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Speech to Council
Updated On: Feb 08, 2010

CHFFA Presents to Council

February 3rd, 2010

Chapel HIll Fire Fighters' Association presented their key points on the upcoming budget process to council on Wednesday night.   Along with the town Employee Forum and various other town departments, CHFFA presented its views on the bennifits cuts already in place and rumored to be cut in the 2010-2011 FY.


Video Available Online

The video of the presentation is available online at: http://chapelhill.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=7&clip_id=627
CHFFA presented around min 20-22.

Presentation to the Council

Good Evening Mayor Kleinschmidt, Council, Manager Stancil.  My name is Jeffrey Ryan.  I am the treasurer for IAFF Local 2580 and I  am here as a proud town employee and representing 67 uniformed fire fighters. 

Our local understands the financial situation our council is facing.  Its not an easy task, and we understand careful consideration is necessary.  The Fire Department is doing its best to reduce the day to day expenses that has a toll on the bigger picture.  We are committed to maintain our level of service to the town.

When I was hired by the Town, The excellent benefits package offered was absolutely key in the total compensation, and in deciding that Chapel Hill was the right department for me.  I have noticed that employees at Chapel Hill reflect that excellence in their work.

As a Fire Fighter, loosing accident leave this past year was detrimental.  We take risks, small and large,  to protect the citizens of this town.  Loosing this benefit has raised so many questions among our ranks.  What will happen if I am hurt, unconscious, or at the Burn Center?  Will my family be ok?  How will this new workers comp insurance policy work?  What about my medical bills?  
I found solace in our health care answering one of these questions.

Now that health care has come under a similar scrutiny as our accident leave had.   

In the past year our Tuition Assistance Bennift has been palced on hold.

Our firefighters  work very hard for this town.  The training and education of our job continues to increase; the challenges and  dangers we face are more deadly than in any other generation of the fire service.  We constantly train to be better prepared.  Our members often travel and train at their own expense.  In fact, there is now a promotional requirement for training off the job.

Now our healthcare has come under this scrutiny

In four years, our cost of living has outpaced our increase in pay, our department is running as lean as possible and our fire fighters are taking this burden.  Chapel Hill when compared to similar departments in North Carolina is decent for starting salary but not impressive at the 5, 10 and 20 year marks.  Our benefits help to bridge these gaps.

I am fearful that the reduction in benefits will no longer attract the caliber of employee that has historically come to Chapel Hill.  I am fearful this change in recruitment will affect the quality of service that we can provide as a department.   I am fearful our morale will be affected and the love for this town will begin to dwindle.  I am fearful for my family, if I am rendered unable to provide for them.

And in taking all this into consideration, I am most fearful  this change will result in someone losing their life.

As a united front we ask the council and mayor to consider our employees, their dedication and their familys  before cutting another bennift.

We tirelessly work to protect the lives and property of the residents in this town, we ask you to protect us.

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