Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What Are Lawrence Republicans Thinking?

The Lawrence Township board last night on a party-line vote of 5-2 voted down a resolution to authorize Trustee Mike Hobbs to begin negotiating a merger of the township's fire department with the Indianapolis Fire Department. Oddly, the Republican-controlled board scheduled another vote on the resolution for October 23 close to the November election.

Like other Marion County township fire departments, the Lawrence Fire Department was forced to borrow $1.8 million to meet a budget shortfall for the upcoming budget. The township anticipates future borrowing if drastic steps aren't taken soon, and Gov. Daniels' administration has already signaled it won't be approving this type of borrowing in the future. Taxpayers will have to pay off this accumulated debt with higher property taxes.

Hobbs has unquestionably been the focus of attention these past several months after an arrest for driving under the influence and a petty theft charge involving $500. Republicans on the board might be hesitant to turn Hobbs loose at the negotiating table, but any plan of merger will require their approval. For the sake of the township's taxpayers, you would think the township board would be looking for a way out of this mess without further burdening taxpayers. A merger is certain to happen. The only question is how soon?


Sir Hailstone said...

Here's my problem is logic with this scenario - Perry Twp and Lawrence Twp (excluding City Of Lawrence) are facing budget shortfalls for fire service. They must borrow X amount. OK. We know that. What I don't see is how merging with IFD will solve anything. It sounds more like "passing the buck" pardon the pun. The City of Indianapolis isn't exactly flush with cash either, and caught in the same Tax-and-Spend cycle the two aforementioned townships are in, with the city bond rating sliding downhill faster than Rex Grossman's QB rating. It's a bit of hocus-pocus, I'm just wondering what Bullwinkle will pull from the hat this time.

Anonymous said...

what will happen with consolidation is retirements wont be filled lowering staffing, payroll and benefits. Then equiipment will be shut down reducing maintenance fees for buildings and grounds since you will be closing a few stations. response time and run loads will increase.

Anonymous said...

As one who lives in Lawrence Twp and seen their FD in action, I can honestly say they NEED consolidation. Lawrence has soooo many silly protocalls that make no sense and its staff is not ready to perform in a big city. I have to say it, but Lawrence Twp FD thinks it is operating in Mayberry. Times have changed and they need to merge with IFD.

Lawrence Twp frequently calls in a helicopter medical evacuation, when a drive to the hospital in an ambulance is faster than finding a landing zone for the helicopter. This is NOT Mayberry RFD. This is an urban area with highways and EMS services that mean a level 1 trauma center is FASTER by ambulance than calling out a helicopter, creating a landing zone, landing, triage, taking off, landing again, and rolling to the ER!

As a Republican Lawrence Twp resident, I got a message for that Twp Board: Consolidate the Fire Dept with IFD, so that they can perform the services needed in an urban area.

Unknown said...

You refer to the Lawrence Fire Department in your post, but that is a separate department. You should probably clarify the this is the Lawrence Township F.D. you're talking about, not the City of Lawrence F.D.

Anonymous said...

9:55--same argument on police consolidation, and Washington Twp. fiore consolidation. Can't you toot a different horn once in a while? Increased run times have not been the norm in Wasington, I can tell you that. Quite the opposite.

David's last post actually makes the case for consolidation. Too damned many fire departments, too many command structures, too much turf protection, too costly.

Who is Bullwinkle, Hailstone?

Sir Hailstone said...

"Who is Bullwinkle, Hailstone?"

You are joking? You've never heard of Rocky & Bullwinkle?

It's a skit where Bullwinkle attempts the old magic trick of pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Only he never pulled out a rabbit but it was something different every time and you never knew what to expect.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Yes, David. Thanks for the clarification. The township board only has jurisdiction over the township's fire department.

Anonymous said...

Hobbs is charged with two felony counts, not a count of petty theft, not to mention the DUI charges. A conviction from either felony count will force this loser out of office.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Let's not overstate the charge. It involves $500. Meanwhile, Carl Drummer continues on as he always has escaping the scrutiny of our prosecutor, notwithstanding far more serious evidence of wrongdoing by him. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

I hear that a possible lawsuit is brewing for Law. Twp. Things that make you so hMMMMMMMMMM

Anonymous said...

David's last post actually makes the case for consolidation. Too damned many fire departments, too many command structures, too much turf protection, too costly.

Your point? The main power players will keep the same levels of command, minus the actual cheifs. Instead, all the current cheifs will become deputy cheifs. The name of the game is to continue to "need" these large admins so that in the future, friends and family can be placed into those positions. That is exactly what happened with the police merger. Not one person took a pay cut based on the merger and the fact that their supervisor level was no longer needed. If there is such a case, I would like to know about it. What the powers that be did do was promote a handful of folks in Dec. 2006. Why would they do that with a merger coming up in a month? Simple, make sure friends and family are taken care of.

Anonymous said...

I live in Lawrence Twp and have seen the Lawrence Twp fire dept in action and I agree with the prior post that they think they are in a small town. No, there is no reason to use a helicopter when an ambulance drive down Binford will get you to a trauma center faster.

Lawrence Twp has a flawed set of protocals and lacks leadership. They need to consolidate with IFD!!!

I called in a sick person recently and Lawrence Twp sent THREE pieces of apparatus to the Loon Lake Lodge!!! Now let me put it in perspective, they needed someone to take a sick person who threw up to a doctor, but sent THREE pieces of apparatus! Why? Well, it seems that when the budget comes in they will use this run to show that they had a run with THREE pieces of apparatus, so they need budgeted for the crews, wear & tear on equipment, etc. And the budget report gets padded because all these (I call them) "fake runs" show up as real dispatches. When the Chief asks for $$$, he shows the need for these apparatus that were dispatched on all these calls. He doesn't tell them that only one transport vehicle was needed.

Consolidate Lawrence Twp Fire with IFD, it will save us all $$$ and the better leadership will possibly save lives!

(I can't imagine the delay in calling a helicopter, clearing a landing zone by stopping an Interstate highway, waiting for them to arrive, triage, then take off again when an ambulance ride would have the victim at a trauma center before the landing zone is clear...pure incompetence)

Anonymous said...

9:35 That explains a story I have! I was watching TV when my central station fire alarm went off for no reason. I notified my alarm company and asked them to cancel as well as investigate the cause. I called fire dispatch and was told they cannot, thanks to 9:35 I know why!

Lawrence Twp is padding the run statistics to show a false sense of need!!!!!!

Why else would they refuse to cancel a false alarm run and waste two pieces of apparatus' dispatch? (I let the commander of the engine know my opinion of them wasting my tax dollars on the run.)

Anonymous said...

Repubicans arenot concerned about finances or service. They are concerned about holding on to the power that they have not lost yet. Times, they are changin'

Anonymous said...

6:59: regarding duplication of administrative services:

I have first-hand knowledge that there were eliminated positions in the Washington and Warren FD mergers. Saved money. Period.

It's common sense. The "Friends and Family" plan may be attempted by trustees or chiefs (note the spelling) as they exit one department and merge into IFD.

And I'm pretty sure IFD has its command structure problems, given what Gary's posted here about their chief's lack of discretion and rudeness.

Even so, executive-level positions have a way of sticking out like a sore thumb. There is tremendous momentum in favor of demonstrative savings, by the mayor's folks and his council allies, so they're looking hard for nepotism and wasteful positions.

Great post on Drummer, Gary. How long till he neeeds a lawyer? And when he does, will he use Ice Miller, the township's favorite lackies, or just follow recent pattern and hire Aaron Haith?