Thursday, March 02, 2006

Davenport keeps police, fire jobs... at what cost?

According to WQAD's reports, Davenport's city council decided last night that, while the city is a bit strapped for cash, they won't be laying off all those firefighters and police officers they thought they'd need to let go. Instead, they'll keep them on the payroll, but make the firefighters do double duty as city building inspectors. This is no small stuff: "the city inspects 5000 properties a year, making some 18,000 community inspections, and that work will somehow be handled by firefighters."

So, yeah, they're keeping the firefighters on the payroll, but they're supposed to be doing stuff other than fighting fires? Are Davenport's firefighters qualified to handle these inspections? If no, who will pay for their training, with the city budget supposedly so tight? If yes, are they going to be doing this inspection work on their active-duty fire-protection time? How does that affect response times? If they're not going to inspect on active-duty hours, how does the city budget to put them on extra hours so they can inspect?

Isn't this just a convoluted way of saying that they're not actually keeping at the ready all the firefighters they said they'd continue to employ? "Sure, we'll hire you, but not as a fireman, dude. We're just calling you a firefighter on paper, but you're gonna be a bureaucrat like the rest of us here..."

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