October 5, 2012

Mayor: 'Disappointed' at fire union tactics

Mayor Art Ward responds to allegations he clamped down on firefighters who sought to wear pink shirts in support of breast cancer research:

Response to the mistruths about Mayor Ward, Bristol Fire Fighters and the misinformed resident.    
Breast cancer has touched me personally; I have been making an annual donation towards breast cancer research since the passing of my mother many years ago.  I believe that charitable giving is a personal choice often influenced by one’s own experiences.  
The City has supported, and continues to support a number of charitable causes.  Causes that include the United Way, Muscular Dystrophy, the Burn Foundation and the Soap Box Derby.  For many years, general city employees have been allowed to use an hour of city time for mammogram screenings.  As of this writing, there are pink ribbons in recognition of breast cancer awareness outside of City Hall,much more visible to the public than the proposed wearing of pink shirts by firefighters in their fire stations. 
Unfortunately, I believe this is less about breast cancer and more about my relationship with the Fire Union.  This union has censured me at both the State Convention of the Uniformed Professional Firefighters Association and the International Association of Firefighters Convention due to the City’s decision to use excess pension funds to pay for retiree health insurance.  Although this decision has no impact whatsoever on active firefighters or retired firefighters, nevertheless, the Union has filed suit against the City on this issue.   
I am disappointed that the Union has chosen to use breast cancer to portray me as unsympathetic to this worthy cause.  I’ve encouraged the Fire Union to seek other ways to show their support for this effort and hope they do so wholeheartedly. 
I would also like to emphasize that if the writer of the news article had real concern about the issue, she would have contacted me personally, thereby eliminating the public from being exposed to these untruths.  
Mayor Art Ward

Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

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