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Taunton, MA Cuts Nearly Half of Public Safety Force

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  • Taunton, MA Cuts Nearly Half of Public Safety Force

    WJAR NBC 10

    TAUNTON, Mass. -- Taunton is cutting public safety officers to cope with a budget deficit, News Channel 10's Kim Keough reported.

    City residents call the cuts "dangerous."

    Taunton is facing a $6.8 million shortfall. But instead of raising taxes and fees, the city is laying off firefighters and police officers.

    "We have to have the revenues and the expenditures balanced as of July 1," Mayor Ted Strojny said.

    Of 164 layoffs, 97 will be firefighers and police officers, Keough reported.

    "As a resident, I think it's appalling," Paul Damon said. "We have city property in the city of Taunton that can be sold instead of laying off public safety officials."

    As of Friday afternoon, the Fire Department laid off 50 firefighters from a force of 128.

    "We have a normal house fire, we send three engines. Right now, we'll send three engines to a normal house fire. So, if they have these layoffs and close three stations, we only have two engines to start with," said Lee Beauvais, president of the firefighters' union.

    On Monday, the Police Department will shrink as well, from 14 officers per shift to four officers.

    "People will die as a result of these decisions," Chief Raymond O'Berg said bluntly.

    The mayor said the city will begin rehiring laid off workers as soon as the city begins to recover revenue.

    ---------------------------------------

  • #2
    If city "managers" can't manage their cities without cutting vital and needed services, then they should quit or be fired. Cities should manage their resources better or raise taxes. I personally live in a city that refuses to raise taxes to even the state average. As long as the people are receiving what they pay for and the services are needed, then I'm all for raising of taxes. Cities that have larger budgets and more employees for their recreation departments than they do for their fire or police departments need to re-evaluate their policies. Emergency services first; then the kids can go play ball.
    Member IACOJ

    Comment


    • #3
      Good Point!

      Saw an Engine the other day, crew was a Driver and an Officer. Same day, Same town, saw a trash truck. Trash truck had a Driver, Officer, AND 2 ON THE BACK STEP. Priorities?? Tell me about it. Oh, and that damn back step that is so dangerous for Firefighters? Funny that the trash guys have no problems with it. But then, there's no NFPA giving orders to the trash truck manufacturers is there?? (No, I'm NOT saying get back on the step again.)
      Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
      In memory of
      Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
      Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

      IACOJ Budget Analyst

      I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

      www.gdvfd18.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Hwoods,talk about annoying NORAC is trying to outlaw rideing on the steps or front decks of locomotives. I really hope that dont happen cause thats going to get annoying in the yard. I am happy though my trolley museum or motorcar club does not fall under FRA or NORAC guidelines.

        I hope those jakes get rehired soon.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Taunton, MA Cuts Nearly Half of Public Safety Force

          Originally posted by CollegeBuff
          As of Friday afternoon, the Fire Department laid off 50 firefighters from a force of 128.

          On Monday, the Police Department will shrink as well, from 14 officers per shift to four officers.

          "People will die as a result of these decisions," Chief Raymond O'Berg said bluntly.[/B]
          Are they INSANE!! Why doesn't the city administration take cut in their most likely outrageous salery instead of hanging up a sign that says "Rape, Rob, Murder, and Burn This City".
          Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

          Comment


          • #6
            Bean counters

            City admininstrators take a CUT? Yah right,when pigs fly!Heeellllooo,nobody could see revenues dwindling?This happens overnight,like am I the only one who DOESN"T think the economys wonderful.Does ANYONE in DC except our brothers and sisters even have a CLUE?Taunton on a full boat doesn't have a full crew much less on this rowboat.This is like signing a death warrant.I've never seen such BS with the exception of NYC cutting our peoples throats down there too.T.C.

            Comment


            • #7
              Its all a calculated trick, to cut the money that comes back the fastest.
              If they did their homework and cut the things that need cutting, the money comes back slower, so they instead pork these dedicated individuals, and the citizens.
              "I am permaprobie, and I approve this message."

              Comment


              • #8
                Heeellllooo,nobody could see revenues dwindling?
                Unfortunately for many in Massachusetts when the new Governor took over, the last administration had not yet approved a budget. Soooooo.....The new administration took drastic steps to try and reduce the budget shortfall for the current fiscal year. How you say? But cutting State aid to local Towns and Cities. Unfortunately most Towns and Cities had already made their budgets with projected funds from the State. Do you see where this is going? The State cuts the funds and Cities and Towns, already in finacial straights, are forced to make adjustments. Unfortunately many chose to layoffs as the solution, since you can't raise taxes mid year. For those that think this year’s cuts are bad, they say next year will be worse.

                What I don't understand is this. How can you take a force of 128 reduce it by 50 and expect it to function? I am not even talking about function safely, just function period.

                I come even closer to home...2 Towns over, voters just approved an override to hire 12 firefighters, promote 4 Lieutenants and man a third station. Yet in my Town, up until 1 month ago, layoffs were being considered. Yarmouth will add 12 firefighters and run with 3 stations. 2 stations with and engine and ambulance and 3 firefighters, one station with a minimum or 5 or 6 Firefighters. And yet my Town, with a manning of 3 Firefighters per station, similar setup vehicle wise...was going to lay people off.

                Why is Public Safety the easy target? Why are we still being told we are the "First Line of Defense", when they are cutting us back to the bone? Does it take less manpower to fight fire in Harwich than in Yarmouth? or Danbury than in Worcester? Or in, well you get my point. City managers have it in for us, well not all City managers, but many. We are the easy "big budget" targets. We are still perceived as checker playing, coffee drinking, too much time on our hands employees, that now happen to also be the first line of defense when the poop hits the spinning wheel. So rather than support us and raise appropriations to support our needs, they cut us to the bone and force us to do more with less. And the really stupid part is that we will.....We always have!

                Comment


                • #9
                  hfd66 -

                  Let me just say that I think that this may be a reasoning behind why public safety is being hit in Massachusetts. Mind you I am also a person who is quite upset at the schools districts.

                  If you cut public safety how many people come out of the woodwork to voice their displeasure, other than the peopel who are directly affected - i.e. Police officers, Firefighters, DPW workers.

                  Now switch tracks. When a town announces cuts to the schools the newspapers print these grandiose articles, the school committee atarts ranting and raving, the Mass. Teacher's Association starts playing TV ads to "Raise the Revenues" (Have you seen this foolishness), students start protesting against the cuts, the schools start printing take home surveys and flyers to bring home to mommy and daddy. In essence it is easier politically to cut public safety because the backlash is MUCH less intense and shorter lasting from the voters. The schools have public safety beat on organization and noisemaking.

                  Now, as for Masachusetts -

                  1) Even if that half-wit O'Brien had won the situation would have been the same - cuts in local aid.

                  2) Everyone criticizes Romney for his plans but no one goes after the exploding spending in the state legislature, when they tell everyone else to cut and tighten the belts, they continue to give themselves pay raises and do what they want.

                  3) The state and every community was advised that the economy was not going to be good forever and that they should control spending and plan for the bad times ahead. I know of only a very few towns that did this. When the rainclouds came all we hear is whining? Who is at fault for this?

                  4) In an area of the country wiht one of the most expensive costs of living and at the third highest taxed state in the country people do not even want to hear that taxes are going up faster than inflation.

                  Me, I am a laid off firefighter due to the state's ineptness. I hold absolutely no animosity against the voters in my town for not voting for the 2 1/2 override that cost me my job because they are taxed to the hilt by the town and the school budget comprises about 70% of the town's budget and keeps taking more money every year. The town was and is sick of it.
                  "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

                  The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

                  "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

                  "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

                  www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You know Sharkie....it always comes back to that argument, but I am not always sure that its right. and You kinda missed some of my point.

                    The very people; city managers, mayors, etc etc, that say we are the "first line of defense" are also the first to cut us. Now I understand that laying off 5 firefighters in my Town(hypothetically) would have less of an impact on service than laying off 5 DPW workers. Number for number, there are more of us than them. But so what if my road doesn't get swept this week, or the puddle in my street is there a month or two longer.

                    You blame the schools, but yet aren't you saying that they are better at this game than us? So who is wrong? Personally, as a taxpayer, I would rather see an increase in my taxes, than say class size go from 20 to 30. I would rather see an increase than say 2 man engines instead of 3. Its the cost of doing business. And an educated voter is a better one. Maybe we should all go back to school and learn how to fight for our budgets.

                    I agree that no matter who won the picture would be the same. But I do not agree that the solutions would have been (and I am not saying O'brien would have done better). Town budgets are planned 9 to 12 months before they are put into effect (at least in our Town, where budget planning begins in Sept or Oct for the budget that begins in the following July) So for Towns to have a Town meeting, approve the budget, set the tax rate and then have the State remove funding that was included in that process...thats like you paying your credit card bill by check and then having your employers say that he cut your salary in half this week. There had to be a better way to do it, and Romney saying "these cuts should not be directed at public safety" doesn't cover it.......

                    To reduce fire staffing by alomost half in a city the size of Taunton is criminal. To have 4 police officers on the street is assinine....

                    There are other solutions my friend...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Taunton PD's union stormed out of a meeting with the city council today, apparently after a very heated argument. Something to do with the council doing a lot of talking and not a lot of listening. I could be wrong, I only half-heard it.

                      A map was displayed on the news last night showing the planned deployment of the 4 officers per shift.

                      1, 1-man patrol car on one side of town.

                      1, 1-man patrol car on the other side of town.

                      1, 2-man paddy wagon in the middle.
                      Last edited by CollegeBuff; 06-03-2003, 01:40 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lets just hope a conflagration of biblical proportions dont hit Taunton. 4 LEO's is INSANE.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You blame the schools, but yet aren't you saying that they are better at this game than us?
                          I thought that was my point. They are much better organized than public safety. My point about the schools is that they are taking a very disproportionate portion of the money for which there is little to no accountability.

                          When I was in school, only 11 years ago mind you, I had classes that were 25 - 30 students, and sometimes more. They spent about $3500 to $4000 per pupil on us. Now classes have "been reduced" to 20 pupils adn they spend $8000 to $10000 per student in the public schools.

                          With this improvement - the money has not produced the result that it should. Test scores are stagnant or down and children are not being taught what they need to be taught to get through life in modern times. Textbooks are factually wrong, nevermind that they are politically correct. Take a look at a school budget, it's a joke. All funds are in blocks and the school budgets presented are very rarely line items. In addition, 80 - 90 percent of the school budget is salaries so explain to me exactly how an increase in school spending benefits the kids? Capital improvements within the schools on an annual basis do not happen. Where is the money going? All I want is accountability and I am not getting it. Police, Fire, DPW, city hall, public health all have to justify their budgets but the school district just comes in and says I want x million this year and they get it no questions asked. Finally though, people are catching on and not giving in.

                          I just want accountability. One department habitually not being touched while others are being slashed is worng. What good is it to have schools when other services for the community are diminished tremendously?

                          As for the towns laying out there budgets months in advance - I understand that, but for the last 10 years we heard people screaming into the wind to stop government growth at teh rate it was, save the money, and plan for the bad times. Very few people listened to the economists and ****ed away the money - people from Taunton, to Springfield, to Boston, to the nitwits on Beacon Hill. Now they are all surprised. Who is to blame for this?
                          "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

                          The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

                          "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

                          "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

                          www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The big problem is with "special education", mandated by the State.

                            We have 64 "special education" students with severe handicaps and disabilities that go to schoolds outside of the City and State. Their edication is mandated by the State. Guess who picks up the tab? that's right we do. In my community, $500K is spent on just TWO "students"!

                            In my community, 41 city employees will be laid off, including 6 cops and 4 firefighters on July 1. We are already down 6 positions due to medical leave and IOD. There may be enough retirements to save the FD jobs, but the total that the City has to spend on "special education" ($1.7 Million) would save all of the jobs slated to be cut. If the State mandates it, then the State should pick up the tab.
                            Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 06-03-2003, 09:33 AM.
                            ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                            Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Schools are better at using the "system" to mandate things.

                              We have special education, like Gonzo points out.

                              We also have very high education requirements -- it takes 5 years of college in my state to teach Kindergarten. I'm sorry, but I have a hard time believing you need a masters-level of education at the grade and even high school level.

                              A culture of lateral transfers has taken root in education. That's not necessarily bad, and it does reflect the society as a whole. But still, it puts upward pressure on all towns to meet the "average" salary less they lose teachers who jump ship for more money.

                              With size comes power. There's more teachers out there than cops or firefighters, and they have more taxpayers they influence on a regular basis.

                              Misguided state "fairness" mandates also hurt. My town doesn't have a high school. We used to designate one, but kids could attend others if their parents made up the difference in tuition -- usually $500 to $1000/yr. It was a nice option to choose a better fitting school than the one most students went to. Today my town *must* pay the whole tuition to wherever the student choses to go.

                              In the early 90s, binding arbitration took its toll. Contracts in Connecticut almost always included 10% pay raises for 3 consecutive years -- that's something like a 40% raise in one contract, and a 40% increase it what's already the largest portion of the biggest budget item in the town budget!

                              Finally, class sizes. When I went to school, 30 was standard and the teachers wanted 25. Now 25 is considered large, and they aim for 20. Well, first you need more teachers cause a grade that used to have 4 teachers now needs 6. Then you need to build bigger schools 'cause you need more classrooms. The town next to me where about half our kids go to high school is now building a new high school. They have fewer students than in the 1970s when the school was new -- but today, they have more teachers so they need more classrooms, so they need $35million for a new building!
                              IACOJ Canine Officer
                              20/50

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