By Michael Beamish
Mayor of Troy
First and foremost, I have a great respect for our Troy Fire Department and the service they provide to our citizens. This is something that we all should take pride in, this quality of life service.
On Nov. 3, voters will consider Issue 15. There has been a lot of confusion about this question and as your Mayor, I feel compelled to set the record straight. First, Issue 15 is not about whether the city of Troy remains a full-time firefighter/paramedic fire department. Rather, Issue 15 asks whether city council’s ordinance to establish a part-time wage scale for firefighters should stand.
Second, the part-time firefighter issue has never been about reducing the number of our full-time firefighter/paramedics. As long as I am Mayor, we will continue to staff the Troy Fire Department with a minimum of eight (8) full-time firefighter/paramedics – every single day of every year! We strongly believe that our citizens, businesses, and workers are very well protected in the event of fires or EMS events, and a recent study by The Novak Group confirms that.
However, we are always looking for cost effective ways to increase the protection to our citizens. Adding professionally trained and certified part-time firefighter/paramedics or EMT’s to the Troy Fire Department who are just as well trained as our full-time firefighter/paramedics will definitely improve the safety of our staff, citizens, and businesses because we will have more readiness and improved response times as a result.
Third, when the idea of part-time staff was presented to city council, our firefighter/paramedics understandably had questions and concerns. Director Titterington, Fire Chief Simmons and others on my staff met several times with their union leadership to discuss how we could alleviate their concerns. The result of those discussions was a comprehensive proposal that would have cost the City over $500,000 per year but would have: added four full-time union positions, three of which would be new supervisors at the fire stations; a dedicated administrative supervisor to handle scheduling and training needs; a guarantee of minimum full-time staffing at the fire stations of eight per day, with no decrease in overtime opportunities for full-time firefighter/paramedics; a commitment to not reduce the number of full-time staff unless all part-time staffing was first eliminated; a guarantee that all part-time staff be equally certified and trained for the level of service they would provide as our full-time staff is; a mechanism by which part-time staff could gain preferential hiring into our full-time firefighter/paramedic complement; and a limit of only two additional part-time firefighters added per shift.
Many of Troy’s current firefighter/paramedics have been part time staff on other departments. Communities such as Kettering, Dublin, Loveland and Washington Township have successfully supported their fire service through the use of part time firefighters.
It is time to take the next step to enhance our highly effective Troy Fire Department with additional cost effective part time, fully certified members. The addition of part time firefighter/paramedics or EMT’s will strengthen our current operations and better position the Troy Fire Department for the future. A vote in favor of Issue 15 will support our fire services and improve safety for our citizens, businesses and visitors to our great city and I strongly urge you to join me in voting yes on Nov. 3.