Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Should we be alarmed?

East Boston is protected by one less fire company today. The city has "browned out" Engine 56, located on Ashley Street in Orient Heights, along with companies in Dorchester and South Boston, in accordance with its new policy to avoid paying overtime when a certain number of firefighters call in sick.

It is unclear to me whether Ladder 21, which operates from the same firehouse, is still on duty. Eastie also has firehouses at 239 Sumner Street (just outside Maverick Square) and 360 Saratoga Street (just outside Day Square).

This is the latest in a war of hostility between the Menino Administration and Local 718, the firefighters union, which has been without a contract for three years.


Anonymous said...

Yes Jimbo we should be alarmed.Without Engine 56 there is only one other engine co. in East Boston that carries water. Engine 56 is the backup fire protection at Logan if there is an emergency there.This is deplorable.Politics, and the Mayor fighting with Local 718 should NOT put the people in EB at risk. I am appaled that this is the best solution Menino can come up with to handle sick calls.
Why do we here in East Boston constantly get the shaft? Because they take us for granted.Will people vote for Menino here no matter what he does? Lets see if our local "Menino puppets" will dare to speak out when the safety of our citizens is concerned.

Tom B. said...

It remains to be seen if our local newspaper will try to defend the community over the loss of fire service coverage OR if the newspaper will try to defend the actions of the mayor and the fire commissioner. I think I know the answer. The pattern won't change.

N.starluna said...

I am curious what is the difference between a Ladder Co. and an Engine Co. I take it from the first comment that it has something to do with carrying water. Are there any other differences?

Anonymous said...

The big difference is an Engine Co is equipped with water,hoses, and pump. That means it can put out a fire without having the use of a hydrant. In urban areas,and especially at an airport this could be vital.
It sickens me that we the people of East Boston are pawns in a political game of chess.

Anonymous said...

Wow - sounds like this post is off to another Flaherty love fest. Why is it that the Mayor is the bad guy here? Do you people who are critical of the Mayor even understand the issue. Probably not. Jimbo, you might have done a better job of explaining the background on the issue in your post. For instance, maybe identify the number of sick calls on average (compared to other departments) and the amount of overtime the City has to spend money on as a result. Additionally, why don't you also highlight the rampant practice of firefighters going out on disability at a higher pay grade where for example a Lieutenant calls in sick and the next in command is "covering" and "gets hurt". This is just one more distraction from the real issue the leadership of 718 doesn't want to talk about - mandatory drug testing for its members. I respect and admire the job firefighters do but I can't see why drug testing was such an issue for so long in light of past events. Is 718 with Flaherty? Why? Because they think he will do the opposite of whatever it is they don't like Menino for? If that's true that's a pretty good reason not to be with Flaherty I would guess.

Jim said...

Hey, don't shoot the messenger. I just pointed out what was going on yesterday. There's plenty of information out there if people want to find it. I've been plenty critical of Local 718 on this blog.

Mary said...

To Anonymous at 4:35:

On Michele McPhee's show last night, Commissioner Frazier admitted that the number of those who "called in sick" was incorrectly reported in the media. However, he only conceded that point when it was challenged by the union president. It was 12 firefighters vs. the 30 plus that was reported. The difference reflected those who were already out on work-related injuries, etc. So, I guess the mayor and his team didn't do a very good of presenting the true facts; they just wanted to spin it to reflect poorly on the union.

The bottom line is: our weekly newspaper is unabashedly pro-Menino, while Jim allows a myriad of opinions to be expressed on his blog.

N.starluna said...

Does anyone know exactly what a brown out is? From the article it sounds like the stations are closed only when there are a certain number of workers calling in sick.

Is that what it is? Or are these stations closed permanently?

Anonymous said...

All this lately with the fire department reminds me of the scene in that movie The Gangs of New York when the different fire departments show up to fight over who gets to put out the fire.

It seems like many towns are held hostage to their fire departments - the small town where I grew up was pushed into funding a gigantic new firehouse even though there were only 2 fires per year in the town.

I don't hold the politicians blameless here, but it does seem like the fire and police tend to push a bit too hard in these type of negotiations. I think I remember the police once going into the State House or City Hall to protest something to do with their wages, where the implication was that the politicians shouldn't anger a group of people with guns.

In particular for Boston, it seems we haven't really evolved past the period of time depicted in Gangs of New York - neither with our public services nor public servants.

Anonymous said...

I bet the Times doesn't even cover the story.

Anonymous said...

So lets see here.
We have less fire protection,as does every other section of Boston.

Our tax bills are exploding.

City services SK.

Yet No Lay offs in City Hall ???

Please don't tell me the citizens of Boston are not getting hosed.

The only budget problems we have are way to many political hacks in City Hall working paper pushing jobs.

I had to get a peermit from Public works for project.

1st I had to spend 300 in the Parking department
2nd I had to leave there got to another office,another 250
3rd have yet another person hand me more forms to fill out
4th who then gave it to her co-worker.
5th then when I thought I was done ,a fifth worker said no permit ,or parking signs till you go and get a 10,000 bond to carry trash over the side walk to a dumpster
6th had to hire a police detail

In all I spent 4 hours,and none of it was needed. I should of had to go to one counter,pay my fees ,fill out my forms,and get out.

Trim the fat cats living off Meninos coat tales,and maybee we would be better off.

A study was done by citizens with limited taxation,and they claim there are apx 1600 un-needed jobs at City hall.

What a great place to start.

Just like the emts,firemen,and police cant strike,by law.
There should be a law saying the Mayor or anyone else can't leave us unprotected ,or close stations.

The last time we lost station 7 for a long time,and 2 Fire houses NEVER reopened,56 Marion /now 2 condos,and the building Zumix is going in on Sumner street.

Vote Flagherty,vote change,its Lonnnnnnnng overdue.

Carl P.

Anonymous said...

Yes we should be alarmed,and pi off.

Why not lay off the political hacks inside City Hall?

Its estimated about 1600 jobs are just there for favoratism.

I tried this before but puter crashed.

I had to get a Public Works permit .

I had to deal with a total of 7 people in 4 departments,not to mention the fact I was forced to take out a 100,000 bond to take demo stuff across their sidewalk.

Get this at the public works counter,they gave me a business card for the only law firm they accept. So then I had to leave City Hall go there pay another 200.00 ,go back and get my permit .
Total time 3 hours 15 minutes.

Just paper pushers.This all could of been done at one counter by one person.

Also whats with the sweet heart deal using this law firm for the Insurance bond?

By shutting down another hack keeps the job.

For those of us who are lifers,lets not forget the permanant closing of the fire station where Zumix is building on Sumner street,or the one thats now 2 condos at 56 Marion street,then we lost our Police Station,as those doors were also locked. Thank God we got it back.

Face it ,the pols do not care in City Hall,and thats why I am voting for change.

enough is enough.

There should be a law like the one that forbids the police,emts,or the fire dept from going on strike that says you can NEVER let the public go unprotected.

Remember when you walk in the voting booth,you have two choices,more of the same,or a fresh start.

If you vote for the current set of City Hallers,don't go to this blog,public meetings etc,and complain !

Anonymous said...

The Times not only covered the story but did a good job of telling both sides. You should point that out Jim--oh wait, I bet Jim didn't even read the story?

Anonymous said...

Don't worry we know you read the Times,and I saw the story they did it was O.K.,but not critical about the risk factor of Brown Outs,like slower response time.

After I read the Times I line my cats litter box with it.

Man did you see todays edition ?

There has to be 40 pictures of Menino in it,yet they say they are not biased.

Please get real folks,its not an East Boston Paper,its a Pols best friend,that is unless you are a strong challenger like Mike Flaherty.

Stop complaining,and vote for change,not the same old ,same old.


I wonder why the Menino boosters had nothing to say about the two fire houses we lost forever.

But dont fret my pet Menino has 24 hour a day secuity by the Boston Police,so when he goes to bed he has nothing to worry about. What a life !No wonder he wants to stay !

Anonymous said...

Menino is alarmed!His voter ID for EB shows him leading Flaherty by a little over 700 votes!This is a ward he expected to carry 3 to 1.It is all catching up to him.If Flaherty made a real effort here he could tip him.There are cracks in the Menino machine all over the city. This race could get real interesting.