As y'all may have read by now, I am all for cutting budgets and spending in Selma. I am also for fully supporting essential city services. I have worked in emergency services jobs for years and know how important they are. I also know how important having electricity, water, and sewer are.
In the latest money conservation efforts, the town is looking to cut fuel expenses. I have no problem with that. Some things are better left alone, I believe. I come from a perspective of living that last sentence. I am a service technician for Time Warner Cable Media Sales. I travel a lot across the state, mostly the eastern half. I am on call at least every other weekend and every weeknight. That means that if I have a problem to fix, I have to travel with my service vehicle to play troubleshooter.
There was a time when the company tried a policy of cutting down on fuel expenses and required us techs to leave our company vehicle at the office. That idea didn't work out so well. We cover a much larger geographic territory than the 3.5 square miles of Selma. I will not go further into that topic, since I never know who is reading.
I was in the fire service for about nine years or so. A fire chief does need mobility for his job as incident commander. In Selma, our local fire chief gets a town supplied vehicle. I have no problem with that, since he serves an important function. He takes the vehicle home at night and on weekends. We don't have a full time chief on staff in our volunteer department. I find this reasonable accommodation.
The town is going to charge a fee of $50 per month in order for the chief (or other town employees) to take the vehicle home. This amounts to just $600 per year in town savings. Normally, I would say that in my estimation, this is one measure that simply is not worth the effort nor the bad relations it generates with the administration. Been there, done that.
In the case of our fire chief, however, I am ambivalent. The reason? Our own fire chief does not even live in the town. That is a problem, in my opinion. Yes, it is much the same as a chief shopping in another town and then responding to a fire call in terms of response time. Then again, people don't shop every night, all night. In regards to running a town's emergency response agency, I find it inappropriate to have a directing officer who is not a local resident. This almost goes doubly so, since he is also the head of the water department. But I can deal better with the water department head living outside the town better than I can for our emergency response chief.
It is good to see that our canine officer will be an exception to the rule imposed. It is only appropriate.
I remember when I worked for NCSU Public Safety in the late 80's. There was one deputy director that took a state owned vehicle home as a perk. He worked in Raleigh and lived in Coats. That was quite a commute and benefit for someone who would never be called back into work for emergency response. I did emergency response constantly and never took a vehicle home. Then again, we had others on duty when I was not there or we simply dealt with simply not having that staff function in the evenings. By the way, that deputy director ended up leaving that job in disgrace, as did several other ranking members of that department. Sad.