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Mike Watson is a Dallas firefighter.

05/10/02  

Thanks for putting my letter up.  I had no idea how many firefighters visit your site until I was making my rounds on Wednesday.  At every station I visited, someone commented on it.  It won't appear in the "Fireline" for several more weeks.
 
I heard Lois Finkleman on the radio "crawfishing" on the 5-5-5 proposal.  "I just don't know if we can find the money."  Nothing we didn't expect.  I'm sure that between now and August we'll see council members air their excuses one by one trying to find a story the voter's will buy.  If one of them succeeds, it will only be a day or so before they're all singing the same song.
 
The sad thing is that it will be the citizens who pay the price if they don't follow through.  With the run volume our ambulances face we have to rotate paramedics out of EMS or they burn out.  If we can't compete for competent rookies to send through paramedic school there won't be anyone to replace them. 
 
15% three years from now will translate to 9% after you adjust for minimal inflation.  That would keep us within reach of competitive salary levels.  If they back out of the 5-5-5 plan, we'll be so far behind we'll never catch up. 
 
The history of EMS in Dallas began with unskilled "attendants" working for private companies (mostly funeral homes).  They snatched up critical patients and delivered them to hospitals without providing any treatment.  At the rate we're going, history may repeat itself.  Salvageable patients will die.
 
Fire suppression and law enforcement will see quality decline also but EMS is where we will see it first.
 
The Pay Referendum was never about a bunch of greedy firefighters and cops trying to pad their pockets.  It was about people who had dedicated their careers to delivering excellent public safety and who wanted to see that continue when their careers were over. 
 
Mike Watson

 

 

 

 

                                        

    





                            

 

  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8