!!EXCLUSIVE!! ACTING FIRE CHIEF, UNION HEAD RESPOND TO THE PLANET ON CITY-FIRE CONTRACT SQUABBLE; PLUS: COLONIALS SWEEP FEDS AGAIN; WINK TOSSES CG SHUTOUT IN OPENER
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, AUG. 12, 2011) — Yesterday, Tim Bartini and Robert Czerwinski sent THE PLANET a letter. Bartini and Czerwinski are, respectively, president of Local 2647 Pittsfield Firefighters and acting fire chief of the PFD. The letter addressed THE PLANET’s recent postings on the contract situation between the city and the PFD.
First we present, unedited and without comment, the letter, so you may read it exactly as THE PLANET received it. We have only edited for grammar and punctuation:
August 11, 2011
It is with great enjoyment and amusement that we read your on-going blog regarding the City of Pittsfield’s contract proposal to the firefighters of IAFF Local 2647.
As the respected appointed administrative officers and elected union leader of this great department of dedicated professionals, we’d like to take this opportunity to let the blogging public know how far from the truth your story line is.
Let’s start with a short talk about contract negotiations. This process is an attempt to seek competitive pay scale, additional benefits and better working conditions for both the employee and the employer. This process is always a two-way street: somebody gives and somebody gets. In the end, ask either side and they’ll both tell you that their side lost. It’s not always a fair process to both sides and there will always be resentment by both parties in some small way.
The ongoing contract negotiations between the City of Pittsfield and IAFF Local 2647 have been in progress for over two years. Each side gives some, [and] each side takes some. By far, it is not a slam-dunk win like you portray.
Yes, the City would like to see random drug testing. And the Union is willing to entertain that notion, providing that something is offered that is comparable in value. While your supposed reputable inside source would like you to believe the price for such a benefit is a 4% raise, your source is far from correct. And, because the very nature of contract negotiations are confidential and still in progress, we will not disclose what the actual figures are, nor will be divulge any other aspects of said negotiations. But trust us: There have been plenty of give and take on both sides.
The 90 sworn members of the Pittsfield Fire Department are officers and firefighters who risk their lives for each and every citizen as well as the thousands of daily visitors to our community each day. These are men who are trained as nationally recognized and certified firefighters, fire inspectors, hazardous materials technicians, high-angle rescue technicians, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts certified Emergency Medical Technicians. We have the department personnel that are members of a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team that responded to the World Trade Center on 9-11-2001. We have recognized fire service instructors that give so freely of their time to train other public safety professionals. We have a Critical Stress Debriefing Team that was called upon to counsel first responders at the WTC disaster and if often requested to assist local emergency providers that experience tragic events in the course of their duties.
We are the people who show up when your lives when you’re experiencing the worst possible moment ever. A house fire, a car accident, a drug overdose, grandpa’s cardiac arrest, your daughter’s emergency childbirth, or an elderly woman’s leaking pipe: Whatever it is, we’re part of a public safety team that this community counts on to show up and make things right. And yet, for a journalist who prides himself on sensationalism, we don’t see those good news stories on your blog, do we?
We’ve yet to be approached about the Union’s effort that contributed thousands of dollars in college scholarships to local high school seniors. How about a story to let the public know that over 30% of the fire department’s employees did not use any sick time last calendar year? (That’s quite a feat for a fire department that allegedly has 50% of its firefighters with substance abuse issues! That alone would be a Rupert Murdoch cover story of the year!).
Where’s a good news story about the Pittsfield Fire Department’s military reservists that were actively deployed and returned safely from fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
And one last subject that is near and dear to our hearts: We’ve yet to see an on-line feature on the line-of-duty death of Thomas J. Lange (Ret.), who suffered from a long-term illness as a result of giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a victim of cardiac arrest. Even the Boston Globe thought that was newsworthy!
We’d like to suggest to you, Mr. Valenti, if you have any questions regarding this fire department’s procedures, policies, and personnel, please feel free to contact either one of the undersigned. We’d like to think that we’re probably a couple of the most knowledgeable people on such subjects. We will make every attempt to answer your questions openly in a prompt manner. Please remember that we may be limited in our information sharing due to confidentiality requirements. Most importantly, you may quote us and place our names in your stories for all to see. While innuendo and half-truths may make for sensationalism journalism, we believe that the most honorable and respectable journalist would prefer to use a truly reliable source over some anonymous donor.
Timothy Bartini, President L-2647 [and] Robert Czerwinski, Acting Fire Chief
That’s the letter. THE PLANET will limit our commentary for the moment, in fairness to Bartini and Czerwinski. This will allow people to get the full impact of their rhetoric without counterpoints.
We thank both men for the time, care, and consideration spent in composing and sending this letter.
COLONIALS SWEEP FEDERALS FOR SECOND NIGHT IN A ROW; WINK TOSSES CG SHUTOUT IN OPENER
By CHAD COOPER
Special to PLANET VALENTI Sports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Colonials got strong starting pitching performances from T. J. Wink and Tim Stronach as they swept the New York Federals in a doubleheader for a second straight night, winning 6-0 and 4-1.
In game one, Pittsfield saw Wink (4-0) come out and carve up the Federals lineup in a four-hit shutout. He walked one and struck out two in tossing his first professional complete game and shutout.
Pittsfield got Wink all the runs he needed in the third when they plated three runs on a bases-loaded bit batsman to Danny Bomback, a bases-loaded walk by Angel Molina, and a sac fly by Peter Fatse. The Colonials added two in the fifth and one in the sixth to create the final margin.
In game two, the Colonials got a first-inning run on a sacrifice fly by Angel Molina to go up 1-0. After a Tom Maloney hit scored Eddie Lantigua in the second inning for New York to tie the game, Stronach (2-2) bore down and retired the next 12 in a row, eventually giving up one run and striking out seven in six innings of work. MacKenzie King pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two for his first save.
In the third, Quentin Davis led off with a single. Jerod Edmondson doubled home Davis for a 2-1 lead. After a Bomback sacrifice moved Edmondson to third and Billy Mottram walked, Molina grounded out to first, scoring Edmondson for a 3-1 advantage. Mottram moved to second on the play and scored two batters later on a single by Chris Torres.
The Colonials now face off against Brockton in a key weekend series. On Friday at 7 p.m., Miguel Flores (2-8, 4.54) gets the start for Pittsfield against Julian Sampson (7-3, 3.96) for the Rox. For tickets or information visit pittsfieldcolonials.com or call (413)-236-2961.