Once upon a time, employers let volunteer firefighters respond to calls during work hours figuring it was for the betterment of the community. Nowadays, this is a practice is not as common as it once was.
However, in the Village of Spring Valley, New York, Mayor Demeza Delhomme has set a brand new and completely idiotic precedence.
Mayor Delhomme has banned Village employees who are also volunteer firefighters in the Village from responding to calls during work hours. Spring Valley FD responds to approximately 1000 calls a year. (read the entire article here)
The Village of Spring Valley gets to enjoy a 100% volunteer fire department. That means that they don't have to pay firefighter salaries, benefits, etc. The village employees/volunteer firefighters number fewer than 10 (there are more volunteers though). Yet, when Delhommes community needs the firefighters to spring to action, he is crippling his own fire department and potentially putting his community, citizens, and visitors in peril.
I guess the way I look at it is that this Mayor gets to enjoy several of his firefighters working for the Village in various capacities that are also available to respond. I am curious to know how many of his other volunteers aren't able to respond during the day due to their employers policies, travel distance, etc.
What do you think?
Here are some tidbits from the article (read the entire article here):
“Every five minutes we have a false alarm,” Delhomme said Wednesday. “We can’t have … people leaving their jobs. Everybody leaves work and comes back three hours later and then they go home. There has to be controls. They work for the taxpayers. My job is to change how things are run.
Delhomme estimated fewer than 10 employees are volunteers. He said workers who are not volunteers have to pick up the slack and have complained."
FC: 1000 calls a year is tremendously lower than Delhomme's exagerated "Every five minutes we have a false alarm". As for the other employees, maybe they should be educated (as well as Delhomme) on how the community benefits from having volunteers so close and able to respond.
Authorities said the mayor also has ordered the fire inspectors to do inspections only — not to investigate the cause of the fires. By law, the fire inspectors are the police arm of the fire departments and are mandated to determine causes of fires.
Delhomme, a village trustee since 1999 until his election as mayor in November, said he’s confident that firefighting will continue unaffected. He said many of the volunteers, such as the chiefs, hold important positions in the public works and building departments, as well as the highway department.
FC: The Chiefs won't even be able to respond…
“They are some of the top people working for us,” Delhomme said. “If we have a serious fire, we have other people. We have other departments. They help us and we help them.”
FC: Sure…rely on the next town over. I am sure they are willing to run more and more of your calls…I am sure they read the paper too. Maybe they don't want to have to "afford" to run your calls for you Mayor.