If you are a reader in Memphis, you will know about the upheaval being caused with the City and the Memphis Police Dept. and the Memphis Fire Dept. Many lay people are looking for answers and understanding to what is exacting going on! I’ve seen some comments on Facebook and I have had to just strike them up to pure ignorance of not knowing the facts of the situation. So I thought I would use my platform to inform – fact v. fiction. After all, I do have a vested interest. My husband has been a firefighter/paramedic for 10+ years with the City.
Since July 1, I have been studying the book of Proverbs. The first 8 chapters have a resounding, recurrent theme. Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, begins almost each chapter by saying “Listen to my instruction…pay attention and gain understanding…let the wise listen and add to their learning, and the discerning get guidance.” Without understanding, there is no wisdom.
1. Many assume that there is just an INCREASE in the health insurance premiums for the City employees. The health insurance is two-fold. For current employees, such as Jay, his insurance will increase by 24% by the end of the year. Collin will remain on his plan and we are assuming he will pay the family plan rate. I am required to get insurance with my own employer. So we will be paying two insurance premiums for one household. Retirees now have NO health insurance at all. This includes widows of those who have died in the line of duty. Now that would attract you to a job, wouldn’t it?
2. They (City Council) have been talking for months about doing away with the employee’s pension plan. Now remember, since Jay started more than 10 years ago, he has not been putting into Social Security. We have no Social Security benefits. We have a Pension. They want to go to a 401(a), not a 401(k). Having a pension to live on once you retire is the one thing that attracts firefighters and police to the job. They know after putting in their service, they will have a pension to live on for retirement.
3. The City Council has talked about taking away the employee’s death benefits. This is of great concern to me. Remember how the City rallied around our family when Trey was ill and after his death? I can’t imagine my husband being called to a City Council member’s house, falling through the roof, dying and I do not receive any death benefits. Well, you say, go out and get outside insurance. We can’t. Jay has a pre-existing condition – cancer. Many firefighters and police have pre-existing conditions, back problems, knees, shoulders, etc. that would make their premiums out of this world or impossible for them to gain insurance for their spouse to receive. These men and women pick up and handle 300 pound men and women as they pull them out of burning houses for a living. It reminds me of the Duck Dynasty episode recently where Jayce and the guys tried to be firemen for the day. Hummm….
4. I know so many are excited about the new projects going on around the City. But it doesn’t make sense that we are trying to build a “greenway” for bikers to New Orleans when we can’t take care of our City employees. There are many City projects that are either in the works or have failed. What about the Fairgrounds? Crosstown Building?
5. If you REALLY want to dig deep. Research the PILOT program. Payment in Lieu of Taxes. This is a program where large businesses are given tax breaks. It is a program that is offered to businesses to retain them in Memphis and Shelby County through incentives. One incentive is the tax benefit. Are you making up the difference to the City in taxes? Do you know how many millions of dollars have been saved by theses companies in 2013? $42 million. Okay, where’s that money?
Now…what if this was YOUR job? You would be praying for wisdom and our City leaders while supporting your co-workers. We need the support of our city. The elected leaders will continue to run the city as they see fit, line their pockets, put your public officers at risk, all with lower pay and benefits. They are tired of it and they are walking out. Is it right for our city streets to go unprotected? That is a call by the individual. But as it stands right now, if they put all these changes in place, you will have 65 year old men fighting fires because they can’t afford to retire and they will be dying on the job.
I know, be thankful for what we have. But if your losing it, why not fight for what you were promised?
8 thoughts on “Wisdom, Understanding and the #MFD~#MPD”
You r so right. You stated it well. We have a son who has been a firefighter for almost 20 years. All of this is so unnecessary and political. Poor management of the City’s money. I think it needs prayer along with action.
Hi Lisa. Thank you very much for this post. It is because of this that I now have an understanding of what is going on with this strike stuff. I have no idea how your husbands insurance policy works, but wouldn’t the Affordable Care Act be able to help him in some way if he lost it for some reason?
My understanding is that all of the retirees, widows (and children) and those disabled will NOT be eligible for Obamacare. This is due to the fact that the city is not technically taking away their insurance, but ONLY raising their premiums to 100% (ridiculously out of reach for most people). Obamacare has a stipulation that if you currently have insurance, or are eligible for insurance through another insurer (even if you have to pay 100%), then they are not required to offer you any plan.
I would just like to add one thing to what you’ve said. Retirees will have insurance ‘available’, they just won’t be able to afford it – the subsidy will be taken away. So if a retiree is paying $400 a month right now, that will increase to about $1,600. Many of their pension checks won’t cover that increase to their insurance. Just as you said, many/most have pre-existing conditions and would never qualify for anything that ‘might’ be cheaper. Many think gong through the government (Obamacare) will be less expensive, but that isn’t the case either. Again, in many instances, it is more expensive, although it is supposed to be the ‘affordable care’ act. I’m not sure what ‘affordable’ means to the government, but I believe it is very different than my definition. My husband is a firefighter with 31+ years on the job. I will be coming off his insurance, although I currently have insurance with my employer. However, when he retires next year, we’ll both have to find other means of coverage. I appreciate your explanation so that your followers can have a better understanding.
Very Well Said. I would love to make copies and take to everyone in Memphis.—- From: living the life of christ To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2014 2:05 PM Subject: [New post] Wisdom, Understanding and the #MFD~#MPD
livingthelifeofchrist posted: “If you are a reader in Memphis, you will know about the upheaval being caused with the City and the Memphis Police Dept. and the Memphis Fire Dept. Many lay people are looking for answers and understanding to what is exacting going on! I’ve seen some com”
Glad you are speaking out,I agree with all you stated. We owe these men what they were promised and what they have risked their lives for,our city is managed so poorly, prayers that someone will step up and help solve this terrible burden to so many families.
Very well stated. And when the 65 year old policeman shows up with the 65 year old firefighter/paramedic, please speak a bit louder as we can’t get our hearing aids wet. Our city needs prayer for wisdom for the Mayor and City Council. They don’t have very much of that right now.