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Fire talk upstages cop levy ballot OK



Published: Tue, April 26, 2011 @ 12:08 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern

aluthern@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

Although township trustees approved a second and final reading of an additional police levy, much of the discussion at Monday’s meeting was about the fire department.

The board unanimously approved the resolution for a 3.85-mill, five-year additional police levy on the Aug. 2 ballot. The measure now will be sent to the Mahoning County Board of Elections for certification.

If approved by voters, the levy is expected to generate about $3.6 million annually designated for the police department, costing the owner of a home valued at $100,000 an estimated $117 annually.

Many residents who attended the trustees meeting expressed concern about fire department staffing levels.

The township administration recently activated a clause in its contract with the International Association of Firefighters Local 1176 that allows minimum staffing levels to decrease. The clause is connected to using overtime to meet the minimum staffing level, which was nine per shift.

Interim Chief Tim Drummond said that currently the three shifts are nine, 10 and nine firefighters. However, using that clause, the township will not call out and pay firefighters overtime to maintain nine firefighters per shift, changing the bare-minimum staffing level to six firefighters per shift.

Fred Hoover, who was a Boardman volunteer firefighter for 20 years, said the staffing change is unsafe.

“... You continue to threaten the jobs and lives of your firefighters by reducing manning to levels you wish to afford,” he said.

He also said he is worried that full-time firefighters will be replaced by volunteers.

“I would suggest before you implement your renewed threat to jobs that you examine response times in those areas that still rely on volunteer firefighters,” said Hoover, whose son, Jim Hoover, is a Boardman firefighter.

“As minutes tick by after an alarm is transmitted, check your watches or the walls of your home. You may be the one needing help that wasn’t as available as it was years ago,” Fred Hoover said.

The trustees had directed Administrator Jason Loree to research the possibility of bringing volunteers back to the department.

Another resident, Ed DeRose, pointed out that firefighters handle a larger volume of medical calls compared to fire calls.

Drummond spoke about what he described as the “continuous barrage” of criticism that the department responds only to a small number of structure fires.

“The reason that you pay for a professional firefighter, a professional fire department, is so that when you do have a minor fire in your bedroom or in your bathroom or in your kitchen or in your basement, that there’s a response of about four minutes and the firefighters are there, ready to go to work,” Drummond said.

He clarified that this was his opinion and that as interim chief, he is still an active member of the IAFF.

Drummond said that if staffing levels reach the new minimum of six — two firefighters in each of the three township fire stations — then the department will have to call mutual aid from other communities for some incidents.

“We’re not going in the right direction with staffing levels like this,” he said.

Trustee Larry Moliterno said these decisions are not easy to make but are necessitated by the township’s finances. The fire department’s budget is $4.4 million out of the township’s total $17 million appropriations for 2011; about half of the department’s $100,000 appropriation for overtime was used in the first three months.

“We are looking for ways to get out of this, and there are not any good ways. There’s no way we can get out of this without people getting hurt, and I hate that,” Moliterno said.

“... But we have an obligation to look at models of operation of other communities — in fire, road and police — that are effective to find out what we can do best for the 40,000 people we have in this township,” he added.


Comments

1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Just vote NO Boardman and wait for SB5 to take effect. There will be no reason for a levy increase under SB5.

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2lee(544 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Right on unionForever, no new taxes

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3apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

The easy solution is to take an across the board 10% wage and benefits cut for all township employees to save the township 1.4 million. Then use that money to solve the manpower problem.

The employees of the township don't want to hear that since it takes money from their pockets.

They also don't care about township safety or they'd be talking about such cuts.

There are few fires in Boardman and little crime mostly property. Do we really need $100,000 dollar a year safety forces in such an environment?

Yes, the firemen and their families and friends will try to scare Boardman voters into believing the bogey man is going to come to Boardman without more money.

The problem is scare tactics work because most residents don't find out the truth.

In fact, the advertising agency hired to pass the levy is probably orchestrating this entire charade.

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4apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Notice too how the township employees are not posting as much. I suspect they've been told to keep their mouths shut by the administration to not look so argumentative and controversial.

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5commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

NO new taxes!!
We as senior citizens are expected to live on NO raises in SS for the past two years because the cost of living (according to Federal guidlines for SS) didn't go up, yet everyone in Government wnats increases ---why if the cost of "doing business" didn't go up?

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6apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

The cost of township government continues to rise because of the sweet contracts trustees keep voting yes to.

Allowing the unions to dictate staffing levels is a great overtime generator for the trough feeders. Look at 2009 numbers for overtime for the Fire department. That's also why staffing levels this year are being reduced. They're using the OT dollars too fast.

It's a nice gig when you can help the trustees get elected and then "negotiate" with those same people at contract time. That's why SB5 is so important to keep.

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7dmacker(274 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Most departments across the country are doing more with less through technology. Only in Boardman do they want more, more and more.

If the fire and police are so over worked and understaffed let the business in Boardman,
whom they serve so thoroughly, pick up the slack.

Just check the police calls log in the paper.
See the number of shoplifting and emergency responses to the Boardman businesses.

We really need issue SB5 to fix what is broken.

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8apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Overworked is a joke. They sit (sleep) at the firehouse and wait for the fender bender calls. That's why they are always first on the scene. There are almost no real fires in Boardman. They do far more first responding to fender benders than they do to actual fires. A big fire hardly ever happens and when it does, fire departments from neighboring communities get involved. Happens once every couple of years. Some township employees spend countless hours bashing me from the fire houses or admin building. That's why they fought tooth and nail to prevent me from getting their internet usage reports.

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9biteme(38 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

To apollo, et al...I don't see any of the trustees (part-time employees) saying they will give back their pay or not take their medical benefits to save the township money. Isn't the mark of a good leader to lead by example? Have we heard of the Fiscal Officer taking a pay cut or giving back his benefits?
What austarity measures have the township officials taken, other than cutting personnel, to assist in increasing available funds?
The administrator/trustees are preported to have had talks with local ambulance companies in which they are willing to PAY said companies to respond within the township...more money they want to spend and get nothing in return. If they want to spend money for EMS, why not invest it in an ambulance and equipment for the FD and then reap the benefits of income from charges to those who USE the service?
Whether or not your fire department runs EMS is not relevant, you still need to have personnel on duty to respond to FIRES and be safe doing it...look at Warren and officer Hipple-no firefighters in a timely manner and the man has to do their job without adequate equipment or assistance and he almost dies; which by the way he was saved by firefighters.
Look apollo, et al, I don't like paying more in taxes either, but you voted so the libraries could stay open and to give CSB tax money, etc. this levy will provide for people who may actually save your life, tell me how a library being open on a friday does that? Check your tax duplicate, what percent of that money goes to Boardman Township vs every other category?
Also since you seem to enjoy beating the snot out of firefighters, when you are comparing salaries of township employees, remember firefighters work a 56 hour work week and their salary is based on those 56 hours, not 40 hours. Do the math, what is their hourly rate vs cops, etc?

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10apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

56 hours of which most are spent sleeping at the fire house.

I never voted for the Library.

The Warren officer didn't almost die because the Fire Department was understaffed.

We simply cannot afford to pay these people 20% more than they should be making. (audit)

Building in a cost structure based on inheritance dollars was a big mistake and now is biting them.

More taxes will cause more empty houses. Lots of Boardman residents are on fixed incomes. Most Boardman residents make far less than the troughers. Median household income in Boardman is around 55,000. Median household income is the income of the entire HOUSE, not just one wage earner. The average wage in Boardman is way under 50,000 and yet those people should pay higher taxes so that the troughers can make well over 100,000 including benefits???

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11apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

The trustees make 20,000, the fiscal officer makes 28,000, Loree makes 60,000. Practically every "employee" makes more than the leaders of the township. Anyone know where in the private sector the management makes less than the employees? Far less!

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12janedoe1(3 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I see the plan here...take your fire department down to minimal staffing and then rely on outside departments to provide mutual aid...as a tax paying resident of a neighboring community, I resent this. My tax dollars are paid to provide fire and emergency medical service to the residents of MY community, to be available for THEIR needs, not to bail out communities who choose not to pay for these services. If Boardman citizens don't want public safety protection, they better be prepared to deal with the consequences. Keep in mind that my community is left at risk every time our fire department comes to your rescue. And I guarantee, when your house burns or your spouse dies of cardiac arrest on your living room floor, you will immediately blame your understaffed fire department. Moral of the story..you get what you pay for. And for this reason, my community supports its public safety services. Boardman tax payers, stop whining and pay your taxes like everyone else....

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13OldGuy(1 comment)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Bill Johnson. Haven't been on this site for a long time. Glad to see you are still here and even more happy to see that the township never hired you. C ya Apollo. I enjoy reading your posts..

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14apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Janedoe, we are happy to pay them. Just not like they are golden employees worth more than most doctors and lawyers.

Oldguy1, another trough feeder who signed up so he can post my name!

How precious. As if they already didn't know.

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15apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

How's Anchorage?

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16apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Oldguy1, I'm glad they never hired me either. They didn't need me but advertised for things that they didn't have or need. But, that was the fault of Patterson the great. Using an old ad from Florida. The same guy who cooked clearance numbers to make BPD look far better than they were.

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17apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Hey Janedoe, what happens when your FD is on a big fire and can't handle it because YOU aren't paying enough? Yeah, it's BFD that bails you out. In fact, regional departments are far less expensive and far more prepared.

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18apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

2009 FD wages.

Rosky - 95,000
Kloes - 87,800
D'Apolito - 82,500
Drummond - 87,700
Joe Romeo - 92,300
Pat Romeo - 80,600
Wolfe - 82,800
Yocum - 80,200
Barber - 79,700
Houser - 78,100
Jordan - 83,300

Add in 30-35 percent for perks and benefits.

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19apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

They don't like the OT cutbacks since the guys nearing retirement used it to pad the pension.

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20poisonivy(2 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Firefighters and cops are averaging 80,000-90,0000 a year and more. Yet people complain about teachers salaries, when they make about half of that and are required to have a masters degree.

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21seminole(476 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Hee hee...love the stimulating banter. Bottom line is now the BFD is falling in-line with the BPD and using scare tactics to create fear of decreased response times, death, chaos. Look around when you drive down Market St in Boardman and notice how many times you see two crusiers side by side in vacant motel parking lots. Waste of taxpayer dollars. Pump trucks responding to "I've fallen and I can't get up" calls...more wasted dollars. Justify to any one with any kind of common sense how these employees make twice as much on average as the typical township private sector employee, full paid insurance, yet they want us to pay more for them to increase their numbers? Why should we pay for more officers just to have more showings of parking lot meetings? I know a lot of you love to use the true numbers and want to calculate how to save by cutting salaries, all good points, but the fact here is we are living with an underperforming police department due to an allowed lack of performance. If these guys were stepping up and doing more then I would be the first to applaud them but I don't see it. I mentioned where I live to a guy who lives in Canfield, works in Akron, and the first thing he said, while laughing, was the BPD sucks and they are the laughing stock of surrounding towns of Poland and Canfield. He said his neighbors laugh about how they speed through Boardman, right in front of police, and they never get pulled over. How's that make you money grubbing underachievers feel? Go ahead and ask for more money. Any citizen with a functioning brain, not corrupted by the rhetoric of failure and past stupidity, will vote NO in August. But then, this being Mahoning Valley, I am sure the corruption will reach the ballot box and the levy will be passed. How else can you explain an indicted County Auditor being re-elected post indictment? If this passes we must call for a re-count in the spot.

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22apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

The problem is they can only pass these things when voter turnout is around 25%. They have a built in 1000 or more votes from employees, employee friends and family members, and union supporters. That's why August is perfect for them to pull that wool over on the electorate.

Giving them 3.6 million more is foolish. People who have shown a propensity for spending lavishly with little to show for it more money to waste. They had over 40 million dollars in inheritance monies and that's all gone. Wasted on substations, IT coordinators, CALEA, and union contracts with massive giveaways.

Got to also agree with Seminole. We are paying top dollar and getting average at best services. Austintown employees make less and provide better service. They also have more violent crime to deal with.

What Boardman township employees are making is criminal. Yet, they want more and will go to the usual scare scenario to get into our pockets even deeper.

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23apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

What does Stan have to do with what's wrong in Boardman?

Employees overpaid by 20% (audit says so)

Township in financial distress.

Easy fix, employees take a 10% cut, which still puts them 10% overpaid. Saves 1.4 million and enables the hiring of new employees.

or

Raise taxes and watch even more fixed, low and middle income people not be able to afford their houses and more houses become vacant. 3.6 million more taken out of the economy and given to a government that already wasted over 40 million on frivolity like substations, CALEA, take home cars, IT coordinators, cooked clearance, overpaid leases for Davis, pervert cops one who worked in Canfield and was fired there, zoning hires for the connected, the list is almost endless.

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24apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Cops averaging 90 thousand and firemen averaging 75 thousand not including perks and benefits. That's simply ridiculous and built upon Inheritance dollars that were not stable. The township was run by fools for fools. The taxpayers being assaulted.

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25vinglass(231 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Sure pays to be related to Houser. He's got several relatives in high paying township positions. . Nespotism seems to be a way of life in the valley.

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26fedupwithcrap(317 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

fedupwithcrap (anonymous) says...
Lets go back as far as 2007, as people have claimed on here, that Ludt edits his videos. And see as this video was clearly not edited, and he got the eyewitnesses right then and there that Pat Bundy, Captain, came to Ludts house cussing at him!! The minutes and seconds are clearly on this tape!!

You watch this video, Captain Bundy sent pictures of Jamie Ludt and his underage son to his house, does this now make him a pedophile for taking pictures of underage children? (Charlie Sheen syndrome winning)

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27fedupwithcrap(317 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Why has the vindy.com shut down the freedom of speech of its readers? This concerns the Youngstown Man caught Tailing officers!! No comments, you can't see the other users comments which were full of hatred, so ask the vindy why.

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28ytown1(392 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Go away Jamie Ludt! Your behavior is now becoming obsessive and could be a sign of a serious mental health issue? Seek counseling.

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29fedupwithcrap(317 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

You are the one following me around, and no I am no ludt, the name is Charlie!! I live outside of struthers and I am pretty well knows as well. Even was on the radio with the former mayor mckelvey, just check april 8, 2011 archives. So why do you keep calling names and insulting me and others, who happen to only want to speak the truth?

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30ytown1(392 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

What you take offense to being called your heroes name? That is an insult to you? How am I calling you names and insulting you, I only speak the truth, you have been on a real roll the last few days, why not give it a rest?

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31fedupwithcrap(317 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

@ytown
You are the one following me around, and no I am no ludt, the name is Charlie!! I live outside of struthers and I am pretty well knows as well. Even was on the radio with the former mayor mckelvey, just check april 8, 2011 archives. So why do you keep calling names and insulting me and others, who happen to only want to speak the truth?

citizens need to question why this is happening to a story this popular!!

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32apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Under staffing is the mantra of the trough feeders, right BS. Scare the voters. Simple solution, take wage and benefit cuts to enable more manpower. Why isn't that an option? It's never even discussed. Sure, you guys take a small change in your health care to fool the voters into believing you took real cuts.

Vinglass also hit the nail on the head. Connections are paramount in Boardman. Look at all the names, relatives, sons, all working for the township. Yet, they'll make the bogus claim that they are superior employees because you get what you pay for.

Ask them why they advertised for the zoning position, got about a dozen resumes and then interviewed one and hired her. Think that was on the up and up?

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33apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Had your yearly fire last night. Maybe we can get a home invasion so that the voters will think the sky is falling in Boardman and get real scared and vote for more troughers.

More manpower won't change crime numbers. The property crimes that make up a high proportion of crime in Boardman.

Ask BS why the township fought me on the internet usage reports!

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34seminole(476 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

@ R1200GS: I truthfully don't give a sh-- about what Canfield or Poland has in relation to zoning issues, we're talking about Boardman and the under-performing departments thriving. The concern is that the police have allowed the ghetto influence to permeate the streets: loud mufflers (or non at all), the loud stereos blasting rap music (supposedly an ordinance was joyfully passed years ago on this), no head/tail lights, all the beautiful rust machines crumbling as they slither through our streets uninhibited by the police. Speed? Holy sh--...all day, every day. Market, 224, any/all residential streets, and no one gets snapped off. The zoning isn't creating the exodus of middle/upper income families leaving. It's the lack of performance by the BPD that has allowed traffic and crime to infiltrate. As Chief Nichols so eloquently alluded in a previous story, completely proving my point, that criminals will go where they know that can get away with it. Crime is up in Boardman. Ain't it funny how things just fall into place? Might be one comment he wishes he had back...

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35seminole(476 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

@R1200GS...of course they would cry IF pulled over but that's the point of the comments: they do not get pulled over! Believe me, I watch Betras, Belinky, Tereshawty, et al, fly down my street daily. Aren't these clowns supposed to be stellar citizens you refer to? Even those sworn to uphold the law ignore the law in Boardman...

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