Stamford Fire Volunteers Unite On Mayor Pavia's Fire Plan

The Stamford Volunteer Fire Department awaits a decision on Mayor Pavia's fire plan that will decide their future.

The Stamford Volunteer Fire Department, the central entity created by Mayor Michael Pavia's fire service plan proposal, are already active in drills while awaiting for an approval on that will allow them to move forward.

"We're very much in favor of the Mayor's fire plan. We think that it'll be good for the people we protect, and we think it'll be good for the fire service in Stamford," Stamford Volunteer Fire Department head Ray Whitbread told Patch.

Whitbread, a long-time Stamford firefighter, stated that the would be ready to begin operations pending an Board of Representatives approval of Mayor Pavia's fire service plan, which has been a subject of debate between several fire departments and Mayor Pavia for over two years.

As a result, the Stamford Professional Firefighters Association assisted in the drafting of an alternative fire proposal. The alternative proposal attempts to eliminate some of the costs that are to come with Pavia's fire plan.

"I think there's a certain amount of misunderstanding about the [alternative] fire plan. I also don't think that some of the opponents have a full picture of the alternative plan, or aren't addressing the downside of the alternative plan, which is actually very significant," Whitbread said.

"Frankly, in comparison to the Mayor's plan, I don't see any added benefit in the alternative plan. The downside is that the downtown fire area, presently covered by Stamford Fire and Rescue, is going to lose 20% of their present fire company coverage. They're going to lose two of the companies that currently cover the downtown area...that's a huge downside. I don't think the alternative fire plan can be done at no-cost," Whitbread said.

According to Whitbread, Stamford residents will "lose" if the alternative plan goes into effect. "...If they lose, we lose. They lose because they get less fire protection for their dollar, and they're actually going to be paying more in tax dollars...once this alternative plan goes into effect, the volunteers will be likened to a 'second string' team. They're no longer going to be the first responders, they're no longer going to be the first team out there," Whitbread said.

The staff of the Stamford Volunteer Fire Department are currently preparing for eventual operation.  According to Whitbread, volunteers from four departments have already , but will not be officially recognized by the city unless the Board of Representatives passes Pavia's fire plan.

"Even if we don't get approval, we plan to operate as a consolidated force for as long as we can," Whitbread said.

Jake December 22, 2011 at 06:56 PM
A village cannot rearange itself to conform to the desires of the village idiot. This plan is a disaster waiting to happen.
Bryan December 23, 2011 at 02:23 AM
Like the Darien Patch I hope that the Stamford Patch will delete any comments that are personal attacks.
Here we go December 23, 2011 at 05:09 AM
You mean any comment that goes against what this plan says?
Here we go December 23, 2011 at 05:17 AM
I will ask the question yet again, and I hope this isn't considered a " personal" attack. Why are they calling themselves volunteers when they want paid staffing? Why are the firefighters of this new "volunteer plan" being paid MORE than an SFRD firefighter. If you hire paid staff, you are no longer volunteer. period. If you want to save the city money, why are you paying your new hires MORE money than what an SFRD firefighter gets? These are not personal attacks. This is truth, and the citizens deserve an anwser to these questions, which Mr Gladstone has danced around on his replies to his other blog posts. He has openly said that if this doesn't go through the vollunteers will pack up and leave. What does this say about him and his organization? And I might add, i don't believe that his statement represents what the majority of volunteers would do. I don't think if this new plan goes through, they would pack up and leave. I believe they have more integrity than that. I think they will stay and do the best job they can.
Mike January 20, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Bryan January 20, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Up and down comments about the plan are fine. But I have seen these comment sections get pretty bad when one person doesn't agree with the next and instead of bring up an intelligent arguement to counter the point they go on personal attack, Kind of like you've failed the Country you have your media interview your opponet's ex-wife.
Mike January 20, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Where did you see that they would pay their employees more?????? I wouldn't call it a volunteer department, I would say it's more of a combination department. It would still be cheaper than having all paid staff. From what I've read, the Stamford Fire and Rescue members fail every time to get along with each other. Obviously you can't punish one side or the other, so split them up. Not exactly sure what the why Stamford fire and Rescue says there should be 1 chief, how convenient that they feel the chief should be their own. If Stamford Fire and Rescue can do the job for less money, they have my vote. It just isn't possible and I think that's why they have infested taxpayer;s money in a campaign against all volunteer departments. I didn't see it, but a friend told me they actually paid a guy to drive around in a van carrying a banner. It obviously didn't get the word out because only a few people knew about it. I do feel the volunteers should all be trained on the same level as paid though. I don't know what exactly their training consist of, but from what I've read, they all have the same certifications. You may have a family member in Stamford Fire and Rescue which is why you make such foolish comments, but remember it's the taxpayers who have the final say, not some union employee.
Here we go January 20, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Mike, when the numbers came out in the first meeting to the board, those numbers indicated that a new hire for this combination department will be paid ( and i don't have the exact number, so I'm shooting low here) 3500 dollars more than a top grade firefighter in the SFRD. as for the " banner". That was a truck, that the UNION paid for, using UNION dues. NOT TAXPAYER MONEY. I am a SFRD firefighter, not a family member. Those are my dollars I EARNED, and I will spend them as I please. I don't tell you how to spend your money. That campain was not against all volunteers. It was against the PLAN they came up with. This whole mess started BECAUSE of the ONE FOR ONE OVERTIME the north ( district b) firefighters were getting. Contractually, Malloy could not stop it because the city had agreed to it. So, he came after us. When our overtime was no where near the percentage per person, that the north firefighters had. He need to reel that in, and rightfully so. He combined all paid firefighters under ONE contract, and ONE department. I have NEVER seen, at any fire I have been too, any fight between a paid and volunteer. Period. I have NO problems with volunteers, I came from the volunteers. I have a problem with the plan, and uninformed people like yourself ( who heard through a friend) making statements about me, my department, and my Chief that are untrue. If your departments were making 100% of there calls, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
Mike January 23, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I call BS. I don't think anybody is dumb enough to ask for more money and justify saving taxpayer's money. Why would they be paid more? Please provide facts, not BS. Show where the information came from, if it's true I'll be sending my own letters of complaint to the volunteers. If it's not true, p*ss off.
Here we go January 23, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Nice language by the way. Way to be an adult. And it's not BS, it's clearly written in the mayors plan that was put forth two or three meeting ago. I'm sure you can obtain a copy from the government center like everyone else has. It's public information. The document clearly outlines not only the pay scale, but the structure of the new department. IN FACT, i would hope ALL Stamford taxpayers obtain a copy of the document, again , available at the Government center, and read it for themselves. They do have a right to know where their money goes...
Jake January 23, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Mike, I refer you to Mayor Pavia’s letter to the Board of Reps. Public Safety Health and Welfare Committee dated Nov. 11, 2011 (Appendix A) http://www.boardofreps.org/committees/publicsafety/2010/items/ps28011/ps28011_qa_111114.pdf which states that the Base Salary of a SVFD Firefighter will be $45,182 per year. SVFD Drivers will be paid $55,917 per year. The Base Salary of a newly hired SFRD Firefighter is $43,006.
Here we go January 24, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Wow...SFRD drivers don't get paid more than other firefighters....weird.
Jake January 24, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Yes that is the case. Unlike many Fire Departments in the country that are staffed by Professional Firefighters SFRD Drivers are not paid more money than the other Firefighters they work with.


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