Esd6, Who Will Watch Them Closer?
The Emergency Service District #6, was appointed a "monitor" until March 1, 2010. Under the watchful eye of a monitor to work on contracts for the volunteer fire departments and come to an equitable agreement, the motions were set to begin contract negotiations. However, still leaving the ESD #6 Board to continue as always.
Now many angry community members are taking up the fight to keep a watchful eye on the ESD#6 run by Sylvia Ruiz Mendelsohn.
As the members of the Volunteer Fire Departments from AtaBexar County Line VFD and Sandy Oaks VFD struggle to maintain their vehicles with the little bit of funding they have been given by court order. This will find the coming months to be equally as hard.
In 2008-2009, The previous board awarded contracts to the fire departments as follows:
AtaBexar County Line VFD, $80,400.00
Sandy Oaks, $92,025.00
South Bexar Fire and Rescue- $74, 350.00
As per the "run" logs it's easy to see that AtaBexar and South Bexar's numbers run pretty close, however, AtaBexar has a larger coverage area and it was determined that it would require more fuel, etc and hence, the larger contract.
Sandy Oaks VFD having the largest area over all, to include the business sector, schools and largest number of homes was awarded the largest contract. It has been, if nothing more than common knowledge throughout the community that Sandy Oaks has always received more and has the largest tax base in the area.
When Ms. Mendelsohn took over the ESD#6, contracts were "refigured" according to Ms. Mendelsohn at a public meeting, it was said that she took many factors into consideration. Their call logs, etc.
According to the numbers based on the Bexar County Fire Dispatch - Monthly Run Report. Ms. Mendelsohn doesn't have a leg to stand on.
The board, under Ms. Mendelsohn, awarded contracts as follows for 2009-2010.
Ata Bexar County Line VFD, $121,432.00
Sandy Oaks VFD, $106, 535.24
South Bexar Fire & Rescue, $131, 482.00
Esd6 shell game to deceive the community
While some people might say, why are they complaining, they got pay raises.
It's more like a shell game, because the way they paid for items also changed. With the new board came new policies and ways of doing things. However, giving the smallest fire department a $57,132.00 raise cannot be justified, no matter how you twist and turn the numbers.
The only hope these volunteer fire departments have in staying afloat, would have been to have the monitor digging into the information and making sure that a policy covered by facts and figures was put into place and that the community stays vigilant over the activities of the ESD#6.
What can the volunteer fire departments do?
A contract is just that. Contracts can be negotiated, from pay to equipment. The volunteers would be smart to make a list of wants and needs to take to the table and bring a "mouthpiece" with them.
Negotiations Over: Everyone Loses but the Esd6
The contracts for the volunteer fire departments finally came to be. They were very hard to negotiate because Ms. Mendelsohn was unwilling to work with the Volunteer Fire Departments (VFD's) and put up roadblocks at every turn.
Since the ESD6 is financially bankrupt, the VFD's had to agree to accept a reimbursement of $8,000 per month with a clause by the ESD6 that states with available funds. This clause has been a tremendous burdens on the fire departments because Ms. Mendelsohn uses it to her advantage at every turn, denying reimbursements on many items of necessity to the VFD's operations. So, while the VFD's are under contract, they are no better off today than they were in October of 2010 when this all began.
THE LOSER'S IN THIS ENTIRE DEAL:
- The Community Members; they will have underfunded fire and emergency protection.
- The VFD's because they will have to cut back on paid staff during peak hours as well as have inadequate funds for maintaining their equipment and training.
- The "monitor" because Ms. Mendelsohn spent the funds to pay him for his work. $30,000.