Letter to the Editor 5/1/14

It is unfortunate that there was no input to this article from any community members not associated with the Arlington Fire District (AFD) (“Arlington firefighters ensure campus safety.” 4.23.14).

Service to the College is not free although that is the impression that the Local gave.   Those services cost taxpayers in the District $16.2 million and $15 million of that is for the salaries, benefits and pensions of the Local members.

I have been attending AFD meetings for nearly five years and have heard many Fire District career and volunteer members complain bitterly about having to respond to Vassar for intoxicated students when the students and the College don’t even pay taxes.

While the Local warns students that several commissioners are considering potential new policies, such as hiring private commercial ambulance companies “that could drastically affect campus safety,” the reality is that one commissioner brought this up at one meeting but privatization has never really been discussed.The Local claims it would be “in the best interests of all” that the Local continue to serve Vassar.  The fact is that it is really in the Local’s favor to continue to serve Vassar.

While many complain about the number of calls generated by Vassar, that number works to AFD’s advantage.  The District justifies career staff, overtime and equipment purchases based on call volume.  As a matter of fact, at a recent meeting, AFD’s Chief said additional personnel would need to be hired due to call volume.

It appears to me that the Local is using Vassar students for their personal gain.

Doreen Tignanelli

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