I would like to offer congratulations to the voting citizens of the city of Everett in the mayor’s election. The results are in and the new mayor is Cassie Franklin. Cassie was the candidate with two whole years of experience holding political office and in four short weeks, will be at the helm of a $360 million dollar budget.
Franklin proclaimed during the election at one point, on the front page of T Herald, that she was not a second coming of current mayor Ray Stephanson. Given the tumultuous relationship that Stephanson;s office has had with the majority of city departments for the bulk of his tenure, I hope she isn’t. Unfortunately the clock has already been rolled back five years as the first Everett Fire Department “brown-out” was set to happen on Dec 5.
For those who do not know, a “brown-out” is when some frontline fire apparatus is taken offline for a shift, or portion thereof, due to manning being purposefully left low. This issue is often due to personnel being off on vacation or for an injury or illness. Overtime personnel are the usual remedy in that situation so that the citizens and properties are still protected with a full complement of staffing. This issue is one that the fire department navigated for a number of years earlier this decade as Stephanson and his office refused to green-light the hiring of new fire department employees to replace retirees. So why will this be happening? Simply put, it’s the mayor’s gift to Franklin. His putting the citizens and properties at risk gives Franklin a better bargaining position with city departments during negotiations, which coincidentally, are happening now with the fire department.
The Everett Fire Department will respond to approximately 24,500 emergency calls in 2017, with six fire stations. Everett Fire will now be operating, on occasion, with less rigs and personnel than they had in the 1970s when call volume was 20 percent of its current number.
I hope the deficiencies that are now on the way, do not occur on the day you need help. If you voted for Cassie Franklin, then I’m sorry; you were duped. If you didn’t vote at all, shame on you.