Cambridge’s “Sunshine List” for 2013 was just released and of the 89 city workers making over $100,000, 56 of them work for the Cambridge Fire Department, including Fire Chief Bill Chesney who made $154,806, putting him third from the top. Only city chief administrative officer Jim King, who makes $193,091 and city treasurer-corporate services commissioner Steven Fairweather, with his $157,227 make more.
It also included: four platoon chiefs, 23 captains, 20 first class firefighters, chief fire public education officer, chief fire communications officer, chief fire training officer, chief fire prevention officer and chief fire mechanic. Overall, about one-third of the department made more than $100,000 last year.
In a recent Cambridge Times article, Chesney went on to say that, “We are no better or worse than any other community,” he said. “Our firefighters don’t make more than anyone else doing the same job across the province. This is the cost of doing business.”
Well Mr. Chesney, perhaps that’s the cost of doing business in the imaginary world of public sector workers but in the real world, workers have in some instances had their pays cut just to keep their jobs. Others are hired with no benefits or pensions just to get a job to provide for their families, all the while public sector workers salaries keep rising through the roof with no end in sight.
A new privileged class of public servants has been created under the neglectful watch of our political leaders, and if we try to cut back on any of those benefits, like the Liberal government tried with the teachers, services for us or our children are held hostage till they get what they want.
No one begrudges the fine job that our emergency services like police, fire and ambulance provide us with on a daily basis, but this attitude of it just being the cost of doing business has to stop. If the regular worker has to make cutbacks and deal with having to do with less, what makes public servant unions feel that they are above that pain?
Perhaps it’s time to look at a Regional Fire Department much like the police and emergency services have already done, thus eliminating some of the duplication with the present system.
As governments struggle with huge deficits while trying to provide the essential services we all count on daily its time unions shared in the economic pain felt by regular workers. The taxpayers pocket is empty and they’re tired of all the whining and posturing of the privileged public sector that seems to forget at the end of the day who pays their salaries.