FIRESTORM OVER FIRE DEPARTMENT DISCLOSURE; UNION CONFIRMS IT REJECTED CITY’S OFFER OF A 4 PERCENT PAY HIKE, AT ISSUE: RANDOM DRUG TESTING
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, AUG. 10, 2011) — First up this morning is a bit of business resembling more a hive upset following yesterday’s post that (we can only assume from the reaction) The Little Guy wasn’t supposed to know.
THE PLANET refers to this little item, tucked away within several other non-related stories:
THE PLANET replied thusly:
Now we hear this morning that the chief and others are scrambling over the release of the information. We can also say that a City Hall source close to the negotiations has confirmed what we reported: The firemen were offered a 4 percent pay hike in return for random drug testing. They “hemmed and hawed” for two weeks, and frustrated city bargainers, representing taxpayers, pulled the offer.
Also note that “Pittsfield Jake” essentially confirms what we reported. In a careless use of language Jake also attributes the statement about drug use within the fire department to THE PLANET. That is incorrect. THE PLANET did not made that charge. The charge comes from someone within the fire department, our original source. We won’t reveal this source except under one condition: this person allows. In a journalism career that began in 1974, THE PLANET has NEV-VER outed a source and NEV-VER will.
As for illicit drug use among Pittsfield fire fighters, we do not have first-hand information one way or the other to make a determination of facts. Consequently, we cannot say how many fire fighters use and or abuse illegal substances. Our only first hand knowledge would be called anecdotal. We will also add that our source, whose prior history with THE PLANET has been shown to be impeccable for his/her honesty and truthfulness, would have no reason to claim otherwise in this case.
We shall continue to report on this matter as developments warrant. We will only add that a 4 percent pay hike in THIS economic climate is overly generous. THE PLANET applauds the city for its atempt to get the union to agree to random drug testing, but not at that cost. We also state that 4 percent will break the backs of too many taxpayers. The city should insist on random and unconditional drug testing. It is a minimal (and reasonable) expectation that taxpayers should have: That their police and fire departments are drug free.
So here’s the proposal for the Jakes: If you are all clean, say OK to random testing. SImple as that.
MORE TO COME, AND UNTIL THEN,
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.