News Coverage of the RFFA Speaking out against Budget Cuts
From what I have heard already, the Council Members were very receptive to our message. Some are said to have remarked that our presence and our message was the biggest and most impressive that the Council Members had seen in their tenure on Council.
Another little birdie told me that Mayor Nelson Harris was at the previous meeting at 5pm and even ate the catered dinner after that meeting between 5pm and 6pm. However, at 10 minutes to 7pm, Harris handed the gavel to Vice-Mayor Trinkle and tip-toed out the back door. I guess our presence was something that he did not want to get involved in during Elections. I also understand that the City Manager was not prepared and tongue tied while being interviewed afterwards.
I have so many things I would love to say right now, but instead I will leave you with this fact. Ninety One (91) Firefighters were in Council Chambers tonight. That is more than one-third of the department. Remember that one-third was working. I think we have your attention.
I must say that tonight I was a very proud Firefighter and a very proud member of the RFFA. To see you all come together in unity and solidarity was truly moving. Scooter’s account of his incident, Rorrer’s talk about Scooter, and Rodney’s account of Kyle Wilson all gave me goose bumps. It brought me to a place that I will be speaking of in the future on the blog.
I look forward to the Roanoke Times in the morning. Look for the story on Scott Hetherington on the front page of the Virginia section as well as an article by Mason Adams on the Council Meeting last night.
Click on the links below for news and video.
Firefighter Returns After Heart Attack – WSET
Roanoke firefighter returns after heart attack
Video: Firefighter returns to duty since suffering cardiac arrest – Roanoke Times
Firefighter reclaims spot at station – Roanoke Times
Firefighters upset about proposed cuts to Roanoke’s fire department – WDBJ
City seeks widespread budget cuts in proposal – Roanoke Times
Firefighters Face Cuts – WSET
Roanoke Firefighters Association makes statement at City Hall – WSLS
Many fired up about proposed cuts to Roanoke’s fire department
Firefighters Fight Cuts – WSET (a snippet is below)
Chief David Hoback, Roanoke Fire & EMS – “City council, city manager, no one wants to do this. But the fire department, being the second largest budget, has to contribute their share.” And Chief Hoback decided the only way to reduce his budget by $350,000 to $400,000, as instructed, was to reduce his staffing. A decision that has his firefighters rallying against him. Lt. Rhett Fleitz, Firefighters Assoc. Local 1132 – “This isn’t necessarily the firefighters against the fire chief. This is more so, the firefighters against the budget cuts.” Cuts that would scale back the staffing at Station 13 on Peters Creek Road from six firefighters to three, the absolute minimum required to operate a truck. Fleitz – “This proposal will jeopardize Roanoke City (web) firefighters as well as the citizens we’re trying to protect.” Chief David Hoback, Roanoke Fire & EMS – “They will not see a difference. They will not experience a difference. The truck will still get there in four minutes or less and be able to meet those performance standards.” But Chief Hoback admits, if adopted, this proposal would stretch his department thin. He says reducing any more positions would force them to eliminate a station. And no one wants that.