Sometimes negotiations drag on for months and nothing seems to be accomplished. Both sides feel that they’re willing to give just enough as to not be seen as giving away the kitchen sink. All of us agree that the safety and wellbeing of our citizens is foremost. But we also have to look at the men and the lifelong commitment they’ve put in to serve our city.
The number one problem to me is you can’t have people who have no fire business deciding how the joint venture should be handled. I understand that the city does put in the needed monies to operate a full-fledged Fire Department. But I feel that both sides should dismantle and rebuild a unified department from top to bottom. The rebuilding must be done by the Post and Fire Department with their ideas and goals combined to form a Department with the highest standards and experience that our city leaders and citizens have come to expect and depended on.
The Post is a unit that is and will always be a part of the history of Fort Oglethorpe. I believe that if there is any joining it must be the city combining with the Post and creating a Department that will be an envy to all others. I think if all parties sit down and realize that a new leadership structure and salary for all must be worked out and approved by the council. That shift and personnel should be created to handle all stations. That if volunteers are to be continued there must be a system in place to pay them when needed and to compensate them if they have to leave their jobs. Remember, regardless of how many you have paid personnel, you must continue to keep a volunteer base on hand for emergencies, vacations, and various other reasons decided upon by those involved.
Our city leaders have boasted that with new businesses coming that the future is bright for our city. Well, with all the new developments and businesses here and coming we must show them that we have the capability of funding a Police and Fire Department that will meet not only the needs of our citizens but theirs. Also, I believe it is past time for our city employees to receive raises for the fine jobs that they have done.
Richard Egeland, Fort Oglethorpe