Wednesday, January 12, 2011

FISCHER AND MERGER 2.0: REALLY, IS ANYTHING GOING TO GET BETTER?

By now many of you have heard Greg Fischer announce his task force (anyone else sick of these lame terms and committees?) on the effects of merger. The force is made up of 23 people and will include 4 "citizens" to review merger and come up with recommendations.

Yeah right.

Merger has been a failure since its inception and largely due in part to those who worked the original merger plan. So what does Fischer do? He installs basically the same group who screwed us in the first place. Yep I know I sound bitter but really aren't you?

We have spent 8 years in merger under Abramson and the Democrat insider machine and nothing has been accomplished yet. Well except the money grab and power play against the County residents. Yep I said County residents because quite frankly we still have Jefferson County.

Metro Louisville supposedly merged government functions but never merged the land areas. Of course Government grew exponentially though merger was sold to us as a way of saving money in this venture as well. What we have seen is an all out effort to rake the County of money.

Much has been said for example about the Urban Services District taxes. Some true some not true.
The Urban services tax district pays higher taxes that cover the costs of such things as say garbage pickup. We in the County pay a private contractor to pick up our garbage instead of paying the higher taxes. That is just one example.

Many have falsely claimed that we receive services from the City at no cost to us in the County such as storm cleanup the last couple of years. Not exactly true either. Most of that cleanup was paid for with federal dollars NOT City dollars. Additionally, snow removal is under contract by Metro with the State who pays Louisville to plow their roads for them.

Get it yet?

So what has merger actually accomplished? Very little seemingly.

Let's take a look at the real reasons behind Merger 2.0. It is simple really. For the oldest reason on record. Money.

The City of Louisville has made serious mistakes under Abramson and is now poising itself to make many more under his counter part Fischer light. While no secret I haven't exactly backed Fischer, in my defense the decisions he is making thus far with staff and "task forces" is one big reason why.

Fischer said fire protection is on the table in light of the recent financial struggles that have been highlighted in some departments, such as Lyndon where the district has been forced to shut down a station periodically to accommodate sick time and leave because overtime money is not available. http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011301060048

Keep this in mind. The City recently got stuck with a whopping lawsuit that gave the firefighters roughly $42 million thanks to lack of leadership from Jerry Abramson who could have settled this for a much smaller amount instead opting to pay his lawyer buddies money to force a losing situation.

When this was brought to light immediately Abramson started going after the largest fund for firefighters in the volunteer districts. PRP.

I first brought this to light in December 2009 http://springston.blogspot.com/2009/12/council-members-blackwell-henderson.html. I knew then that the groundwork was being laid out to take over the volunteer departments and now they are setting the stage.

What will happen when they get that control? The money will be pooled and services will suffer right?

Yep that is one thing that will happen but part two is even worse.

They will expand the urban services district to include the County residents who now reside outside of it. At that point we will all be forced into higher taxes at 36 cents per hundred dollars.

Think your property taxes are high now? Just wait until they reassess them. Tony Lindauer's office is great at reassessing property to a higher amount even though the rest of the Country property values have been dropping like crazy and assessments lowered to reflect them.

But not here by Democratic party insiders like Lindauer, Abramson, and Fischer.

While I actually like the idea of reassessing merger, I fully think it is necessary, we must have an independent assessment done bu outsiders or by an equal number of citizens only within the City of Louisville and the County residents. The ones who are affected most on a daily basis because of this merger debacle are the most qualified to identify the problems and work with Fischer towards solutions.

We certainly do not need the same old recycled party faithful screwing this up once again.

With roughly 12,000 signatures need to force a referendum on the ballot to recall merger really how hard can it be to get that? Is that an option we want?

Now may be the time to evaluate that idea as well to keep the cronies from screwing us further. Merger for many has proven to be nothing more than a power grab by the City to take resources from teh County to subsidize their losses. It really is that simple. And it will get worse.

There are even some early comparisons that Fischer reminds many of Harvey Sloane. How did that work out for us?

Either way one thing is for sure.

With the same old tired retreaded cronies leading the way we can expect a reaming when this fiasco is all said and done.

23 comments:

  1. Ed - I smell a tax increase for county residents to receive "free" services. The sales pitch by lawmakers will claim this is true merger but it is a way to increase revenue for the city. I too have concerns of those appointed to yet another "task force." Good article and I'm sure this will be the biggest issue for 2011. Hope you expose this like you did the hidden library tax!

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  2. I agree Ed. If there really is to be a "Merger 2.0", then its focus should be on improving the county for a change, especially the Southwest rather than use it for a dumping ground. The first thing the Mayor Elect needs to do is get rid of Abramson's department heads and medicore advisors and bring some fresh blood and new ideas flowing into his administration.

    Better yet, perhaps those of us who are active in the community need to form our own "advisory commitee" to hte Mayor and introduce some reality about what is happening in our communities and what we really want...not what he wants to hear.

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  3. Michael A. Priddy Sr.January 13, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    I hate to be the one who told you so. But I told you so.

    What happened with the Fire Board @ PRPFD is only the beginning.

    However, I plan to put an end to it once and for all. Thats right PRPFD will be having another election for the Pleasure Ridge Park Fire district Property Owner Trustee (they are allowed 2) in June 2011. Come on out and vote for me (although I should already be there).

    Remember it only takes a majority of the board members to vote affirmative for merger with the city of louisville fire. I will NEVER stand for that. PRPFD does not have a problem with getting trucks out.

    Lyndon does, and why is that... Because the continue to provide EMS services and not get reimbursed for the cost associated with those charges.

    Look, Im not saying the FD's should be making medical runs. Only that our Taxes collected are to be used for fire protection. If Lyndon and other departments want to provide this service then there should be fees for EMS Services.

    Seems to me that EMS should be looking for ways to improve their services, rather relying on FD's to absorb their inefficiencies.

    2011 - Michael A. Priddy Sr.
    Property Ownwer Trustee
    Pleasure Ridge Park fire Protection District.

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  4. Thanks for writing folks.

    And Mr. Priddy? I ran the story and challenged the Mayor on this power play to wrest control I am on the side of the volunteers always have been.

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  5. Get your hands on the Fischer transition reports.

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  6. IF YOU DON'T POST WHAT YOU ALL WANT TO HEAR THEN YOU ALL DONT PLACE THE POST UP ON THE WALL. I WROTE A REPLY AND IT NEVER BEEN ADDED GO FIGURE I DIDN'T SAID WITH MR PRIDDY WITCH HIS SON IS A SGT ON PRP FIRE DEPT. GO FIGURE THAT OUT LITTLE ONE SIDED THERE AREN'T WE. I WAS A PAID FIRE FIGHTER FOR 25 YEARS FOR THE COUNTY I CAN TELL YOU THERE A LOT OF WASTE BUT YOU ALL WON'T ADD MY POST SO DREAM ON CHANGE IS COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. lmao anonymous are you drunk typing? Either way this site always posts copmments even from folks like yourself who are scared to use your name and post as anonymous.

    SO you can keep pretending you sent something that did not get posted but the reality is different.

    With that being said if you have something relevant to post feel free to do so but two things are never allowed random spam links or porn links so if you sent those then they werent posted.

    hmm come to think of it your ip address does look familiar.......

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  8. Actually My son is a firefighter with PRPFD, not a Sergant. I am a retired Lt. with PRPFD.

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  9. First I would like to say it time for change in this city we call Metro Louisville, from the Police to Garbage Trucks it time there are so many people that don’t want change but everything changes. I know it cool to ride around in your police car take it home ride your family in it shows to all your friends. And I know they pay a small fee to use them for their off duty jobs, but that doesn’t cover the total fuel cost and the wear and tear on them. They say that it’s part of the benefit package well pay them a little more on the hour, place two officers in each car that way there is always someone cover their backs. When you call for a police car 99% of the time you get a handful of car and officers what the difference three cars three officers or 2 cars and four officers. You tell which one you rather have I myself would take the later of the two, all the big cities like Louisville dose it this won’t be the end of the world as we know it if we did it.

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  10. County Fire District over all they try to provide great fire protection to the tax payers that’s not even a question, but there is so much waste that could be cut it’s not funny. I can tell you personal that this is a problem that has been know about since the late 80’s and they even tried to figure out a solution to the problem in the early 90’s. But like always the men at the top didn’t want to lose power and money control cars and the proud name on their fire stations. That in its self is a shame because were the Districts are now some have full time men some have only day crews some don’t have anything. There are no Volunteer Fire Fighters in the county anymore they get paid for runs trainings work details pulling shifts at the fire stations. And there is nothing wrong with that but some act like that they give their time for free that’s not the case. The Board of Trustee’s lest take a second to look at them it’s a 7 member board 2 fire fighter reps. 2 property owners 3 appointed members that is approved by the mayor office. Now the property owners are sometimes retired members of the district or fighters somewhere else or good friends of the department. 2 fire fighter reps are members of the district and the 3 appointed members most don’t know that the district weighs in a lot on who get those spots it like they pick there on people. But the mayor did place some on a board little bit ago that has some one on this site a little upset that’s why he running the district for once was faced with a outsider and that no board like too much. One thing I think this person should let be known is that he has a family member on the department that he going to run for a spot on the board. Nothing wrong with that but that would maybe show why he’s urinating all over the thought of this task force looking into better service for the tax payers.

    The fire district don’t need to have a fleet of high priced SUV’s they don’t need high price fire stations don’t need to buy new trucks every few years. There was one district that merged with another district they sold other district trucks nothing wrong with it. Maybe it was the color or it wasn’t there brand how knows but another district down the road bought it from them run it all the time. Out town trips let us touch on them for a second most of the time it more like a vacation then a training seminar and most of them take there wife’s girlfriends with them. And when it come to gas they waste just as much as the police dose most of them use these cars as their primary family cars also just like the police. My thought is where the average tax payer can pick up their free car and gas card The new trick for the districts is not marking the some of the cars most of the time the chief but I see it spreading down ward to others. There have been some questions placed in the past way these cars were being used in the fashion they being used, and why they were seen place they shouldn’t have been seen. So what one way to fix that doesn’t place any markings on them maybe they won’t see or know. Hey FYI they have to mark them look for the car number or district name on the front of them will be on a license plate. Well I will be back with more that you might not know soon don’t get made it the truth spent over 25 years working for them seen more than I cared to.

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  11. Sorry he's a fire fighter what I'm saying is you come from the same time as I do don't know if that was your full time job or not. It was my full time job you can tell me that you never seen waste in the fire service. If you didn't you did look around much ok dose PRP need a fleet of high priced SUV's to drive around as much as they want? No they could get by with a small vehicle and run on half of there fleet just like so many other district.

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  12. Sad as it is there is not a fee for medical run for the fire depts. that is just the facts of life some we have to live with. At one time most district run a med car that took car of them left the trucks in the house. That cut fuel demand back and cut back wear tear on the trucks. Maybe PRP should go back to the med car they once had it with 2 full time fire fighters from station 2 in it. 2280 I think it was andfrom time to time even ran a second car with 2 paid volunteer fire fighter in another with they could staff it. can't but a price one a person in need if you do then you should close the doors.

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  13. Back when I was a volunteer we were alloted 35 gallons of gas per month if we made the majority of the fire runs. 3 ten gallon cards and one five gallon one. That was it. No pay no perks just a small gas reimbursement.

    Of course this was the 80's and everything changes. Now with that said yes there is waste at every level and always has been.

    I will let others argue the points about what constitutes a volunteer but for those of you who are posting anonymous with stories of wasteful spending well I am all ears.

    Contact me and lets talk about the evidence your anonymity is guaranteed.

    Thanks for writing folks.

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  14. Michael A. Priddy Sr.January 27, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    First, Yes I too remember getting paid in fuel, not the monthly run allowance. Second in regards to my son, he will most likely leave the deparment this spring when he finishes his BS in Fire Science, Explosives and Arson. He is only remaining on to help out during downtime from school.

    Second, yes I agree we have too many take home cars running around the district, and your right something needs to be done about it. I'll even go as far as saying that no cars/suv's should leave the district unless you are performing PRPFD Official Business. I would agree with you that the need for highend SUV's is probably not necessary. Time to get some Escape's, or go back to the Crown Vic's. Yes was also around when we had a single unit dedicated to making EMS runs. I thought that was the great idea for the department. I don't know why we stopped doing it.

    Third, as far as Volunteers getting paid, the Fire Run, and Training allotments are designed to cover Fuel, Automobile Maintenance, and Car Insurance Expenses. Since you don't have to pay a volunteers Health Insurance, Vision, Dental, and other expenses normally associated with hiring a full-time employee it is very cost effective for the district. You don't have to be PAID to be a professional. Both Paid/Volunteers receive an equal amount of training on PRPFD.

    In closing I would like to point out the following:

    1. I'm conservative minded
    2. Unbiased and uninfluenced by mercenary motives.
    3. Dedicated to elimating waste, enhancing volunteer/paid recruitment, promoting prevention which is essential to provide a quality service for our district.
    4. I believe that a merger with LFD would hurt or overall fire protection. Not just by expense but also the quality of service.

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  15. Thanks for writing Mr. Priddy. I agree that I do not believe we need a paid full time staff that mirrors and would be a a part of Metro Louisville. Call me at (502)417-5383 sometime and we can talk specifics.

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  16. If you wanna talk about waste in the fire service why not mention the huge numbers of chiefs the suburban depts have? If you merge the county into one large Dept, just imagine what could be done with the cost savings of having only one chief and assistant chief and a few Battalion Chief's. You could hire at the very least 2 FF's with the salaries of these chiefs, and that's with all the FF's benefits as well. Most of the east end chiefs make around 100,000 after all there CERS and health benefits and other perks are paid. Lyndon, Worthington, and Middletown all have battalion chiefs on each shift. That means if you merge the county you would only need to hire one chief and assistant chief. You could do away with 15chiefs positions, or change a few of there jobs to training possibly. I'm sure a few would retire as well. So even if 12 chiefs positions were axed, that's around 1,000,000 anually give or take. You could hire 20 new firefighters for that and possibly staff the county full time after moving some guys and trucks around for coverage. Just a thought.

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  17. Mr Priddy the fun days are gone I was a paid fire fighter hope that dosen't make you made I hade a lot of friend that were Volunteer's back in the day. Your right if you made the run then you got a little bit of gas, but in those days you didn't have to work 2 jobs to make ends meet like most folks do these days. Life was a lot simpler back then I still have friends out there that so called volunteer there time I seen what they bring home it like a second job. And hey that great I'm glad they are able to get something for doing it when the command staff runs around in the take home cars and use them in the manner they use them in.

    A few of the district even had some thing like a retirment plan for them but in the past few years they done away with them to put that money else where that not right. The med car that you all had it ran all over I would say don't know for sure but I would think it might have been a liblity issue why run a pickup from Valley Station rd to rockford lane and pass up 3 other stations to me that dosen't make a lot sense. Your district maybe the last on that pays all those items for their paid staff, most make them pays part of those items.I not blowing the horn for the paid men I was one and it was good to me but people just don't have the time like they once did our children don't want to do it like we did. I didn't want my to follow me in that line of work I wanted something better for them I missed out on a lot doing that job when they was growing up.

    Is making it all LFR the answer maybe not but I feel that the waste wouldn't be there like it is in some respects. I feel that for so long most of the men in power have thought about them selfs not the taxpayers in a lot of respect. I have been to some of the meetings over the years it's like a big power issue they don't want to let go I affraid this time they will lose that battle.

    I want to see the taxpayer get the most they can get and I want to see equal services for all not just some and at present time we don't have that. There's engine co with 3 men quads with 3 men even truck co under staffed. If you turn on your scanner and montor you hear a box alarm come out there might be 4 different district making it. There just not enough help out there anymore.

    Will hurt things if they do away with the volunteer fire fighter I like to say part time men they are getting taxed on there checks these days. Will it hurt yes the handful left in the county the enjoy doing it will hurt the crusade for children will take a big hit 51% of the money brought in is by the fire depts.

    Only good answer would be a time machine go back to a better time of life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  18. Also your right you don't have to be paid to be professional but there are some that don't act in that manner. But this more than just about 1 district it about everyone. The needs of the many out way the needs of the few or the one.

    PRP should have become there own city back in the day when they could as a city of the 3rd class you all wouldn't be in this battle.

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  19. Michael A. Priddy Sr.January 31, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    4 engines from different parts of the district has been standard operating procedures since the beginning of time my friend. Not because of the lack of man power, but so that it does not eliminate any coverage from any one part of the district. Go by these stations once a run has been dispatched, often as the case may be you will notice that there are crews on STANDBY waiting for the next run to come in. It is all by design.

    3-4 man paid crews do exist in PRP, but often they have 2-3 volunteers on these trucks for a total of 5 riding out with the paid crews.

    If your willing to pay the extra tax dollars for a merged FD, lets get get an early start. How about those who want merger take an extra $2000 out of the bank. Gently place this money in your gas grill. Turn the Grill on and watch you money slowly burn away. Its the same concept, you pay the extra $$, and get nothing in return.

    If you think for one minute that through merger you would get better services your crazy. Nothing is for free my friends, and trust me through merger we will all suffer.

    The city doesn't care about you, but only what you can bring to the table $$$$... I helped pay for my fire districts assets, and i will not sit back and allow the city steal from our district.

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  20. Ok if the truck has 4 main crew it can only have 1 volunteer on it because the rigs there only ride 5 total. your talking about station 3 there may be a few men for the next run but the other house are you sure about that I lisen to them alot. station 4 is all but shut down execpt a few hours a week at night time. sure not telling the tax payers about that one there is no volunteer base for that house anymore. the members they had left was transfered to station 3 are the tax payes in that are less need than in the rest of the district. look the city dose not want nor need the trucks housed at PRP they have new trucks of there own. You know this frame of mind that a lot of people I know in that still in the fire service is the same reason that the big plan in the 90's to merge the districts into one didn't work it all about that district those people my trucks my pride my fire stations that the reason that were in the shape we are in now. That and frankfort would raise the tax base but if they had more money it would be more to waste.

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  21. And the district don't care no more about you then any other goverment agency they will do what you want and tell you what you want to hear as long as the people in power get what they want it's all the same. don't know what going to happen for sure but some thing is going to happen and it not what a lot of people want or like. but if helps everyone then do it.

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  22. some thing else that not being said about the so great PRP District is they more or less have a Station shut down it might have a crew in 1 or 2 night a week for 8 hrs but that has never been told.

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Yours truly,
Ed Springston

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