New "over-the-top" editorial from The Rumford Reporter

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New "over-the-top" editorial from The Rumford Reporter

Post by T on Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:43 pm

It's Not a Freedom of Speech Issue, It's a Conflict of Interest Issue

Submitted by TRR Staff at 7/09/2008 10:00:00 AM

Today's Sun Journal featured one of our new Rumford Selectman, Rob Cameron, taking the blame for the firefighters getting suspended for violating a town ordinance which does not allow them as a union to engage in political activity. He claims that he went to them, asked them to write the letter, and was not aware of the by-law when he did so. Well, they were because one of their firefighters reminded them prior to the union vote to submit the Letter to the Editor endorsing both Buccina and Cameron. And, that firefighter has since left the fire department when they went ahead and did it anyway.

This is not a freedom of speech issue, it is a conflict of interest issue. The town ordinance was put in place for a reason. The fire department and the police department should not be trying to affect the outcome of elections because these are the same Selectmen who are supposed to be sitting on the other side of the table during union negotiations advocating for the needs of the community as a whole. It gives the appearance that the Fire Department is trying to get people elected that will support voting for their union contracts, voting in favor of their union grievances, and protecting their "right" to operate without any accountability to the people of this community.

We have been dealing with this particular fire department abusing overtime for years and years and years. It's one thing if they had racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars a year because they were actually fighting fires but they haven't been. They have been racking up overtime chasing ambulances and filing grievances to fight back instead of heeding to the public's desire to save money.

In the 2007 Annual Report for the Town of Rumford, the Fire Department reported that they responded to 48 fires. The Annual Report also states that they report responding to 361 EMS/Rescue calls and 165 public service calls. Out of the 782 calls they report in the town report for 2007, 613 of those calls were unnecessary and we are being generous. That means about 80% of the calls that the fire department reports are bogus and either could stop all together or be dealt with in a more cost efficient, streamlined manner without racking up overtime. Last year alone, they had surpassed their budgeted $50,000 overtime line item by twice that. And, in years past, they were surpassing $200,000 in overtime expenses per year.

A good fire department would heed to the voter's who spoke loud and clear at the last secret poll. Out of the 1,274 people who voted on the Fire Department budget on June 10th, 67% of those people voted for the lower budget recommended by the Finance Committee or voted to give them ZERO. Clearly, the fire department does not care what the majority of our voters want and will continue their quest to vote in Selectmen who support their bloated budgets, will continue to file unnecessary grievances, and will continue to find excuses for their behavior including ignorance of the law and now "freedom of speech". All we want is integrity, accountability, and fiscal responsibility.


Last edited by T on Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

T

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Re: New "over-the-top" editorial from The Rumford Reporter

Post by T on Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:00 pm

This editorial seems to be more about the overtime than the “free speech” issue. I’ve addressed the “free speech” vs. “conflict of interest” issue elsewhere, so I’ll not rehash it here.

There are many classless, juvenile, or manipulative statements in this editorial, which are typical of The Rumford Reporter.


wrote: We have been dealing with this particular fire department abusing overtime for years and years and years


wrote: A good fire department would heed to the voter's


wrote: It's one thing if they had racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars a year because they were actually fighting fires


wrote: They have been racking up overtime chasing ambulances and filing grievances to fight back instead of heeding to the public's desire to save money.


wrote: about 80% of the calls that the fire department reports are bogus

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Re: New "over-the-top" editorial from The Rumford Reporter

Post by xmashen on Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:36 pm

as usual, they go too far. would they rather the fire dept. ignore 80% of the " bogus" calls?

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