Firefighters Union Efforts 'No' Vote on MAPS3
By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- With the MAPS3 vote just days away, the Fire Fighters Union continues their push to try and convince voters it's a bad idea.
Their latest efforts involve Fire Station 7 which has remain closed for the past year and half as just one more example the union says shows the city's lack of concern for public safety.
Ever since fire station 7 was closed, other fire stations have had to pick up the slack, resulting in slower response times. That is just one example the Fire Fighters Union says that shows a city weak on public safety and is something the city calls bogus.
Phil Sipe is the president of the local fire fighters union. The group is opposed to MAPS 3, in large part because they would like to see the city put more focus on public city. The union has said only after that do they feel the city could look at growing.
When you have a station closed as long as Station 7 has been closed for, a year and a half now, we think that puts an exclamation point that. They are not really paying attention to the citizens' needs and their safety," Sipe said.
Oklahoma City Manager Jim Couch said if offended by those who think the city is neglecting its citizens' safety.
"I would say that's absurd. The city spends two-thirds of its budget on public safety," Couch said. "Overall public safety does very well through our budgeting process."
And as it relates to Fire Station 7, Couch said this is first time his office has learned there was an issue.
"I think it's interesting that we've never heard about these concerns about Fire Station 7 until earlier today," Couch
Fire Station 7 is 95 percent of the way through the bidding process and will be open within the next year.
City officials said construction at Station 7 was delayed approximately two months while officials waited to see if the project could qualify for federal stimulus funds.
The union also points to the lack of new fire fighters which hasn't increased since 2004 as another example of the city refusing to take public safety seriously.