The truth of the matter

(Editor’s note: This week’s Darn Wright column was submitted before the city and Fire District 7 reached a tentative agreement on a new contract that will safeguard residents of Mill Creek until 2022.)
Jul 22, 2017

Our city manager Rebecca Polizzotto’s voice piece (Communication Director Joni Kirk), really didn’t tell us Mill Creek residents anything even after she used a hand full of words as demonstrated in the July 7 issue of The Beacon. So we can compare the lack of information to what Kathy Nielsen specifically told us through her GUESTVIEW Opinion July 7th write-up, “Utterly confused and concerned”.

As the Beacon’s major story, “Firefighters, city prepare for the worst as negotiations continue”, Rebecca ventriloquizing through Kirk, “THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER (my capitalizations)  …the city has acted accordingly in light of the notice issued by the firefighters during the public input portion of city council meeting… The city therefore is compelled to take action; not doing so would be irresponsible…The city has taken steps to ensure emergency coverage through an alternative provider or in house should the need arise.”

“The truth of the matter”? Now what insight or comfort does she give us Mill Creek residents regarding our fire protection and EMT service?

If one reads “the real truth of the matter,” which is expressed by former city council person and highly knowledgeable Mill Creek citizen Kathy Nielsen we residents have a clearer picture of the firefighter’s contract and city’s dispute.

Did this mean Mill Creek was going to have a volunteer fire department similar to the city of Index? What is Joni hiding by not coming out and telling Mill Creekers about what Rebecca’s alternatives really are.

Now unlike Joni Kirk’s less than educational comments let us now look at the information Kathy Nielsen had to share relative to our potential crisis due to the loss of fire protection.

In Kathy’s recent GUESTVIEW column she gives us city residents a lot of information to digest and here was some of her major points.

  • There is a major lack of city council’s and city manager’s transparency with reference to our city fire fighting contract negotiating.
  • Our contract with the fire department expired in 2016, even though the fire department reached out to the city leaders apparently no meetings were ever held.
  • The last month of 2016 Rebecca advised the city council she wanted to form an experienced team to negotiate any new fire service contracts.
  • Interesting one team member is receiving $4,500 per month for a six month period. Then if the person services are still needed that person will receive $250 per hour for any work on behalf of the city.
  • In December 2016 the city council exercised their right to purchase Mill Creek Fire Station 76. (A side bar question: Why in heaven’s name do we Mill Creek residents need to own an empty fire station?)
  • There has been no transparency dialogues by the city council on this major emergency support contract since 2016.
  • The Mill Creek negotiating team didn’t agree with the Fire District’s final offer so District 7 gave notice to the city council on June 13th that they were losing money and will terminate their 34-year-old working relationship.
  • Two days later Rebecca published a notice that the city did hire yet another contractor to conduct “an in-depth needs analysis of Mill Creek’s fire and emergency services”. (Another side bar, Rebecca didn’t mention how much this added red tape analysis would cost the Mill Creek taxpayers or how it fits into our unstable city budget. Nor was there any shared information on how this four month long study and then follow-up studies by the members on the city council would help in getting our fire service contract finalized before the beginning of 2018.)
  • Rebecca had two years to address this high priority community safety issue; yet she chose not to address this issue.
  • Kathy’s statement and then question that our city’s 2017-2018 biennial budget can’t even come close to covering the current fire service level, so how can this same budget support any fire district and city service contract is an area that city hall must publically answer.

After my Cliff Note summary of what Nielsen has advised us Mill Creekers about the upcoming major crisis, let me restate Kirk’s  “ the truth of the matter” information she gave us: “The city has taken steps to ensure emergency coverage through an alternative provider or in house should the need arise.”

Darn right, the truth of the matter is it seems we get more specific, honest and in-depth information from concerned residents and the Mill Creek Beacon news writers than we ever do from the closed lipped city hall and city council members!

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.