As usual, I went to the Selma Town Council meeting last night. I figured it would be a hot button issue night, with the recent developments about wanting to hire a new chief. I figured that there would be more people showing up than were there to argue on behalf of the fire department. Joe Moore, Al Gaskill, and Michael Piper got up to speak on behalf of the firefighters. What amused me is that Joe Moore is retired from the department yet kept talking about "we" and "us" both in the meeting and to the media. He also conveniently left out any mention of his former status as mayor and chief when talking to the media. I had the opportunity to speak with a reporter and she was amazed at how much more information there was than what she was given.
I felt like speaking, but allowed the time for others. After all, it will be in the paper. I am already getting hate mail from my blogging and comment left on The Selma News web site. There is a lot of whining going on there and even a conspiracy theory. There is a lot of accusation of people not understanding the situation or what the fire department does. Sorry, but I do understand. Been there, lived that. I guarantee that I had more training and qualifications than most on that department.
One thing I stayed up late for was to see TV news reports on the situation. Reporters from The Selma News, The News and Observer, The Smithfield Herald, a photographer, WTVD, and News 14 were there. I watched the reports on both News 14 and WTVD. Darn if they didn't get the story wrong in BOTH reports. If the reporters had spent any time doing background on the story and read anything about the details, they would not have gotten the story wrong. Both got different details wrong in their stories. The one story I have read that is pretty accurate is by sweet little Peggy Lim at The News and Observer. Click on that link for the story.
Either way, the budget was passed last night, which included the money for a new chief. I marvel at those who whine that the town can not afford a new position when the town just announced at last night's meeting that we are some $1.2 million ahead i the budget year that ends June 30.
One person even wrote on The Selma News web site comment section, "Selma police have gone without being fully staffed and without the proper equipment for doing their jobs". First of all, they are just about fully staffed. We obviously could operate fine with the staff level which we just had, but open slots are being filled. Just last night, three new officers were introduced to the council. A fourth was qualifying at the gun range last night. The police chief even said that they are just about full staff. Secondly, where does this person get the idea that they have not had proper equipment? We went through ONE year of cut backs. ONE. I have not heard a single mention of not having the equipment necessary to do the job. Not ONE.
There has been a lot of emotional rhetoric. I wish that there was more reasoned logic, instead.
The Smithfield Heresy has published their article online today. Here is the link.