Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The new Grinch

City of Pontiac's Emergency Financial Manager

This past Saturday (Christmas Eve 2011), the Pontiac Fire Department received pink slips along with an application for the Waterford Twp Fire Department via mail.  The Emergency Financial Manager, Louis Schimmel, must have felt like that would be the most appropriate way to get his message across to the firefighters.  Meanwhile I am sure the firefighters felt like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when he didn't get the bonus, but rather enrolled in the Jelly of the Month Club.

The Pontiac Fire Department's history started over 179 years ago as a bucket brigade.  They eventually purchased a fire truck that did not operate well and had to once again rely on the hard working members of the bucket brigade to try and stop the spread of the fire.  The fire department has come along way since then and is a symbol of this community.

The Emergency Financial Manager, Pontiac City Council, and Waterford Twp has drawn up a contract so that what essentially happens is the Waterford Twp FD will take over the fire services for the City of Pontiac and have Star EMS handle all medical calls.  The Pontiac Firefighters have said that what they would like to do is talk to their counterparts in Waterford and see if a deal cant be struck for a merger rather than a takeover, but they are not getting any contact back.

There are lots of questions that are left unanswered so far to this point and I know that not only the firefighters don't know the answers, but neither do the residents of both communities.  For instance:
- How long is this contract good for?
- Who covers operating costs of stations and maintenance and repair costs of vehicles?
- What if Pontiac defaults on their payment or files for bankruptcy?
- What strains will this hostile take over place on current mutual aid agreements?
- Why wont Waterford FD's Paramedics handle calls in Pontiac?
These are just a few questions that have been passed around and I know there are many more.  Did you know that if this takeover is approved Waterford FD will be promoting members of their own ranks, meanwhile guys in Pontiac that apply and get hired at Waterford will lose theirs even if they have more experience? 

I just don't know how a city can stoop this low and do this to the men and women that have put in years of hard work and dedication.I have friends that work for both departments and appreciate the hard work and dedication that they all put in on the job, but I have to stand behind and support the Pontiac Firefighters in this case.


  1. I can't remember what new outlet I saw it in, but the deal was to contract with WTDP for 6 million. 4 million of that would have to be put back into the Pontiac Fire Contract while Waterford would pocket the other 2 million. I'll see if I can find it.

  2. Thats along the lines I have heard. I also heard the Pontiac FF's have submitted proposals, but have not heard back from the city. Today is the daye the PFD Local 376 votes whether to disband and try to apply for jobs with Waterford or fight til the end and be laid off by 2/1/12. Lots of tough decisions for them to make.