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'Christmas' must come to an end for the MFPD


March 30, 2005 - To the editor:

Call readers have undoubtedly seen the red and green signs urging votes for David Gralike and Tom O'Driscoll to powerful positions on the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors.

I can't help but be reminded of Christmas each time I see those signs dotting lawns throughout the district.

Given the state of the MFPD's finances, it certainly seems that Mr. O'Driscoll and Mr. Gralike spread the Christmas spirit to MFPD employees every day of the year.

Consider what Mr. O'Driscoll and Mr. Gralike have done in their current tenure on the board:

In a struggling economy, how many of us have been thankful to see just a 1 percent to 4 percent increase in our salaries? How many of us have experienced decreased medical benefits at increased premiums and co-payments, because our employers can't afford to pick up the tab?

Yet, from 1998 to 2002, the MFPD has seen their personnel costs increase by 50 percent.

This is largely due to a 20 percent wage increase and fully paid benefits for em-ployees and their families.

How many of us struggle to balance our schedules to stay home when we or a child is sick?

Not a problem in the MFPD — 30 days of paid sick leave every year.

The MFPD fire chief makes more than the governor of this great state. In case you don't know, the governor earns roughly $120,000; for that amount, he is required to be on the job 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Considering the fire chief gets 73 days off per year at full pay, maybe Mr. Blunt should look into a new line of work.

When they play the "life-and-death'' card, ask yourself: How does the danger faced by Mehlville compare to that of a New York City fireman? The answer: It's nowhere close to the danger faced by the NYFD.

According to their Web site, a five-year veteran of the NYFD may expect to be paid $59,000 — this includes overtime and shift differentials. So why are Mehlville firemen paid so much more?

Enough is enough — Christmas comes but once a year for the rest of us. On April 5, cast your vote for Aaron Hilmer and Bonnie Stegman.

Amy Fix

Oakville

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