Deb Phipps of Kokomo sends this Jeer for the firefighters’ contract dispute with the city of Kokomo:
“I am writing this as a concerned resident of the city of Kokomo.
“I’m here to back our emergency response professional firefighters. I’m saying today enough is enough! I want my tax dollars to support professional emergency firefighters and police officers. I want the insurance that if I need professional emergency help, they are there to help! Professional firefighters who are not volunteers or part time but are trained professional firefighters.
“Enough is enough with the road diets and putting the balancing of the city budget on the backs of the city professional employees! The what-if situation of possibly Wal-Mart, Meijer or any other tax loss if they were to close? I want to know the support is there for what if Kokomo has a major disaster — like an EF-2 tornado ripping through through our city, or even another major disaster like an EF-3 tornado destroying everything in its path from west Kokomo completely across to the east side of Kokomo! That there were no fatalities with our emergency professionals there to help! That’s the what-if situation I am concerned about.
“And I’m sure the major factories — Chrysler, Haynes International, Delphi — are also concerned about where their tax dollars were at with a what-if situation of a major fire not contained because our firefighters were too few or out mowing grass, plowing snow or trimming one of hundreds of trees in our road-diet islands! The extra five minutes for them to return to the firestation and dress for the fire could mean a catastrophe for any factory, business, new high-rise apartment complex or even a homeowner!
“Our firefighters deserve to be treated with respect and dignity! I want my tax dollars to support their wages, benefits and expertise of their job and for my safety of having a full professional staff. I want them to be fully staffed and be our city’s insurance that they will get an emergency done and done safely. It takes a special person when everyone else is running away to make the choice to run in!
“I am appalled our city’s mayor has chosen to use his knowledge as a union leader to undermine a fair union contract with our professional union brothers and sisters by trying to break their union by forcing them to go to court to uphold their right to arbitration!
“Stop the road diets and start protecting! I think that together we can make Kokomo a better place for our families and our children to raise their families! Let’s put the tax money where it needs to go and all work together.”