fbpx

County commission adds 6 Rescue Lieutenant positions, money for ACFR bonuses

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

At their August 24 meeting, the Alachua County Commission agreed to advertise a $10,000 bonus for 7 existing Rescue Lieutenant vacancies, with a requirement to fulfill a 2-year commitment; add 6 new Rescue Lieutenants, who would also be eligible for the $10,000 bonus, and 6 new firefighter positions; and authorize staff to enter into negotiations with the union to give $10,000 bonuses to current Rescue Lieutenants. After 6 months, four of the firefighter positions will be dropped through attrition.

Alachua County Fire Rescue (ACFR) Chief Harold Theus said that the FY22 budget will add an additional rescue unit, so 3 of the Rescue Lieutenants will staff that unit, and if the positions remain fully staffed, ACFR should be able to add an additional rescue unit each day. The money, a little over a million dollars, will come out of American Rescue Plan funds.

During the conversation, the commissioners repeatedly expressed their desire to have all employees vaccinated. Commissioner Anna Prizzia said that only 36% of ACFR staff have reported their vaccination status (but she later clarified that 81% of those who had reported are vaccinated), “that’s like one of the lowest departments in terms of reporting.” She added, “it’s hard for me to understand where… they’re in such dire straits with regards to staffing, and they’re in such dire straits for need of support, and we need to come in and provide this additional support, which I’m happy to do, but at the same time, they’re not willing to meet us in the road to say we’ll report our vaccination status and work with you for health and safety, as a frontline safety worker.”

Commissioner Mary Alford added, “For me, personally, if my mother calls an ambulance, and she’s got cancer, and she’s, you know, immune compromised, I need to know the responding person bending over her, providing that life saving assistance, is not going to infect her with the thing that will kill her. I think a lot of people feel that way.”

She asked whether the positions would be filled with vaccinated people, and County Manager Michele Lieberman said they are looking at putting that requirement on new employees, and that would apply here because of the October 1 start date. She said that mandatory vaccines for employees “may be a road we’re heading down… if these incentives do not move the needle.”

Don't Miss a Post!

Alford said she wanted to make sure the County didn’t need to bargain with the union about a vaccination requirement for the new positions. Chief Theus said that they had been unable to resolve vaccination concerns with the union as of the previous day; he didn’t really answer the question about new employees.

Chair Ken Cornell said he had “strong feelings” about the need for employees to be vaccinated. He mentioned “our sister county” Leon County several times, saying they are now mandating vaccines for employees. Regarding Leon County’s policy, he said, “I’m not there yet, but I’m getting there pretty quick. I just want you to hear that, I want our folks to hear that.”

The vote was unanimous.

  • Commissioner Mary Alford added, “For me, personally, if my mother calls an ambulance, and she’s got cancer, and she’s, you know, immune compromised, I need to know the responding person bending over her, providing that life saving assistance, is not going to infect her with the thing that will kill her. I think a lot of people feel that way.”

    “Mary, Mary…they won’t!” When it’s her time, it’s her time! Get over it. When she dies the only thing that may happen is she’ll roll over in her grave at the idiot of a daughter that she gave birth to.

    She’s always going to believe…

    • Was that a zoom meeting? All but one was wearing
      A mask. —Is it true that if someone has had Covid and recovered, that now
      They have all the antibodies against all the variants
      And that this is superior to the shot?

    • In Mary’s fictitious “what if” scenario: the death would be
      counted as a Covid death. It wouldn’t matter that
      The mom was already dying of cancer with multiple co-morbidities. If her mom was dying of cancer, I hope she
      Would already be in hospice care. —Mary is implying
      That healthy people who are not vaccinated are killers?
      What a loon!

  • “our sister county” Leon County? CorporateCommieSisterGovernmentalists giving lifelong grief to citizens with BadKarmaPharmaFist

  • >