Disappointed city didn’t hire full-time firefighter

I am writing to express my disappointment over Denison City Council’s 3-2 decision against hiring a full-time firefighter. I do not understand how we can haphazardly spend around $1 million for the renovation of city hall, something that was not needed, but we somehow can’t scrape up money for a meager salary and benefits for an individual whose job will be to benefit our community. Even after all that Chief Snowgren has done to benefit us – from being on call 24/7, to grant writing and hosting training for firefighters all across the country?

It is as if some of our leaders forget that our department is made up of volunteers with the exception of the chief. What happens when our honorable volunteers and chief get sick of getting the short end of the straw all the time and we have no one left to protect us? Who will respond to our fire calls? Who will write hundreds of thousands of dollars of grants for us then? What happens when the chief gets so burnt out from doing the work of five men that he needs to take FMLA time and is out of work for 12 weeks or more? Do we have a back-up plan? No, we were too cheap.

Doesn’t it make sense to have someone employed fulltime that the chief can count on as a right-hand man (or woman) who can fill his role or help him so that he can get a real break for once and perhaps get ahead of the game? Does anyone doubt his integrity? I certainly don’t.

The citizens of this community already “use” the fire department enough by not having to pay for the volunteers’ service. The least we could do is show them our thanks and support by conceding that the time has come to employ at least one full-time firefighter. The department would not ask for this if it was not needed. Our volunteers and chief are far too honorable to request funds for frivolous ventures. Let’s take them at their word and fund the position.

Jennifer M. Zupp-Smith, Denison

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