December 9, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Re: Fire chief, union to talk staffing, Free Press, Sept 19.
Why does Winnipeg bother to have a mayor and council making money decisions when the "acting" fire chief and firefighters union president are so handy? Just who is running things in this town?
If Sam Katz wishes to run for mayor next year, now would be a good time to assert himself, show some leadership and discover why the firefighters' overtime costs are way over budget. At the very least, residents in 2014 will know who to blame when their increased property-tax bills become due.
Both the police union and fire and paramedics wield a huge amount of influence on the aspirations of any individual seeking political office in Winnipeg. That being said, I am sick of the scare tactics being used by both unions when issues do not go their way. The city has been for years one of the most crime-ridden major cities in Canada with one of the highest rates of arson, yet with increases in staff, overtime etc., nothing has changed. The unions continually ask for more, however, or they contend the situation will surely become worse.
I believe acting Chief Bill Clark has a valid point by eliminating secondary fire trucks at Dalhousie Drive and Marion and could go even further by cutting back one truck at all stations in new subdivisions as the risk of a fire in these outlaying areas should only require one truck and in no way should compromise public or firefighter safety.
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 21, 2013 A16