients to a fully equipped hospital minutes away.
So today we stand at a crossroads, both for-profit ambulance companies Empire and Mohawk said they could take over the service completely and compensate the city handsomely to boot. This would spare the city immensely in terms of outrageous salaries, benefits, claims for disabilities not to mention pension costs for the fireman doing the calls.
But if the Fireman no longer have a need to go ambulance chasing, we no longer have a need for them at all.
One word “Volunteer” Now if this council was honest and was looking out for the cities and not the Unions they would award the contract to Empire and Mohawk and then commission a study to disband the Fire Department and replace it with Volunteers or a combination of paid and volunteer.
HELL it works for the larger communities of Colonie and Clifton Park. Hell look at Malta with Global Foundries and the HUGH apartment and hotel complex’s going up. Yep all Volunteers. Let’s not leave out Milton were I am temporarily located. We have three Nuclear reactors and an Airport serving jets but no need for paid fireman here. The Saratoga Springs Fire Department is a product of another age. Once they were an affordable luxury for the city but their greedy union demands for outrageous pay and benefits have made them a luxury we can longer afford.
So let’s look at the players.
Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen; well at least he's consistent, he ran on a campaign of a bigger public safety department and he’s keeping his word. Too bad the taxpayers weren’t paying attention.
Accounts Commissioner John Franck; could be the swing vote either way. Franck had been a fiscal watch dog but during the workshop Thursday Franck made perhaps the most disingenuous statement of all the commissioners when he said
"The problem with for-profit is if there are two calls, they are going where the money is"
That John just isn’t true, the idea any ambulance company would risk their operating certificate for a better paying transport is absurd.
Whatever happens I will film each commissioner’s vote and use it in the next election.
Till Tuesday night Good bye