It’s really a matter of priorities. Three young DeKalb firefighters were laid off. Their specific positions were selected for termination because they held the lowest rank in seniority (a priority). Nothing, absolutely nothing, related to their individual qualifications and job performance factored into the selection process. So in the matter of priorities seniority is held higher than individual and job performance.
The process used to make the decision to lay off the three young firemen was based on principle (a priority). The City of DeKalb strictly adhered to a fairness principle best reflected by the Three Musketeers’ “all for one and one for all” battlecry: Across the board wage freezes or lay offs determined by voluntary departmental compliance, or the lack thereof. Fair is fair policies for the purpose of internal equity (or not having to make more difficult choices) trump the priority list of government services.
The IAFF leadership were driven by principles that do not allow the amending of their contract without other considerations. The IAFF represents firefighters throughout Illinois. The DeKalb issue could be precedent setting. Hold the ranks. Stick to the principle of a signed contract. Those principles make the three young firefighters’ jobs worth the price of protection.
Competing principles between IAFF and the City of DeKalb evidently hold higher priority than fire protection with both parties. It is what it is.
Meanwhile sound management practices, such as not allowing overtime for planned special events, are ignored. The savings from fixing those flawed policies might have made terminating three firefighter positions a non-discussion. Older rank and file firefighters say they really don’t want all of the overtime. They say they can’t get the younger firefighters to take enough of the overtime as it is anyway.
Evidently, listening to each other doesn’t hold much priority either.
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