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View Diary: Greedy, Lazy Firefighters Caught on Tape Wasting Tax Money (199 comments)

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  •  My BIL was a fireman (1+ / 0-)
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    Xavier Onassis EMTP

    He loved it.  Just loved it.  He had a lot of physical problems, but always got himself assigned to the busiest stations so he wouldn't be bored.  This was in a town with lots of petrochemical plants, industry, crime. If he didn't go out on 12 or 13 calls a day, he wasn't happy.

    But there was good and bad.  He resigned from the board of the fireman's association because they were illegally contributing to local elections.  And they got busted for it the next year.  He retired at more than full salary by loading up on OT his last three years on the job to jigger his retirement formula.  Everybody was doing it, why not him?  All I'm saying is that, they're not saints.  Neither are cops.  They have hard jobs, and there's a tendency to start thinking "nobody knows what we really go through, so we have to take care of ourselves."  And then you break an election law or impede an investigation, or just become a political power in the city and try to start calling the shots, and the S hits the F.

    Just saying, it happens.  Doesn't take away from it being a hard job, and one that can hurt you.  As for my BIL? He retired for life at 53 with the aforementioned really large pension, had five good years, and died suddenly and mysteriously of a respiratory ailment.  A goodly number on firemen die early; he always thought he would. His widow, my sister, travels the world on the survivor benefits.

    Black and white? Just endless shades of grey.

    •  Thanks for your input (1+ / 0-)
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      Oh Mary Oh

      I agree, a big part of the problem is the hero/lazy dirtbag dichotomy that citizens often put us into.  It's kind of like the Madonna/whore complex, in that it's a no-win situation based on you not being an actual human being, but more of a caricature in someone else's fantasy narrative.

      I couldn't agree more about the political skankiness involving the unions and how local politics dominate the lives of first responders, without ever showing up on civilian radar.  If you're interested in that sort of conversation you may wish to follow my blog at www.medic343.wordpress.com.  I do a lot of similar stories about police, including one where I draw a direct line from the mafia to not only a sheriff's department, but its corollary union.

      This, however, isn't really fair:

      He retired at more than full salary by loading up on OT his last three years on the job to jigger his retirement formula.  Everybody was doing it, why not him?  
      When you say he "jiggered" the formula it kind of makes it sound like a scam that he got away with.  He didn't get a damned thing for free.  He worked harder than any human being should ever be asked to, judging by your account.  Those were actual, hump-busting overtime hours, not free money he found on the sidewalk.  It wasn't all chili cook-offs and napping in recliners, it was brain matter and hunks of glass in pools of blood on the asphalt.

      The agencies negotiate the terms of those formulas, and it's not really fair to demonize him for paying attention to his contract and maximizing his own benefit by busting his ass.  

      The proof's in the pudding; he died five years later of a respiratory illness (which isn't mysterious to any of us, including his employers).  Shouldn't his wife be paid well?  He worked 24-hour shifts plus all the overtime he could manage.  There's a strong chance he had alcoholism, PTSD, and/or compulsive sexual behaviors, like many of us do.  She lost her husband long before he died, because he missed so many of their "firsts."

      "All I'm saying is that, they're not saints.  Neither are cops.  They have hard jobs, and there's a tendency to start thinking "nobody knows what we really go through, so we have to take care of ourselves."  

      I appreciate this sentiment.  It would be great if more civilians could take this adult, sane sort of approach.  I have to agree, though, that nobody does understand it, and we do have to take care of ourselves.  That's a true statement.  I'd love it if civilians built a bridge to us.

      Thanks.

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