On their Frequently Asked Questions the district states “With the drop of over 22% in revenue since 2009, we have reduced operating expenses. This includes the reduction of 23 personnel including 13 firefighter/EMTs”.

So, a revenue decrease of $5.5 million results in the loss of 13 firefighter/EMTs.

But not getting this $3.5 million increase equals between 20 and 25 firefighters could be laid off?

I call BULLSHIT!

Those numbers do not pass the smell test.

Staffing levels are based on current revenues. But now we are to believe maintaining current revenues equals an additional loss of between 20 and 25 firefighters? (Source- Federal Way Mirror)

Really?

I am always impressed when fear tactics are thrown out in the name of public safety.

Now we are being told that failure means the loss of 20 to 25 firefighters? In the next two years?

And we are led to believe that the $3.5 million dollars retains between 20 and 25 firefighters?

 

How does this new math work out?

Let’s break down the $3.5 million Excess Levy numbers and facts as presented to the Board of Commissioners by the president of the Washington State Fire Chief Association, Chief Allen Church in January:

$2 million is for restoring one aid unit to service and will require 9 firefighters; (this increases headcount not reduces it, and is not in the current budget).

$1 million is for building maintenance and capital equipment; (none of this goes to keeping firefighters or is in the current budget other than paid from reserves).

The remaining $500k covers that unfunded budget drain of a training center property, hires one training officer and makes some attempt to restore wages and benefits for existing firefighters. (Only part of this in the current budget is $230,000 interest only payment for training property)

NOTHING about this Excess Levy is meant to retain “between 20 and 25 firefighters”. But don’t let that stop the district from using this fear tactic to get the levy passed.

None of the budget models or forecast information presented indicated gross reductions to future revenues, indeed most indicated we are at or near the low. Meaning revenues are either fixed or could see negligible decreases. Or that revenues could actually increase within the next 2-4 years.

New ‘Facts’ presented to the public

But to the public he presents some different ‘facts’.

With over 100 current firefighters in the district, I for one find it extremely difficult to believe the chief when he states failure of passing the Excess Levy could mean that 20 to 25 firefighters may be laid off by the end of 2013.

So where does the statement about laying off between 20 and 25 firefighters come from? Certainly not in the proposal the commissioners voted to approve.

But how do we get the public to pass our Excess Levy? Do you think they will understand and agree to another aid unit and training officer? Or that we need a new roof and fire truck? Or that we are still on the hook for $230,000 annual interest only payments for the training center (and new fancy administration building) that we may never get built?

Naw, lets tell them about losing firefighters. That will scare them into voting yes.

Fear tactics. At a premium.

And they accuse me of bending or stretching the truth, or in some cases outright lying, when I present verifiable facts.

Sounds like the chief is spinning a pretty good tale on this one.

 

Here is the real shame

Do you know was is really sad about all this?

The truth.

Getting back a fully staffed aid unit, repairing the buildings and maintaining capital equipment without dipping into reserves and bring back one training officer are all very valid reasons to vote yes on the Excess Levy.

But apparently the district felt it warranted to exaggerate their position with fear and use the threat of losing 20 to 25 firefighters.

 

 

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