The Mobile Firefighters Association Local 1349 firefighters union announced their endorsement of mayoral candidate Sandy Stimpson on July 30.
Stimpson said his number one priority is public safety and this endorsement is the second from first responders. The Mobile County Law Enforcement Association announced their support on July 23.
“Crime is the number one issue in this campaign and I’ve got the endorsement of both primary groups of first responders,” Stimpson said at today’s announcement. “They need to know that the things they are most concerned about, that we’re going to address that.”
Suitable equipment and proper training are one of the major concerns the MFA has.
Joe Ramey, a fire engine driver, said the focus of the current mayor is on other things like parks instead of training and equipment, which has led to a downward spiral in some areas.
“There are trucks in the department that are 20-30 years old,” Ramey said, who has been with the fire department 18 years. “The equipment, we depend on it. It’s our lifeblood.”
The challenger said decaying equipment isn’t saving the city in fact it’s a liability.
“When you have aging equipment what happens is the maintenance cost is costing sometimes more than what the capital expenditure would be,” Stimpson said. “We’re spending capital in areas where it should be directed today toward equipment replacement.”
The other concern for the LFA is their pension.
“We’ve discussed with candidate Stimpson the importance of our defined benefit pension,” said James Connick, who is the vice president of Local 1349 and also speaks for the Fire Department on police and fire pension. “We’ve got factual proof that the burden is more on the active employee than the city. So we have a candidate that we can work with.”
Stimpson said the first thing that needs to happen is reversing the trend on what’s going on right now.
“You have to have a priority of where you’re going to spend your capital dollars, and what I’m saying is that it needs to go the first responder,” he said. “We’ve got two issues: One with their pay and the other is equipment. We have to address both of them.”