The Sedona Fire District has been the subject of much controversy in the last few years. This has been the result of an antagonistic culture between the district and some members of the board, as well as some misinformed but very vocal members of the community–including some of our current opponents in this election.
This has resulted in problems with district operations, declining morale, and has even resulted in the loss of some of our firefighters to other departments. Our new Fire Chief has been effectively handcuffed by the board in his ability to run the district through their inaction and micromanagement.
There have been individuals who have made fraudulent statements about district operations, and even have taken to personally attacking those that protect our homes and lives. In their zeal to try to prove these false allegations they have taken things out of context, distorted the truth, and engaged in frankly slanderous behavior. Last week’s advertisement by our opponents of the “Top 20 Wage Earners” is just the latest of these out of context “facts” they are presenting as reality.
Their decision to also print the names of these district employees is in incredibly poor taste. Their action only further proves that they have no intention of working with the district, but of continuing the culture of unethical behavior, unfounded accusations, and complete ignorance of the actual facts.
In regards to the salaries, if they had bothered to do their homework they would have seen that many of these high earners had worked staggering amounts of overtime hours, one of them over 4500 total hours for the year. A normal 40 hour workweek is 2080 hours a year.
If there is an issue to be addressed here it is the amount of available overtime, not the annual income of those who worked the hours and served honorably. Our opponents have completely missed the actual issue, and with their careless action they have caused personal damage to those individuals.
My two running mates and I have done our homework. We spent time with Chief Hazime reviewing operations, with Karen Daines reviewing budget and financial reports, and with the upper management to hear their concerns. We submitted public information requests to 20 other fire districts and reviewed their wages in relation to ours.
We obtained legal opinions on current issues such as overtime, longevity pay, and management pay structure. We met with local business owners. In short, we have gotten the facts. As a taxpayer, a business owner, a homeowner, a medical provider, and a father, I have a vested interest in ensuring our community has the best Fire and EMS services available. A board that can work proactively and creatively with the district will be able to achieve improved efficiencies and reductions in costs without all the controversy we’ve experienced.
Dick Fishel, Doug Fitzpatrick, and I believe we can accomplish that goal with integrity and respect for the interests of both the consumers and providers of our district services.
Ty Montgomery, NP Family Health Providers at Big Park 61 Bell Rock Plaza, Suite A Sedona, AZ 86351 ph 928.204.4999 fax 928.204.4990