City Council gets an earful from firefighters
On a day that has become symbolic of sacrifices made by firefighters and police officers due to the attacks on the World Trade Center, South Lake Tahoe firefighters and their supporters aired grievances to the City Council on Tuesday regarding 18-month-old contract negotiations.
Fact sheets, provided by the city and circulated at Tuesday’s meeting, included responses from city labor negotiators to many of the firefighters’ concerns, including wages, health care benefits, retirement benefits, staffing and turnover in the department.
The fact sheet stated the average pay for a firefighter in 2006 was $53,426, a figure Jim Drennan, president of the South Lake Tahoe Fireman’s Association, disputed.
In fact, Drennan took issue with many of the statements contained in the handout.
“It attempts to counter some of the things we’ve been saying, but it’s a little remiss in fact,” Drennan said Tuesday, adding, “It’s not even half the truth; it’s absolute lies.”
At least one person who addressed the council in support of the firefighters referenced the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Although comment from the City Council on the situation was not allowed because the firefighter’s complaints were aired during the public comment period of the meeting, which limits council discussion, a press release from South Lake Tahoe City Manager David Jinkens addressed the status of the ongoing labor negotiations.
“We will work diligently and in a professional manner to bring these discussions to a successful conclusion,” said the statement. “We all want the best for them and for our community within our financial means.”