PD313 Final

PD313 Final - Sunday December 9th 11:15 pm Jeez one day in...

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Sunday, December 9 th , 11:15 pm Jeez, one day in to my term as Mayor and I already get blindsided by a dreadful surprise. My dear friend, former Mayor John Green, apparently led me right on to a fiscal trap door following my inauguration ceremony – and now that it has dropped out from under me I’m left holding on by a few fingertips. Here’s the problem: the actual budget deficit for the upcoming year is double what Mayor Green’s administration projected it to be. This leaves my education and employment plans in peril. The last thing I want to do is raise taxes to pay for them. I have to think of a way to manipulate the budget in order to fit these programs because I know that they will be positive for the community. After discussions with my staff this afternoon, we realized that the most obvious choice for downsizing no, that won’t be a popular phrase…trimming – is the Springfield Fire Department, with its 35 firehouses and bloated budget. This would help solve my budget crisis and it is also something that we need done sooner or later – the city will thank me for it some day. It will be a difficult task difficult though, the community loves the Department and they have a very strong union. How to go about it… The Firefighters Union is a juggernaut in this area, but I know its leaders and they are not irrational men. And since they are not irrational men, they are in no hurry to vacate their positions of power. If a third of firehouses in this city are consolidated into the other two- thirds, some firefighters will have to be released. Surely, no union leader worth his salt enjoys seeing his ranks depleted, but from a perspective of personal power, this is not the worst situation for the leaders. Those former union members no longer have votes or influence in the next union elections. Plus, it’s likely that such a large Department has older members who could be coaxed into retirement. It would be far worse for union leaders to see overall wages fall or a decline in the quality of equipment. These things leave an entire
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Department of firefighters angry and often leave union leaders out of a job come election season. Plus, there is no threat of a strike disrupting critical public services thanks to the Condon-Wadlin Act and the Taylor Law. I wonder how influential the Fire Commissioner could be in influencing the Union’s decision…because as a strong mayor I hold the axe over all my department heads. Another slightly less cynical strategy for dealing with the Union is to equate consolidation with increased safety and better equipment. The eventual new, modern firehouses would eliminate the dangerous traffic situations and antiquated, unsafe conditions at older firehouses, reducing the risk of injury for firefighters and the risk of lawsuits and insurance settlements for the city. It would also be prudent – and fair, I think – to consolidate to a point that leaves some extra funds to improve the technology and infrastructure of the
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PD313 Final - Sunday December 9th 11:15 pm Jeez one day in...

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