Back in the Drivers Seat

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I know, you are wondering why the posts have slacked off. The reason is that I was out of town. I had my computer with me, but I did not get around to posting much at all. I was in Richmond, which most of you may know is my adopted hometown. I spent the biggest chunk of my life there, including my high school years.

The VPFF has a Union hall in Richmond at 8th and Main. Several Roanoke Firefighters went down to help with the interior demolition of the building. Since then it has been rebuilt, and I might add that it is a very nice building. The building is 3 floors and has a large meeting room, offices, and even living quarters. During this time of the year the VPFF has a Legislative Director, currently Art Lipscomb from Lynchburg Local 1146, who lives in Richmond while the General Assembly is in session.

The Legislative end of the RFFA was an eye opener. I can assure all of you who think we are going on some field trip and a booze cruise that we work late hours and it is not a joyride. I encourage all of you to get involved. We had two more spots available for members which did not get filled.

There is some very positive Legislation that I posted on earlier. I suggest everyone to take a look and see. I was also able to speak with many members from several different departments. They provided insight to what they are doing about some of the issues which effect us. The “Medic” issue was brought up a lot. I heard things that other departments are doing, like:

Retention Pay - up to 3% a year as a benefit of staying.
Step pay increases – This is not uncommon, our department did it up til about 10 years ago. Basically a defined increase in pay each year you are here in conjunction with the cost of living raise.
Medic stipend – a yearly stipend for retaining your medic certification (we already have this)
Medic pay – A $1.50- $3.00 an hour increase in pay while you are on a transport unit.

I understand that our system might be different than others, and that the cost of living is less. I also take into account that some of these departments might be Counties.

As far as an answer, I am not paid for that. Of course I have some ideas. If I were a Medic, I would be downtown offering suggestions. If I were a Medic, I would want to be part of the solution. If I were under contractual obligation to become an EMT-Intermediate, I would be downtown next to the Medics to make sure that my needs are met, and my suggestions are heard. If I were a member of this Department, I would be at the next Union meeting asking questions, and offering to assist. I would make sure that MY VOICE IS HEARD.

If you are not going to take the time to help, to become part of the solution, then you need to live with the outcome. How many of you, Medics and Firefighters, still have a bad taste in your mouth because of how the merge was dealt with.

Remember, the Chief has an open door policy. How do you expect him to know what is going on if you don’t tell him.

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