vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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More Firefighters For Stafford

Stafford County supervisors voted last night to take advantage of a $1 million federal grant to hire 14 new career firefighters. But there was some dissent prior to the 5-2 vote, particularly from supervisors Susan Stimpson and Paul Milde, who voted in opposition.

Milde and Stimpson were concerned about what happens when the grant money runs out in two years. The county is obligated to pick up the cost of the third year. After the third year, it could mean the county continues to pick up the tab, or those firefighters could be laid off.

OK, maybe not laid off, but that money will have to come from somewhere.

Ultimately, a majority of the supervisors felt there was a need to increase staffing levels to improve coverage in the county, and that the grant was a good opportunity to do so.

This item was added to the board’s agenda last night, so there isn’t background information on the county’s website.


  • Irritated

    How about giving the currently employed firefighters a raise and retension incentives? I know there are quite a few of them that have not seen raises in 3 years due to budget issues.

  • Dean Fetterolf

    Public safety is paramount – On that I think we can all agree. 4 New deputies, 14 new firemen is great.

    OK now BOS how about coming up with $3M for the 60 school positions that might go unfilled thru attrition/retirement or the $5M for about 240 paraprofessionals that might have to be left go.

    You have known for 2 years that the federal stimulus money, used by the state to SUPPLANT their funding of education, would expire. The state has always expected localities to pick that up. But you did not plan.

    Level funding is in reality a cut. In addition to the loss of stimulus funds there are increased cost drivers that the SB can’t control, like VRS increases, health insurance costs, fuel, reducing competitive salary gaps. How about replacement for 5-7 year old computers, 88 past their lifetime school buses, or millions for textbooks?

    Time to show the parents of nearly 27,000 school students where they fit in your priorities.

    They will elect candidates who support schools this Nov and in 2 years from then.

  • http://UmqaoU GIVEMEABREAK2M

    Well Ms. Stimpson and Mr. Milde it is local governments primary responsibility to provide for the safety of its constituents. Your concerns are clearly political in nature and that is a shame. Both of you claim to be Republicans and that may be enough said. However, the answer to your concerns is simple, the county will be required to fully fund these 14 positions when the grant expires. The real question that the both of you should be asking yourselfs is, are these positions needed to protect our constituents. If the answer is yes, your vote should have been yes as well. Quit playing party politics with the lives of county residents. PARTY POLITICS HAS NO PLACE IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT. This issue is a prime example of what can happen when you play party politics with “LOCAL” issues. The safety of your constituents is put in jeopardy. Quit worrying about the next election and start providing the safety services you are required to provide. Your votes are very alarming to this voter.

  • Dean Fetterolf

    The Republicans really don’t want the RESPONSIBILITY. If with blind political ideology you just keep cutting and cutting then you don’t have to deal with anything. Easy solution, eliminate it, no thinking, no further reponsibility.

    I sure hope their cars don’t break down since we don’t have a 21st century CTE facility to teach modern computerized auto mechanics.

    When the economy does turn around (and it already is, slowly) where will the skilled labor for construction, electrical, HVAC, and masonry come from? Could be lots of local jobs available and no skilled labor force.

    Longterm problems, short term thinking. What a shame!
    Lets go voters.

  • opiniontoshare

    “there are increased cost drivers that the SB can’t control” – there are increased cost drivers that the taxpayers can’t control either – we’re all paying more for gas, etc. Are you sure these positions in the school system and fire department can be provided without increasing the burden on local taxpayers? What things would you cut from the budget in order to fund these positions? If they are really that important, then it ought to be worth sacrificing in other areas. Or is it just spend, spend, spend, and spend some more?

  • What a Joke

    Maybe Chief Brown should be the boss of the county since he gets everything he wants and the other emplyees get shafted and lose there jobs.

  • Dean Fetterolf

    Its not spend, spend, spend its been cut, cut, cut. From 2006 to today the SHARE (piece of the pie) of total county expenditures invested in education has fallen over 16%.
    Please tell me where residents have benefited from that redistribution?

    In 2007 schools cut 90+ positions, From the 2007 to 2008
    budget over 57% of the 700 lines in the budget were reduced or eliminated. Our teachers salary is noncompetitive to the N and S by thousands of $.

    Schools will be operating at about 2005-6 funding levels despite increased costs, enrollment, unfunded mandates. We have over 1000 computers that are 5-7 years old. 88 buses that need replacement and million in worn out textbooks.

    I’m glad I only have 1/2 yr left before my last graduates. But that will not stop me from being a spokesman for investment in the future of Stafford kids.

    Read some past citizens advisory committee reports such as this one.

  • ed newell

    dean you didn’t really throw the term “blind political ideology”
    at someone else did you? the chutzpah is ironic

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  • Dean Fetterolf

    I belong to either political party!!

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    AND, I don’t belong to either, and if there were a third spoke in this wheel I wouldn’t belong to it either. Why are we continuing to use politics as an answer for everything, when all the issue requires is good and well informed judgement from the County’s part-time employees; aka BOS?

  • Dean Fetterolf

    We want elected officials who can think on their own and make decisions. Not just run on autopilot.

  • Dana

    FYI – Dean there is NO reason why textbooks can’t be purchased. We have received PLENTY of money each year. In fact, Dr. Sawyer was in front of the BOS last year claiming we did not spend any of the state textbook money for FY09 (he said $1.2 mil) and wanted permission to carry it over for other things. We have plenty of money this year, too. However staff is running around saying maybe we can’t buy mathbooks this year. Hmmm.

    We have lots of money, however the VDOE stated amounts for Stafford don’t match our records – again.

    We need to STOP diverting textbook funds and use it for its intended purpose.