OP/ED: Kinnon Proposal 'Outdated'

Malden Firefighters' Union President George Romvos criticizes Ward 6 Councillor Neil Kinnon for proposing the use of hybrid "fire/public safety" officers in this week's city council agenda.

Note: The following was submitted by George Romvos, President of the Malden Firefighters Union Local 902. 

Dear Malden Citizens: 

Please be informed that the Malden City Council will be meeting on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at 7:00 p.m., and an item for discussion has been initiated by Ward 6 Councillor Neil Kinnon that is concerning.  

Said item reads: "ORDER: The City Council investigate creation of a public safety officer position to function as a hybrid fire/public safety officer, and that all vacancies in the Fire Dept. be hired provisionally with this title. (KINNON)" Hybrid Fire/Public Safety Officer positions are cross-trained public safety personnel.  

In other words, Fire Fighters are cross-trained as Police Officers, and Police Officers are cross-trained as Fire Fighters. Under this dual model - an old model that has been phased-out in cities and towns that implemented it nearly thirty years ago and determined it was not the best way to provide public safety services - citizens are left to expect that their Fire Fighters would patrol the streets, abandon their role as Fire Fighters and change from donning their Fire Fighters' helmets and gear to handling a firearm and serving as a law enforcement officer.

Obviously, there are many implications with this old model regarding response-time, training and other liabilities for our community of nearly 60,000 residents.  Cities and towns that did away with the model determined that the dual-duty role is not conducive when trying to ensure the best, specialized professional services for the protection of citizens. This public safety, cost-cutting measure remains largely a problematic initiative offered by government officials who are focused solely on cutting services to meet budgetary constraints rather than to properly prioritize government spending to ensure that the most in-demand services in our communities, including Fire Fighting/Rescue/EMS/Prevention are adequately staffed and funded. 

That Councillor Kinnon proposed such an outdated model without even consulting the Malden Fire Department or extending the courtesy of a discussion with the Malden Fire Fighters Union Local 902, reflects his continued lack of support of Malden Fire Fighters and shows his lack of knowledge of the expertise that Fire Fighters and our our brother and sister public safety officers, the Malden Police, separately exercise in our daily duties.

It is clear that any government official who would support such an effort lacks the understanding of our line of work, our specialized training, responsibilities and decision-making that we perform 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days each year when responding to incidents and caring for our citizens. Fire Fighters enter our line of work with the intention of serving the public by putting out fires, providing emergency medical aid and educating the public for the purposes of fire prevention. We train, continuously as a unit, to ensure that the best Fire Rescue and Prevention services are provided, and Malden Fire Fighters are recognized throughout the Commonwealth as a highly trained, competent and professional Fire Fighting team. 

The irony is that while our Malden Fire Fighters are dedicated to carrying-out our duties and protecting the people, we are made to respond to governmental "fires", in the figurative sense of the word, when certain officials ignore the concerns of our Malden Fire Fighters and refuse to meet the demands of our community for a new East Side Fire Station, increased minimum manning, adequate equipment and safety measures. When will our government officials stop balancing the city budget on the backs of Fire Fighters who are dedicated to protecting the citizens in our community? 

For more information and to show your support of the members of the Malden Fire Fighters Union Local 902, please call (781) 321-9119.

Et Sada February 05, 2013 at 02:03 PM
Would it work or not I don't know but at least Kinnon is thinking outside of a box! He is always coming up with a new fresh ideas that all of you stuck up people don't get it. It's time to shake up Malden! Open your mind, think!
T.j. DeMolay February 05, 2013 at 02:23 PM
I know unions are only ever really concerned with filling there wallets and having no compitition so you understand if i dont takre this union officials word for it and wait for the DETAILS of Neil's proposal!
Dana Roberts February 05, 2013 at 04:01 PM
If we were a city/town of say 400, then yes..but 60k...no, we have neighboring city more than willing to share resources. This is the same guy who's up on ethics allegations...just figured I toss that in :)
broadway Jay February 05, 2013 at 04:03 PM
This rebuttal is non-substantiated because we don't know the specifics of Mr Kinnons' proposal. What's forgotten in these union/management conflicts is that YOU the citizen/resident are the stake holders, not these bow-tied bum kissing, birkenstock wearing bureaucrats !!
Chris Caesar February 05, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Not sure I've ever seen a firefighter in a Birkenstock, but okay.
Max Payne February 05, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Malden is civil service city. This will never work. Moot point.
allamericancity1967 February 05, 2013 at 04:10 PM
remember this, you get what you pay for, Union or otherwise.....of course you also get whom you vote for too. So, be careful what you wish for and who you vote for. I'll end with this, Mr Kinnon's plan could lead to massive urban renewal and a crime spree the likes we have not and I hope will never see....but hey, we'll save a few bucks, to buy more blue bags.
Bill M February 05, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Hybrid city councilor/custodian.
paul surette February 05, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Et Sada, stupidity isn't considered a fresh new idea!
J.longbow February 05, 2013 at 08:50 PM
OMG...LMAO...This guy is hilarious, but scary at the same time thinking he has a set of keys to drive the car. Theres gotta be a charter school back door notion to this. the firememen will "smoke it out"
donna February 05, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Bill M lmao.
jirkyrick February 05, 2013 at 09:37 PM
maybe we can get the city councilors to be dual purpose, they can work at the dpw and pick up trash when they are not at meetings
jirkyrick February 05, 2013 at 10:40 PM
That's of course if they can find blue bags
jirkyrick February 05, 2013 at 10:59 PM
We can make a hybrid city councilor / rap singer,... Nah that would be called crap
Kay Sarah February 06, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Thinking outside the box? Do you mean shake up Malden or burn up Malden? This system has been tried and proved not worked. Maybe, before Kinnon speaks on issues that will stir the pot he should do some research. I do not know Mr. Kinnon personally, but from all that I have read in the papers, minutes from council meetings and see on MATV he comes across as being very antagonistic and arrogant. Perhaps he should take a more docile role. Although, he is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Mystic Valley Charter School, he has never stepped aside when Charter School negotiations occur. This is a true conflict of interest. He came out against the firefighters when they showed the horrid conditions of the fire station. Which, incidentally is property that is owned by the Charter School and was leased back to the city. As a residential landlord I would have had all sorts of citations. And, I would have been totally embarrassed. There was no remorse on Mr. Kinnons part. In fact he was indignant by the allegations. Again, I do not know Mr. Kinnon personally I am only going on his public record, but he does seem to have an ax to grind with the Malden Firefighters.
William S February 06, 2013 at 06:10 PM
This is one of the most idiotic ideas proposed yet. How about no more benefits for part time councilors? How about no more pensions for part time councilors? How do you like that idea councilors? It would certianly help Malden financially and would prove you people are serious.
Anna Bucciarelli February 10, 2013 at 11:46 PM
This is a nutty, not a new idea and absolutely ridiculous. It's asking too much of an individual and too much of the citizenry to have to accept such a decrepit, old, out-dated notion. Did you read the entire post above? It was "... determined ... not the best way to provide public safety services." and "... the model determined that the dual duty role is not conducive when trying to ensure the best, specialized professional services for the protection of citizens". Now, Et Sada, open your mind ...how out of the box is this really, and how is it a new and fresh idea? Seems to me it's an old idea that didn't work 30 years ago, why would it work now?
paul surette February 11, 2013 at 02:39 AM
Greg Kinnon, much like his latest proposal....is outdated! Yet, most here will continue to whine about him, but have convenient amnesia come election time. For the life of me, I will never truly understand the mindset of a Massachusetts voter.
Anna Bucciarelli February 11, 2013 at 09:56 AM
Paul, I'm waiting for you to weigh in on the Markey/Lynch site. Glad to know you're still active in some places anyway!:)
coldwaterdiver February 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM
We could go back to the ol' volunteer fire department. It works in many towns in vermont and upstate new york.
Mr Myagi February 18, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Malden has a volunteer fire department too. Want an application?
Michael B Elvale February 18, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Malden does not have a volunteer fire department.
Jake February 18, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Yes it does. Have you ever driven down Route 60 and seen it across from Stop and Shop? They don't replace the MFD but we have one.


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