I was quoted in the News-Leader, Sunday edition, I guess. See News-Leader.com Opinions.
Since what small amount of anonymity I was retaining is now lost (it was intended to be kept private and was shared in a private email between Tony and I), there is a thing or two I'd like to add.
First things first. I write for free on my own blog. I don't write for free elsewhere, of course considering the fact that I have quoted Messenger on more than one occasion without paying him a dime how can I complain? I'm a lowly citizen journalist, no training. If I have any talent for writing it is purely a gift from God.
What Messenger doesn't know is that I'm not exactly certain whether I understood the information I read in the Springfield Business Journal correctly or not. I'm not much with math and certainly am no expert on understanding the City's new budget.
I have long questioned however, the amount of money the City spends on parks and their continuing interest at throwing more money in that direction while being unwilling to allow the Police and Firefighters' Unions in Springfield their way in allowing the Federal Mediation Conciliation Service to provide for mediation. The City has not been able to find a solution to the Police and Firefighters' pension shortfalls and the idea of the Council viewing taking a 1% sales tax to the voters as the solution to the problem doesn't sit well with me. It seems like "passing the buck."
I interviewed both Tony Kelley, the President of the Firefighter's Union and Greg Wheelen, the President of the Police Officers' Association, some time ago (in fact, before the April election in which three new members of Council were elected) and according to Tony Kelly, "We've asked for that (mediation) for the past several years and especially during this pension dispute, we've asked for it on multiple occasions and we've been denied....Federal tax dollars pays for that service, all you have to do is request that, they come in and they'll mediate."
When I asked Kelley why the City has refused to allow for mediation he said the City doesn't feel that a mediator can make a good decision because they don't know all the history.
Kelley went on to say that he was hopeful that the City will "come back to the table."
Greg Wheelen, the President of the Police Officer's Association told me, "The thing that we are looking for is open communication." Wheelen was discouraged. He said that they can meet all day long but when they get told the same thing over and over again that they're just not getting anywhere. Wheelen said, "I'm not saying the City hasn't met with us, they have met with us but as far as making any headway towards a solution there's not been any good ground made in that direction."
At tonight's City Council meeting City Council Bill 2007-147 was read. I'll be writing more about it later...but not fer free. ;)