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franklin county times

Firefighters, mayor disagree on relationship

By By Fredie Carmichael/staff writer
Feb. 21, 2002
Comments made by Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith Wednesday about previous meetings with Meridian firefighters angered a few members of firefighters' union.
Smith said at his biweekly press conference that he's addressed every concern the union has brought to him.
Smiths comments came a day after the city council agreed to meet with the members of the union in a work session to help iron out some of the problems within the department including poor working conditions, low pay, low morale and lack of adequate training.
Capt. Mike Sims, president of the firefighters' union, disagreed with the mayor's assessment of the relationship and said the union has yet to receive responses on several of their concerns.
David Fason, vice president of the union, agreed.
Sims said he feels, after the face-to-face meetings with the administration, no real solutions are being achieved.
One of Smith's comments that angered Sims and Fason involved a repairing dispute over station No. 2.
Smith said progress was originally being made to fix the conditions at No. 2 by firefighters who work their. But, he said, firefighters quit the project shortly before hanging the sheet rock because of a compensation time grievance.
Strips of wood are still on the wall, Smith said, where the fireman were working on it the repairs with materials bought by the city.
Smith said he'd be happy to give them compensation time for the work. But, he said, the firefighters don't want to work on the repair project for compensation time, fearing legal implications.
Sims, though, said he told the mayor the firemen on his shift were not contractors and did not know how to hang sheet rock.
Sims said his crews are constantly upgrading and repairing as many things as they can.

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