Eric: “WTFD, at its core, is a volunteer department and my plan focuses on recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters first.”

Eric is wrong. WTFD isn’t and hasn’t been a volunteer fire dept for several years. This is a combination fire dept, we have a volunteer and career firefighters that work together closely.

The career FFs aren’t “supplementing” the volunteers and the volunteers aren’t “supplementing” the careers.

Back when we initially hired our 1st paid FF in 2010 and then our 2nd paid FF in 2015, WTFD as a volunteer dept supplemented by paid staff would have likely been an correct statement.

But by investing in those paid firefighters (and hire more) with benefits like; insurance, retirement, training, better pay, we went from just having “paid firefighters” to having “career firefighters”.

There is a difference and Eric doesn’t seem to understand that difference.

His constant “volunteer FFs supplemented by career FFs” statements are demeaning to the career firefighters we currently have and discouraging to any future potential hires.

EDIT: corrected some grammar. Had to delete initial comment and repost as I couldn’t figure out how to edit my original comment.

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Mike, saying WTFD, at its core, is a volunteer fire department is not saying it is not a combination department. It’s embracing the fact that it was founded as a volunteer department and has been operated as one for most of its existence.

I meant no offense when saying the career members are supplementing the volunteers. I was trying to acknowledge the fact that the population growth in the area now requires us to fully transition into a combination department. At no time have I ever tried to demean the career members. If by saying I would supplement the volunteer firefighters with career members is an insult, then I wholeheartedly apologize to the career members, that was not my intention. Increasing pay and benefits to the career members was the right thing to do, and I support that. If you have read my plan, you would see that I would further increase their pay moving forward as I do not believe their current pay is in line with their experience and contribution to the department.

For combination departments to work effectively, both volunteers and career members need to be treated as equals. By holding onto your heritage of a volunteer department first and bringing on career members at the right pace and right pay, you can achieve the proper balance. That is all my plan is trying to do.

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Eric, you understand Wabash Township isn't the rural township it was in the 1980's and 1990's right? It's not "holding on to your heritage" it's denying reality and hurting growth, property value, and safety in the process.

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One of my questions to you is, the trustee has a set pay rate, I believe the approved budget set it at $40k.

Angel mentioned in the debate he would be working full time as the trustee.

You mentioned you aren’t going to be full time. This will be a part time job to your existing full time job. (I don’t have an issue with that, many trustee are PT, although I think this position is busy enough to justify FT)

Do you intend to take less money and return that excess salary?

So if you are doing 20 hrs a week, are you going to returning 50% of the trustee salary? Maybe using that to up the pay for the firefighters?

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One of things that you have suggested is increasing the pay to be more in line with Lafayette and WL is something I agree with. We should be increasing the pay to be closer to avoid hiring people that then will want to leave for hirer pay, but that will also result in an increase of our taxes. Something you are against, I’m not for increasing taxes either unless it’s in places that make sense.

Increasing fire protection is a place that makes sense, by increasing staff and increasing pay to help retain our existing and new hires.

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Big difference between being fiscally smart and being cheap. Paying for a root canal because you didn't want to buy a tooth brush is fiscal recklessness.

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Eric, the department has had a station resident program since the early 1990’s. Resident quarters were built into the expansion of the old station 1 and currently exist in both stations. I can send you a complete list of the many station residents over the years including the current one. This is certainly not a new idea that you seem to be giving yourself credit for.

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Greetings …

For over 10 years, I have been helping Wabash Twp Fire. Back when the first full-time firefighter started, I figured out how to finance the position. Over the years, I provided financial guidance to grow the full-time staff. When the township board needed help to attempt to keep the firemen, I provided the guidance to the board to transfer $500,000 to operating. Those funds were used to bring back the staff. I spent two months fixing the financial records of the past trustee so the state would permit putting the township back together.

Eric is the absolutely the most impressive trustee candidate that I have met in the 40 years I have been involved with township government. Please review all of his ideas. He supports both the paid staff and a strong volunteer department. He was raised in the volunteer fire department family. His knowledge is superior to any candidate I have ever know. Please review his research, you will find he takes the time to review how other departments across the county have been successful.

I helped your township get the major increase in the fire maximum levy. But I would have never imagined that your leadership would increase fire property taxes by 340% in one year. The taxpayers of your township will find out next April when their taxes increase. They are paying for the increase and don’t even know it will happen …

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Bill, you're supporting Eric because he has an R next to his name. Wabash township isn't the same as it was in 1995. It's not fiscally responsible to pay for a root canal because you were too cheap to buy a toothbrush.

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It has nothing to do with politics. I have worked with both candidates and there is simply no comparison. Eric is far superior. Best wishes when you get your tax bill ...

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The taxes aren’t going up nearly as much as what you are saying. Simply because (as I understand it) we were already paying an increased rate due to the emergency loan.

So yes, they are going up, but it’s not nearly as much as people think.

Aside from that, when I look at my taxes and many time I wonder what my tax money is used for. And personally if the taxes are going to increase, I would want it to increase for something that will help me and my neighbors.

I hate wasting money, but wasting money because I never need WTFD to respond for me or my family is fine because I know if I need them, I will be getting prompt response due to a fully staffed truck rolling out the door within 2 mins.

You saw where we were in 2020 and 2021 dealing with JT.

I’m not gonna say Eric is same as her, but he is recycling her ideas, like somehow we will make bank on an ambulance. Something that, you know as well as I do, we won’t.

The big reason our taxes are increasing so much as to do with how low they were in the first place and the fact they hadn’t been raised appropriately when they needed to be in the past.

Unfortunately Angel is trying to clean up a mess left by Jennifer and get us on track so they we can be able to take care of our citizens in 5 years, and 10 years.

Eric’s plan to hire 2 per shift would help, but we would still be far behind the ball. Particularly when you consider those 2 on the shift would be frequently called in town on the Wabash Ambulance to cover WL and Lafayette when TEAS is out of ambulances (which happens frequently, talk to WPFD). We need to stop playing catch up or at least try and play catch up quicker. Something Angel and Chief Wards does, Eric’s plan means we are still drowning, just slightly slower.

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Nice job tooting you’re own horn, Bill. Is this why the Wabash Township Board recently voted unanimously to remove you as a consultant to the township? Of course you abruptly resigned before they completed the process of firing you……..

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Oct 28, 2022·edited Oct 28, 2022

Eric's approach of cutting funding, not investing, etc. sounds like Jennifer Teising 2.0. Angel Valentin has done an incredible job with a township left in shambles by Teising. Eric isn't qualified for this position, and I don't think everyone in Wabash township is interested in reliving the Teising days.

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Exactly. Angel is working to make the township better for the future. Eric seems to want us to continue at best treading water. He has some good ideas, hopefully some that we can review and determine if they make sense if Angel wins. However, some, like purchasing an Ambulance is foolhardy at best and will likely just cost us more money.

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Sean, nothing in my proposal cuts funding for the fire department. I fully support hiring addition career members. I would simply add fewer career members next year and focus more on rebuilding the volunteer base. This would give the department time to see how things are going, re-evaluate the progress and determine if additional career members are needed.

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Eric, if your plan is so great and reasonable then why has every firefighter group endorsed your opponent instead of you? Seems like the firefighters know what's up.

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Eric - 1 more firefighter per shift (so 2 total, plus the fire chief) doesn’t make sense when NFPA 1710 states that 4 people should be on a first due engine for a fire call.

That’s at most 3 firefighters on a first due engine.

Having 4 people on duty during the day time when typically volunteers and our student residents are not as available, is what makes the most sense.

The current plan moving forward puts us with 4 on duty during the day, plus the fire chief, this meets the NFPA standards.

In the evening when there are only 3 people on duty, our student residents and volunteers are more available and many time there are 1-2 at the station anyway, either working on things or learning. So having 3 people on duty in the evenings, again makes sense.

When Sean mentions cutting, that’s what he’s referring to.

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