From the Union Thuggery Files
The long simmering dispute between the full-time unionized firefighters and paramedics in Prince George’s County and the long standing volunteer companies is back in the news.
It hit the headlines a few years ago when the International Association of Fire Fighters voted to declare the volunteer companies in PG county as “rival” organizations. This meant that the full-time firefighters could not also work as volunteers.
What was afoot was little more than a power grab by the IAFF to harm the volunteer companies while creating more postions to be filled by its members.
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From the Prince George’s Gazette:
The Prince George’s County Fire Chief Lawrence H. Sedgwick has recommended to remove the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department chief for failure to comply with changes to the station. Sedgwick has also fired his deputy fire chief of emergency operations, Lt. Col. Robert McCoy, for not enforcing his demands.
The central issue is a long running battle to demolish the Kentland VFD by making it run ambulance service over and above the ability of a volunteer company and using the subsequent inability to provide the service as a means to discredit that company and remove it’s leadership. While publicly proclaiming that the Kentland VFD was refusing to provide ambulance service, Prince George’s County took out of service three ambulance units which had traditionally served the unit.
In this newly discovered era of “structrual deficits” one would think that counties would be treating their volunteer fire and EMS units as a treasure, not as the enemy. But it all goes to money and to power.
Volunteer companies are autonomous and in many instances own their own equipment and firehouse. They are quintessentially American in both service to community and independence. Breaking these companies in spirit will reduce the number of volunteers and serve as the predicate to increase the number of much more expensive full-time, unionized, and, needless to say, politically reliable firefighters.
And we are the losers in this battle. All of us.