Well I really didn’t want to write this post but I think it should be said. About a month ago I was approached by APFA (Fire Department Union) leadership. I was given a book compiled by them. The book was slanted against the actions of Chief Crowson. APFA leadership wants the Chief gone, and that's no secret. After being briefed I specifically pointed at the book and stated, “Are you sure you want to have this conversation?” Leadership replied in the affirmative. I replied, “This is not the Union’s job.” They replied that they wanted to go ahead.
One of the subjects addressed in the book was manning. Now it is known that Arlington has the least number of firefighters per 1,000 people of any department in the Metroplex at .80. The book illustrated that over a 182 day period, the department was only manned with the requisite 84 firefighters 44.5% of the time. Therefore, the only way to man the department properly is to get firefighters to come to work on overtime at 1.5 times their normal pay. After doing some research I found that the Arlington Fire Department is number 2, in the Metroplex in overtime behind Ft. Worth. Our overtime for 300 firefighters was $2.3 million last year. The year before was $2.5 million. In the book that was given to me, the overtime request was $3.0 million for the next five years totaling $15.0 million dollars. This is not going to happen on my watch. My solution to this problem, is to get the equation into equilibrium and hire more firefighters to staff the department properly. Union leadership howled and stated that it would cost more money because you have to buy their bunker gear. That will only take a few hours of overtime and it is a one- time purchase. I can assure you it will be well south of $15.0 million.
The Council has taken the accusations of APFA leadership seriously. We have requested an audit of Fire Department expenditures, and I have requested that 18 new firefighters be hired to properly staff their shifts. For taking their problems under consideration and hiring new firefighters, my name was dragged through the mud at the APFA Union hall, and I was told by their leadership that my campaign would not be supported by them in the future. Leadership couldn’t tell me this in person, so they left a voice message on my phone. I find this to be unfortunate and another poor decision by APFA leadership. After all, if they hadn’t produced the book in the first place and been so greedy in their budget requests, none of this would have happened. It is very important that leadership take responsibility for their actions, and stop blaming others.