City Manager Jon Jennings has a tough enough job managing the city without have to put up with the bullying tactics used by firefighters union President Chris Thomson in regard to the removal of a piece of equipment from the Munjoy Hill station. As Mr. Jennings has stated, he has no issue with the rank and file but finds the union leadership to be a problem in the operation of city business.

Twice the membership has run the fireboat aground, in 2010 and 2011, both times being in a spot they had no business being in. The second time, it was documented in the Press Herald that the crew was out on a cruise with friends and family. The firefighters involved were suspended but got their back pay after a review, as there was nothing in the contract that said they could not take out their friends.

Fast forward a couple of years, and the ladder company in North Deering went out on a call and left the stove on, resulting in a fire and a very expensive rebuild of the station. Was anyone ever held responsible for these acts? Not that I am aware.

It is well documented that Portland has far more full-time firefighters than other New England cities its size and that the fire department could stand to have some of its rules regarding manning relaxed.

Mr. Thomson does a fine job for his membership. He should stick to those issues and let the city manager manage.

Scaring citizens into believing they are at risk from the decommissioning of Engine 1 is just like the schoolyard bully. I am glad Mr. Jennings is in charge and not Mr. Thomson. I wonder how many members of the Portland Fire Department actually live in Portland.

Dan Milligan


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