To paraphrase Mark Twain (who borrowed the phrase himself), there are lies, darn lies and statistics.

Sadly, the website hosted by the union at Monarch has tried for two years to tell everyone the equipment at Monarch is poorly maintained. That seems incongruous since members of their union are paid to maintain that equipment. Each time a piece of equipment goes to our maintenance facility for scheduled or unscheduled maintenance; the union says the sky is falling. It is not and safety is not being compromised.

This is the same union whose vice president told the Board not to replace a 25 year old fire truck and, instead, give that money to union members as additional raises, when they are already among the highest paid firefighters in the country.

This is the same union that never comes to the Board with an equipment issue where they would have to explain the imaginary shortcoming but frequently provides misinformation to the public as a tactic to frighten people to vote for higher taxes.

These are the same union members who file legal action after legal action against the District only to complain that the District is spending too much money on attorneys’ fees.

The residents and businesses deserve better from the firefighters working for them. It is time they stopped misrepresenting the facts and stopped their scare tactics. They want a $33 million dollar bond issue to provide everything except pay and benefits. Then they will demand we spend 100% of our operational revenue on pay and benefits achieving hefty raises for firefighters who already make more than twice the national average.

By late summer, when our newest pumper arrives, 80% of the frontline fire trucks at Monarch will be less than six years old – these trucks last 15 to 25 years. The new rescue boat is the most versatile ever owned by Monarch and less than a year old. And yes, our rescue truck is the only staffed rescue truck in West County. When it went to the shop for a repair, we borrowed the one from Mehlville because they don’t staff it any longer.

The new command staff was able to generate a long range plan in less than six months after the previous chief and assistant chief could not provide one in a two and a half year period. Monarch is prepared to handle all those events we hope you never have to face. As we move forward, our equipment, training and response times will remain industry leading.