But as John Adams used to say, "facts are stubborn things."
During the November 14 City Council Meeting, the leadership of the MCVFD doubled down on their refusal to sit down to negotiate the 2018 contract with the Council’s negotiating team that consists of me, Mayor Pro Tem Orchard and Council Member Turnbull (See November 13 post), by insisting that all future negotiations be transacted in writing. The Fire Chief also insisted that as a non-voting member, he could not speak on behalf of or make decisions for the 11-member fire department.
Since state law prohibits the full Council from deliberating anything out of session, we are therefore forced to wait until we convene before discussing or taking any action. However, the same restriction does not apply to the MCVFD leadership, which has been on an unrelenting public relations assault against the City Council for failing to respond in a more timely manner, despite the fact that they ensured that we cannot.
On November 21, the MCVFD delivered a proposal, which the Council reviewed separately in preparation for the November 28 Council meeting.
At that meeting, each member of the Council approached the issue from very different perspectives and scrutinized the issue of fire protection for our citizens in very different ways. We are confronting some cold hard facts that many who are fighting against us simply do not want to acknowledge or allow others to find out about, which is the reason behind all the vitriolic propaganda that’s hit mailboxes and is flooding social media.
But as John Adams used to say, “facts are stubborn things.”
- The MCVFD is solely responsible for providing fire protection services to the fire district.
- Neither the City nor the County has such a requirement.
- The MCVFD leadership is responsible for its funding.
- 78% of all fire departments in the state of Texas are “Volunteer.”
- Over 90% of them raise funds to support their services.
- Nationally, for cities with populations under 5,000, less than 18% have paid firefighters (there’s no statistics for cities under 2,500 in population).
- Royce City, with a population more than five times the size of M-C continues to have an all-volunteer department.
- Their 2017 fire dept. budget was just one hundred and fifty dollars more than MCVFD’s 2017 budget!
- M-C makes up 1/3 of the total fire district and the remaining 2/3 is in the unincorporated area, where well over half the population in the fire district reside.
- M-C taxpayers funded 90% of the MCVFD’s 2017 budget (paid in one lump sum at the beginning of the year).
- The remaining 10% was funded by the County out of sales taxes collected in the unincorporated areas of the County, which is divided and distributed to each of the fire districts.
- Those that reside in the unincorporated areas contributed nothing to the MCVFD’s 2017 budget.
- The County has contracted with the city of M-C, not the MCVFD, to provide fire protection to the unincorporated area of our fire district, since our City has been the primary source of funding.
- Last month, the fire chief appealed to the County Commissioners to contract directly with the MCVFD, rather than going through the City.
- I appealed to the Commissioner’s Court not to take that action so that we could try and work
- On November 14, the County Commissioners
Why is our city of approximately 2,000 paying volunteer firefighters to work full-time when our neighbor, Royse City (approx. pop 12,600) still has an all-volunteer department (t) and when a city like Rockwall (approx. pop. 43,500) didn’t start paying firefighters until just a few years ago?
Why is it that Royce City can find volunteers to man the station during the daytime hours of 7am to 7pm but the MCVFD leadership cannot?
Why is the MCVFD paying a salary for a fire chief that has never been a full-time firefighter and holds no certifications with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection [TCFP], the only regulatory authority in the state of Texas?
Was the MCVFD leadership trying to mislead the Council into believing that Chief Jones is TCFP certified? (See video below)
Why is the “part time” fire chief paid double what the former full-time fire chief was paid?
Since 78% of all fire departments in Texas are volunteer