Director Cunningham’s Letter to the Post Dispatch
THE CALAMITY IS THE FIREFIGHTERS UNION VS. THE TAXPAYERS
Since Deborah Peterson redefines disclosing confidential security measures as “complaining about the boss” (“Fair or Foul?” July 28), I call on the Post-Dispatch to be transparent about all security measures or equipment they have in place to protect its staff.
My guess is if Ms. Peterson gave out keys to locks at the Post-Dispatch or security entry codes to the public and called the Post “absolutely ridiculous” for installing them, her boss would react in an appropriate manner as did a unanimous Monarch Fire Board when safety measures were compromised.
Your editorial has key inaccuracies that you use to take pot shots when you know elected officials cannot comment on personnel issues.
The point is, the government employees fire union No. 2665 that rules over most of St. Louis County, into St. Charles County and beyond, is like a shadow government. They demand donations to their political action committee from all members and use that money, typically in the $30,000 to $100,000 range per candidate, to elect union-controlled directors to public fire boards. Citizens who just want to serve cannot compete with that kind of machine. The union-backed directors ensure the union owns both sides of the bargaining table, allowing the union to dictate their own salaries, benefits and time off and who gets hired and fired.
When individuals with a high school education can earn a compensation package of close to $130,000 for working 2.25 (24-hour) days per week, with three months off annually, it should sound an alarm to the Post-Dispatch and to voters of who is watching the hen house. The Monarch Fire Protection District is one of the few governments to be totally open with salaries and expenses, which can be found on our website on our Transparency Portal.
Speaking of inaccuracies in your editorial, you will not find an expenditure of taxpayer dollars for bulletproof vests. You should check your facts before you report.
Additionally, amid much complaining from the fire union, Monarch may be the only government that opened collective bargaining negotiations to the public and press. You would expect the Post-Dispatch to be praising that unprecedented access.
It is interesting that the Post-Dispatch defends inappropriate union behavior in one instance and in a back-to-back publication reports on the same kind of bullying tactics to intimidate fellow firefighters who do not take orders from the union (“Ex-marshal in Wentzville claims union firefighters forced ouster,” July 29).
Jane Cunningham • Chesterfield
Monarch Fire Protection District board member