Friday, February 07, 2014

Fire Consolidation Bill Sailing Through The Legislature, Prepare To Bend Over Again

Mayor Greg Ballard's fire grab bill is sailing through  the legislature. That's the bill that would force the township fire departments within Marion County not consolidated into the Indianapolis Fire Department to be dissolved and absorbed by IFD regardless of whether township officials wish to give up their fire departments, along with their corresponding tax base and tax levying authority. This is necessary because the tax base upon which IFD relies has been gutted by TIF district expansions and tax abatements the mayor and the city-county council pass out like candy to their campaign contributors.

HB 1229 is sponsored by State Rep. Cindy Kirchofer (R-Indianapolis) and co-sponsored by State Rep. Dan Forestal (D-Indianapolis), who makes a living as an Indianapolis firefighter when he isn't given time off by his employer to play lawmaker at the State House and pocket yet a second government paycheck. Wouldn't you like a gig that allows you to get paid extra money to sponsor and vote for laws that personally benefit your employer?

HB 1229 sailed through the House on a 70-24 vote. Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) is sponsoring the bill in the Senate. The fiscal note prepared by the Legislative Services Agency is as worthless as most of the fiscal notes the staff there churns out. It speculates that the consolidation might "potentially provide costs savings for the county, townships and fire protections districts that are consolidated with IFD," including Decatur, Pike and Wayne Townships. We know for a fact that none of the prior consolidations have yielded a dime in savings to date. The cost of providing fire services increased, while the quality of the services being delivered in the areas of consolidation deteriorated.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Folks know that the two-party political system is corrupt. Maybe that is why voter turnout is so low.

Anonymous said...

It's the "townships officials" fire department. It's the taxpayers. They pay for it. Taxpayers also pay for the crooks in township government and the ones in city government. Consolidation only reduces the amount of crooks.
If your a believer that Small Claims need overhauled what makes you think that the township fire departments don't need overhauled or even poor relief? Oh wait poor relief allows millions to held in accounts while dishing out more in township salaries than it actually gives the poor. Good government there..

Township government in Marion County is archaic at best, having to get "emergency loans" every single year to meet pay-roll then paying the interest on those to some good 'ol boy banker buddy...is that good government? The only thing lost in saying good-bye to them is the waste of money.
Yes, I'm a firefighter that will tell you consolidation is about an even proposition. It's just a matter of which elected official you want bending you over.

Gary R. Welsh said...

To be sure, there are plenty of problems with township government. What needs to be clear is that the only thing consolidation accomplishes is to build a larger fire department with a larger union negotiating salary and benefits for firefighters and EMTs. It does not translate into better services or more efficient services. The consolidated city government has to keep expanding its tax base because it has decimated it with TIF districts and tax abatements.

The small claims courts are an entirely separate issue. They are funded by the fees people pay to have their cases heard in the small claims court.

Anonymous said...

Township fire departments are used by trustees as their private army to help their re-election by walking the districts, holding fundraisers, etc.
They keep their firefighters happy by spending big bucks on equipment, apparatus, remodeling fire houses, giving them semi-private bathrooms, etc.
Trustees also provide taxpayer funded uniform shirts for their employees at the office and court, and put their name on taxpayer owned vehicles that they drive.
Some trustees even hire their campaign managers as "assistant trustees," costing taxpayers more than $125,000 in pay & benefits each year.

Gary R. Welsh said...

There are also a bunch of Indianapolis firefighters who are precinct committeemen in both political parties doing the same political work. Pay-to-play is carried out on a much bigger scale in the city-county government than at the township level. The pinstripe patronage practiced in the city-county building costs taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually in wasted expenditures.

Anonymous said...

How does it build a bigger union? All of the firefighters affected are members of Local 416. Membership doesn't change one bit.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Township firefighters operate under a separate union contract from IFD. IFD members don't have a say in township firefighters contract.

Anonymous said...

I am going through the process to become an Indy firefighter... so it would be much appreciated if the Senate gives this a thumbs down.....for this year at least...

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting on the Indiana economy to live up to the promises made when it adopted DST and hosted the Super Bowl.

Anonymous said...

They should also go back to the police consolidation. Check into the amount of dollars they can get from TSA for consolidating the Airport PD. The department has the 2nd highest paid director of police in the State. Over $104,000.00

Anonymous said...

So instead of consolidation, we want a fire dept. in Decatur with all of its Chiefs, then 5 miles up the road another headquarters at Wayne with all of its Chiefs, and then up to Pike for yet another bloated fire dept. administration?? And moving FF's off the ambulances in Pike Twp. will allow those positions to be filled with Civilians who are cheaper to employ since they aren't in the 1977 Pension Fund.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to me how all these people can comment on things when they don't have both sides of the story. I can tell you without a doubt and 100% that what concerns these men and women who are on the front lines is they are concerned for their safety and the safety of the people they serve. Departments are way understaffed and work ALOT overtime not too mention the 48 hours they are away from their own families! I personally know several firefighters and unfortunalty they don't have the money these elected Township Trustees have (which are your tax dollars) to fight this on an even level. Remember the media doesn't always give both sides especially when it comes to politics. I would love to see someone in the media talk to these men and women to see how they feel, and what their concerns are, not elected officials that are afraid of loosing their power and inflated egos. Remember this when you are upside down trapped in your car at 2a.m. Or your house is on fire and your family trapped inside, witness the compassion and dedication of those who are really serving you! Yes it will save tax payers money, their won't be a bunch of chiefs all over as someone commented. Those of you that think you know, you don't, how many township meetings have you gone to? Do you even know they hold open meetings? These men and women need security and the townships just aren't giving it up. And for the person going thru the process I think you're a little selfish and if the process has already started it should not affect their current hiring process. I'm so frustrated