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Imagine that two respected and retired fire service employees with sixty combined years of experience want to serve on their local Board of Fire Commissioners. Their knowledge of the community and fire operations would be beneficial to the group of elected citizens charged with safeguarding lives, families, and businesses in our district.
Given their knowledge, hands-on experience, and past service to the community in numerous areas, you might trust them with your vote, right?
Now imagine that the Fire Chief wants two of his friends, Maryellen Crowder a travel agent and Michael S. Peasley a private investigator, on the Commission instead. And to help their campaigns along, the Fire Chief does the following:
• Contributes $1,000.00 each to the campaigns of his chosen future commissioners.
• Endorses them on Facebook multiple times.
• Influences the union representatives to endorse and fund each with $500.00.
• Takes to social media to assassinate the characters of those who support his friend’s opponents.
While none of the Fire Chief’s actions are illegal, (assuming that he does not use public resources in his campaign initiatives), would any reasonable person argue that there is at least an appearance of impropriety here? Would any reasonable person disagree that the two friends of the Fire Chief receiving those funds are now influenced by an inherent bias to vote on district matters as the Fire Chief expects them to vote?
We want to keep our special fire control district in the hands of people who know what they’re doing. We want to keep politics out of our district and make decisions that benefit each and every one of our citizens.
YOU make the choice when you mail-in your ballot or visit the polls on election day. You can vote for a Fire Chief that wants to use politics and money to hire his bosses, OR, you can vote for two competent and compassionate fire professionals who will maintain the integrity of the Commissioner’s role in our district, keep expenses under control, (currently $6 million of a $7 million dollar fire budget is designated for salaries and benefits), and maintain a tax rate that does not create a burden for our citizens, especially during these difficult economic times. They have the experience you can trust, Thank you.