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Our Sedona Fire District is a Safer Sedona

Sedona AZ (September 5, 2017) – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

Wendy Tanzer
Sedona AZ
Perspective and Opinion

 

Several years ago, a group of people, not unlike those posting intentionally misleading statements on this very site today, decided the Sedona Fire District was being dangerously mismanaged, spending was out of control, and the fire chief was inept at best and perhaps even a perpetrator of chicanery at worst. There were vicious and ultimately disproven accusations of rampant fraud. They claimed an independent, third party audit (in addition to the one required by law and completed every year) would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt their righteousness.

Sound familiar?

Just before 2010 SFD Governing Board election, they published – in the newspaper and placed on cars in grocery store parking lots – the salaries every firefighter in the district had earned the previous year. These numbers included base pay, vacation pay, accrued leave AND overtime pay. The numbers were correct – thereby proving blatant mismanagement, right? After all…if the fire district were being managed properly, then why are our firefighters working so much overtime? Yeah….they gave the numbers. But never explained what they represented. The power of omission lives on.

First, let’s agree that when anyone works, they deserve to be paid. If you base your idea of salary on a 40 hour work week, that’s 2,080 hours a year. A firefighter’s regular schedule is 2,912 hours, over 28% more than the rest of us. Keep that in mind when you are told over and over again our firefighters are overpaid.

Sedona Fire Department in action

Then, let’s explore overtime pay. When our firefighters are sent to wildfires – wherever and whenever they are needed – they earn overtime pay. And those other firefighters who fill the empty slots within the District will also earn overtime pay. But here’s the kicker that WAS NEVER EXPLAINED: All that overtime pay, both for the firefighters on the line and those filling the void at home, is REIMBURSED to the District by the Forest Service. It’s not rocket science. It’s how the fire service and the system work! But leaving out that detail sure makes a good case for “Our firefighters are paid too much!” And in so stating, the people running that campaign won a majority on the Governing Board.

After a disturbing incident where a Board member accused a firefighter of doing something he, himself was ultimately proven to have done, that Board member resigned. By a three to one vote, the treasurer of the successful campaign was appointed to fill the vacant seat for the remainder of the term. So, the SFD Governing Board became a four to one majority.

And what a job they did. They immediately lowered the mil rate (the multiplier on which your taxes are based). Campaign promise fulfilled. What they didn’t tell you is that in order to do that – while maintaining day to day operations – they had to spend down ALL of the capital reserves being set aside for exactly the kind of capital improvements which can no longer be ignored or “kicked down the road.”

The Arizona Attorney General found that Board guilty of multiple counts of Open Meeting Law violations. Members publicly hammered away at SFD leadership, executive staff, down through rank and file. They revoked District credit cards for the battalion chiefs, forcing battalion chiefs to “front” the costs of water and/or other necessities while firefighting. They micromanaged every expenditure made by the District, but squandered our tax dollars on the necessity of having to ratify legal expenses incurred by a rogue board member who thought the district could refuse to fund the retirement system. Apparently, she was unable to comprehend that firefighters’ retirement is not in addition to Social Security – but replaces it.

And they did, indeed, order the independent audit to expose all manner of deceit once and for all– to the tune of $190,000 of your tax dollars, only to find NO FRAUD, NO EMBEZZLEMENT, NO MISMANAGEMENT OF FUNDS, NO UNTOWARD EXPENDITURES WHATSOEVER. The few cost saving measures suggested have been implemented, but it’s going to take more than my lifetime to recoup that $190,000.

Sedona Fire Chief Kris Kazian

They caused a highly respected Chief to resign and they appointed a citizen’s committee to recruit a new chief. The chief they ultimately selected was our own Kris Kazian. And now, with the same outrageous cries of malfeasance, they are disparaging his leadership, his ability, his integrity, up to and including his residence! Do they realize that the IRS does not allow TWO “primary” residences? Yep…only one can be primary. Or is this just another case of failing to impart the full story? So the Chief’s property in the valley is shown as “primary” residence and his Sedona property is shown as “secondary.” There’s nothing sinister being perpetrated upon the people. It’s a tax category. Deal with it.

No longer willing to sit by and watch our Fire District being led into bankruptcy, in 2011, another group of people, Citizens for Safety, launched the effort to recall three seated Governing Board members. The fourth, who had been appointed after the resignation, had not been seated long enough to be included in the recall. But when his term ended, he failed to run for the seat.

The recall was a history making success. And though they tried to retain their seats during the May 2012 Special Recall Election, they were stunningly defeated. During the following General Election, though two of the unseated members filed their intent to run again, they failed to submit the necessary signatures to actually be named on the ballot and the two legitimate candidates were subsequently appointed.

That’s how it works. When Board seats come up for election, interested parties file their intent with the Yavapai County Elections Department, then obtain and submit enough valid signatures on the nomination petition to be placed on the ballot. If only two people file to fill two seats, then those two people are appointed to the Board. Though you’ve been led to believe otherwise, the Chief has absolutely nothing to do with elections. Without candidates, there IS no election. If you want an election, run for office.

And here we are, again. At the regular SFD Board meeting in June, three of those former board members (two of whom had been recalled and the one who had been appointed) were joined by several others wearing their red shirts. Some stood to speak lines taken directly from a video put together to disparage the District. Then, after the parade of speakers finished and the Chief stood to clarify any misunderstanding of information, many of the redshirt brigade simply walked out.

What does that say about their interest in factual information? Or their ability to muster even a shred of common courtesy, for that matter?

It’s as if their motto is: Don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve already been told what my opinion is.

Good citizens of Sedona, don’t be fooled a second time by the same distortion of facts that brought our Fire District near bankruptcy, leading to an astoundingly successful recall effort. Don’t buy into the falsehoods put forth as fact. Do not let the anger and animus of a few “sour grapes” individuals and/or those with huge chips on their shoulders lead you down their dark path. Don’t trust. VERIFY. The truth is out there….

 

 

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95 Comments

  1. Mrs Roger Thomas says:

    Mr. Schroeder:

    You didn’t say who it was that you were now working with that was not part of the recall. Would that be Mr. Dible? I saw him in the video from SFD’s June meeting. Mr. Dible was the one with his own video camera so I’m guessing he was with your “red shirt” group. While Mr. Dible wasn’t recalled he was on the board that wasted almost $190,000 and an audit that proved to be valueless. Isn’t that wasteful spending? Isn’t that what ArizonaLiberty is against?

    What about all of those “red shirt” folks that spoke for a few minuets, after they were done, Chief Kazian explained each and every false issue. I.e. Kazian lives in Scottsdale – UNTRUE, Kazian makes more then the PHX chief – UNTRUE, SFD firefighters live in California – UNTRUE.

    Or are you saying that Kazian was lying when he replied to the questions?

    As far as you being called a Tea Partier vs an ArizoniaLiberty In my eyes, one is a group and the other is a mind set. Judging from what I read on your website, I would also define your beliefs as a Tea Partier. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Plain and simple. If you’re not man enough to wear that badge with pride then I would be very surprised.

  2. M Shobert says:

    People,

    If you cannot stand by and with your (real) name – you do not get an opinion! …shut tf up!

  3. M Shobert says:

    Oh, you can keep your opinion…. what is there, like seven of you? …most well-over 70-years old, probably over 80!!

    Guys, you need these services?! What are you thinking?

  4. Rich Collister says:

    Mike S and Dwight S

    Here are a few more LIES on your AZ Liberty /Tea Party webpage regarding SFD

    You say a high ranking member of SFD “triple dips” on pension benefit from a few places!?

    All lies but many of your Tea Party/az liberty collect a tax funded pension …..health benefits….plus SS…..both the person I’m thinking of (deleted by editor) and his wife both collect such so you might say the quadruple dip……now I have no problem with pensions but I don’t point fingers at others like you Hypocrites…

    But that’s ok to you cause they are TeaParty/AZ Liberty Hypocrites like yourself…
    Go by the motto. “I got mine Screw you …

    Right Mike And Dwight and the rest….

    Here’s another lie

    90 percent live outside the district!?
    Really…please enlighten us with you made up nonsense and you 30 minute response time thing you said..

    So you see Mike And Dwight you (deleted by editor) …
    All I’m saying is give people the truth and let them make thier own opinions…
    Stop lying.

  5. Sedona district resident says:

    I am voting NO.

  6. @Michael Schroeder says:

    Come on Mike Schroeder you deny that your personal group ArizonaLiberty isn’t part of the Tea Party group. That may very well be but your ideals mirror Tea Party beliefs. Don’t agree well let us see:

    Tea Party movement

    The Tea Party movement is an American conservative movement within the Republican Party. Members of the movement have called for a reduction of the U.S. national debt and federal budget deficit by reducing government spending, and for lower taxes. The movement opposes government-sponsored universal healthcare and has been described as a mixture of libertarian, populist, and conservative activism. It has sponsored multiple protests and supported various political candidates since 2009. According to the American Enterprise Institute, various polls in 2013 estimate that slightly over 10 percent of Americans identify as part of the movement.
    en.wikipedia.org · Text under CC-BY-SA license

    Yup Mike you should own and wear that badge with pride. It seems that not many in town agree with you and I don’t either. But this is you and your group to a “TEA”. LOL

  7. Joyce M. says:

    WOW – if the lack of compassion displayed by “M Shobert” exemplifies that of the firefighter profession, my suggestion is for the Sedona Fire District to be disbanded and we all purchase our own oxygen tanks!

    BTW Shobert, how would the fire district have survived over the years if it weren’t for the taxes paid by those 70 and 80 year old contributors to whom you are so gosh-darn disrespectful! You, Sir, might consider your time better spent if you were to go fly a kite. And THAT is MY OPINION – like it or not!

  8. Sounds Good to Me says:

    ” Members of the movement have called for a reduction of the U.S. national debt and federal budget deficit by reducing government spending, and for lower taxes.”
    @Michael Schroeder

    Add “local government” to the mix and advise where to sign up – PLEASE!!!!

  9. Rich Collister says:

    @Mike S

    You forgot about Hypocrisy as an adjective to describe az Liberty/Tea Party…
    Here’s an example:

    When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast of NY/NJ a handful of years ago…
    The Tea Party/AZ Liberty poster boy Ted Cruz voted agaisnt the federal aid relief for the hurricane victims of said location… The other senator from TX voted no as well….

    Now with the devestating hurricane hitting Texas a few weeks ago… Your poster boy Ted Cruz is the first one with his hand out….

    No disrespect to Texas I wish them all well and God bless..

    My contemp is for the BS hypocrites of Ted Cruz the Tea Party and AZ Liberty…..
    As I said before the AZ Liberty motto

    ” I GOT MINE …..SCREW YOU

  10. A Taxpayer says:

    I see lot of attacks on people asking questions. I don’t see any answers to the questions.

    You will be safer when every fire fighter drives a new BMW and has room service at the fire station.

    Vote NO on higher taxes.

  11. @ Rich Collister says:

    Go take some remedial logic courses. Whatever Ted Cruz did or didn’t do has no bearing whatever on SFD, Mike Schroeder, or Arizona Liberty.

  12. Rich collister says:

    Ted Cruz is your boy AZ Liberty/Tea Party.
    Same Hypocrisy..

    A blind man could see that….

    Btw why don’t you use your name coward.

  13. Margaret Gould says:

    My inclination is to avoid those attempting to associate this fire bond election with national politics in any way, shape, or form. (as this Rich Collister insists on doing)
    I’m so sick of national politics I could scream. And I find nothing coming from Mike Schroeder’s information evenly remotely associated with national issues.

    As I see it this is strictly an over-inflated local burden unsubstantiated with warranted necessities, at least at this time. And most definitely unrelated to national politics! Give it a rest, Collister, and stick with the issue.

    Vote NO on this bond!!!!!

  14. It is a money grab says:

    It’s a money grab!!! ad is from “Sedona Advocates For Emergency Responders”
    I am voting no boys. you don’t need more money for a safer Sedona you need to get more money from the tourist industry!!! Impact fees for all hotels and tourist related businesses.

  15. Rich collister says:

    @is a meeting bet grab

    What do you mean by its “a money grab”
    You a Tea Party member who just likes blurting things out
    Anonymously.(why not use your real name?)
    Are you a mealy mouth coward?

    Or do you just tell lies Like (deleted by editor)?

  16. steve segner says:

    I find it interesting that people commenting on the fire dis. Bond issue are not registered to vote? The T party people seem to just be against all forms of government and taxes and always seem to have the real answers.
    Good people run the fire dist , good people on the fire board. Lets take there advice.

    We can pay a higher mill rate or a higher homeowners fire insurance rate, no free lunch…… Vote yes

  17. Rich collister says:

    Hey SE

    I’m not afraid to call a liar an liar and attach a real name to it….
    Stop deleting the names I use please

    Mike S and Dwight K are responsible for that AZ Liberty/Tea Party webpage that is full of LIES and twisted facts…

    I pointed out 4 or 5 of the lies already in previous posts…
    They are responsible for LYING and should be called out for it…
    Grow a set and stop removing the word…..

  18. Michael Schroeder says:

    Note: There have been some comments made about two small errors in our data, one that was picked up out of the Red Rock News regarding COLA. We have not seen a correction from RRN but we corrected our data on that one item after further research.

    http://www.arizonaliberty.us

  19. JJ says:

    Colliser-Money Grab! Greed-You. You know who you are. It’s people like you that are binging down this country.

  20. jj says:

    Collister Is it true you work for the fire district?

  21. @Rich Collster says:

    Please explain, do you work for a fire district?

  22. Rich collister says:

    @Mike S
    Nice try Mike thier are a lot more errors (lies) then that….
    Your still dishonest read my previous other posts regarding your/az Liberty lies

    @JJ
    No not a SFD employee…in retired… still think your an (deleted by editor) and complainer any other questions

    @@Rich collister

    Your still a coward for not using your real name….Ate you the wive(s) of the az liberty/teaparty who put that decitful webpage together regarding SFD

  23. Rich. Collister says:

    Oh yea Mike S

    One more thing….
    Why don’t you ask one of your Tea Party/AZ liberty pals who are collecting SS (that thing your type calls an entitlement)

    Don’t you now that COLA adjustment comes from the same place… Are you that out of touch with reality?

    So you think SFD chief is lying to you also? That man has more integrity then you can imagine…. You have ZERO

  24. Joyce M. says:

    Well, M. Shobert seems like a pussy cat alongside this Rich Collister person. Such hateful scorn is very scary. If this is representation of the current team on our fire department, no thank you! A shameful display of rage is hardly a benefit to the cause in my opinion. If anything it seems he might just be working to the advantage of Mr. Schroeder whom for the record I’ve never met. (same as Shobert and Collister)

    My vote is solid NO and based on the rants from Collister and Shobert will surely advise my friends.

  25. JessLookin says:

    @Rich collister

    Rich, I’m curious why your MyLife.com profile picture has you posed in front a fire truck? https://www.mylife.com/rich-collister/richcollister

  26. JessLookin says:

    This is what happens when you get greedy

    CalPERS Slashes Pension Payments To Retirees In Two More California Towns By Up To 90%

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-13/calpers-slashes-pension-payments-retirees-two-more-california-towns-90

  27. @Rich collister says:

    Do you work or have you ever worked for any fire department or district?

  28. Rich collister says:

    I see we have 4 responses from people using fake names or just outright cowards…

    I know jess looking was once “let go” from here gocwrnment job around here..
    She thought she was a bit more special then she actually is… But she does great “art work” since getting “let go” lol

    Wow a picture in front of a fire truck You must be a genius that you can put 1 and 1 together

  29. @Rich. Collister says:

    Looks like you’re one of those NYFD that became a fat cat off the taxpayers in pension. http://nypost.com/2015/10/21/more-than-2-dozen-ex-fdny-collecting-200k-in-pensions/ @Rich. Collister
    I am voting NO now. You ain’t nice man.

  30. Rich collister says:

    @@ rich collister

    I would vote no if I was you also since you either “got let go” from the organization your protesting agaisnt or the (deleted by editor) of az Liberty/tea party leaders…either way your all cowards and who cares what you think.

  31. JessLookin says:

    @Rich collister

    You are wrong on so many levels.
    One, you hurt your cause with your negativity.
    Two, I am not a female, I have never worked for any government organization. I also have no artistic talent.
    Three, you hurt your cause by admitting you are associated with any fire department.

    Vote no on the bond issue money grab. Stop those who think they deserve your money and insult you if you ask why.

    Tell your friends and neighbors. While the SedonaEye is a good forum, we all need to spread the word. That is the only way we will keep from being over taxed and take back our town.

  32. Rich collister says:

    Hey Jess lookin and whatever other fake name you use…

    I sent you a friend request on FB (deleted by editor)

  33. ATaxpayer says:

    @R collostomy

    I lived in a small town once. I was known to be active against government waste. Various “civil servants” knew my name. I had occasion to call the police. I went out to the corner to flag them down, I watched them drive by with big grins on their faces, they somehow got lost. They never showed up. I’m sure a fire department might only be substantially delayed going to my home when they “accidentally ” made a wrong turn and got lost. After all , it’s not easy to turn a fire truck around on narrow streets. Or maybe they went to the wrong address and the person there told them a story. Mistakes happen, right? I’m sure they would be really sorry.

    Not using your name when dealing with entitled jerks (some civil servants) is only common sense. I’ve experienced it first hand. Your responses prove my point.

    Even though you think you only work for your Captain or Chief, you work for we citizens. If we cut your funding, you are out of work. They same works for your underfunded pension. Let that sink in.

    I’ve asked 3 times for you geniuses to answer my questions with no replies.

    You do have lots of time for insults. You insult someone you were supposed to “publicly serve” and can vote on money for your job. Makes a voter think.

  34. steve segner says:

    Taxpayer says:government waste ,
    is just bs talk, T party talk , @R collostomy thank you for you comment on the town you came from, why do you bring it up, has nothing to do with the vote on the bonds.

    The Sedona city government and the fire department are well run,they look at every $ , talk to the staff if you have questions, I have and they are under funded….. Easy to just make statement like “no one likes higher taxes”, or government waste….. Taxes are how we run our city no free lunch just because people get to retitement age. Back off if you do not have facts. And who cares about the last city you live in it is not Sedona .

  35. […] my last “Perspective and Opinion” generated so much interest, I believe a follow-up (rather than a mere response) is in […]

  36. Rich collister says:

    &AT taxpayer

    I don’t answer questions from cowards who hide from thier real name….
    Which you are
    But: I don’t work for you SFD or anybody else…
    Don’t you understand the word RETIRED

    Now crawl back under that bush you came from..

  37. @Wendy Tanzer says:

    Sorry Wendy it’s the vile feedback from M. Shobert & R. Collister that made a tremendous impact on how I feel about that bond and it was NOT positive.

    The slams about people in their 70’s & 80’s not to mention connecting this issue with national politics did not serve your purpose well. Those insults were enhanced with the implication that social security is an “entitlement.” Really? We pay into a plan for all the years we work and the money was to be placed in a trust account. And what happened to it? It may have gone for “entitlements” all right but not to those of us that paid the price!

    Nasty folks you have representing the firefighters here. Too bad. And no I’m not involved with the M. Schroeder group but do find their presentation more palatable. No mud slinging these days means a lot. (oh yes in my opinion which is more than they qualify their own input including their latest mouthpiece S. Segner)

    My vote is a solid NO.

  38. West Sedona Dave says:

    @@Wendy Tanzer.

    All I can say, I laugh because your answer should make anyone cry!

    Just so you know how people read you. You would rather be lied to but talk to nicely, then get the truth and get it rudely?…..

    LOL…..That is truly priceless!…..

  39. @Wendy Tanzer says:

    @West Sedona Dave (Chris) – you are soooo predictable it’s boring. NO surprise from your answer. What happened to the suggestion that Fire Board should have downsized the amount of their bond request? Huh?

  40. Steve segner says:

    Wendy, ask the tea party crowd why they are borrowing money to pay for the war.
    why they aren’t paying cash,or cash for fixing Texas all they have to do is come back and raise taxes. and you know what people would raise hell ,all they’ll know how to do is bitch and groan about what they see as entitlements that means helping people as opposed to buying Aircraft carriers and keeping over 100 military installations around the world and they charge all this to the national debt when they could very easily have a gas tax oil,tax on tax rich and we could go to a non-charging society and why we are at it why don’t we charge Social Security taxes on the full amount of someone’s income not stopping in at $80,000 and why do we give a capital gains tax break to people who gamble in the stock market ? The t part types somehow think they are the productive people in our society and that society didn’t give them the opportunity to be productive and they don’t want to pay society anything for their help in the and they don’t want to pay society anything for their helping hand.

  41. jj says:

    @ Steve Segner! Why would anyone listen to you. You are a taker. You do not give a—- About anyone but yourself. Move back to Ca and (deleted by editor).

  42. jj says:

    @Steve Segner aka Kim Jung Un

  43. @Steve segner says:

    blah, blah, blah – more national politics – has NOTHING to do with local issues.
    same old, same old. see what we mean, W. Tanzer? no substance from your supporters.

  44. Rich collister says:

    @wendy Tanzer

    Is just another Sedona Eye serial poster who using different names to spew her nonsense…

    Forget her…..
    She makes no difference in life…..just spins and blah bkah blahs.
    Waste of breath

  45. Whoever you are? says:

    My comments struck a nerve! Proves they are true! Much too easy. I know you – despite your cloak of secrecy. Same stale arguments – from the same stale people – living your same stale lives!!! Laughable!

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