Mr.DiCiccio,Mr.Gullet, Mr. Waring, My name is Sandy Novelli I’ve been a firefighter/paramedic for the Phoenix Fire Department for 28 years .I also did the same in Chicagoland for 5 years before being hired here in Phoenix. I wanted to be a member of the best fire system in the country….whether you think that or not,Mr.DiCiccio I must say you are a very smart politician by being so controversial. You are in the media constantly. It does not matter if your statements are true or part true . The fact that you are in the news all the time is getting you much notoriety and this obviously will help you further your political goals.Lately you have the media portraying a picture that firefighters are getting $700 recliners every year. You really know that these recliners last for many years. Also your story about giving that money to elderly and youth programs is not true because as you know from being a politician for years, if that money is not spent on city furnishings it would not go directly to the elderly and the youth programs, as you pretend to care for.…It would go to your city general fund ,to again be used for whatever you council folks think is most popular at the time. If you promise that the money used for recliners would absolutely go directly to youth and elderly programs I guarantee you that every firefighter in the city would not only think that was great ,but we would be happy to deliver the ones we are using now to potential buyers…as long as the money goes to these programs. While we are talking about money well spent. Maybe the one percent of the cost of each city building built that is used for some kind of artwork that you require can also be used for more important things. We have city buildings, even fire stations built that have tens of thousands of dollars of artwork that you folks at city hall require. Do you honestly think that any firefighter in their right mind cares for or even wants artwork at their fire station. Firefighters don’t give a CRAP about silly stuff like that… or recliners. That kind of thing is always decided by people like you Mr DiCiccio. That is why we have things like statues of naked people, big vases, and copper trees and so many other things all over the city that have costed tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars. As long as we’re talking about inaccurate statements..I definitely am not receiving $128,000 a year as you are telling the press. Last year I made about half of that, but because people like you don’t want to hire more firefighters I did have many opportunities to work overtime shifts.If you were to tell the truth you would mention that firefighters making figures such as that, are working their regular shifts along with many,many hours of teaching firefighting tactics, emergency medical and paramedic classes, safety driving classes, special operations rescue and hazardous chemical safety. So yes , those few people make more than most of us other firefighters , but in reality those people are actually doing two jobs. You can not just get anyone off the street to teach such things. Over the last three days,Mr DiCiccio, I myself have worked my 24 hour shift and 22 hours of overtime. During those hours, the 3 stations I worked at went on over 50 emergency calls. Cleaned the stations, the trucks, and checked out our emergency equipment During those calls we also had 3 hours of training on how to rescue someone such as a construction worker who is hurt 100 feet above street level. Minutes after that training ended we were dispatched to a 2 hour natural gas leak ,evacuated businesses, and helped secure the scene with the utility company, while wearing more than 50lbs. of equipment for more than an hour., also two mountain rescues lasting a couple hours. In only 45 hours, at only three stations ,in addition to what I just mentioned, over twenty people were transported to hospitals for things such as heart problems, pregnancy problems, car accidents, a fractured leg ,a suicide attempt, possible strokes and dehydration. Those days, like most days, we got blood on us (twice), got coughed on by sick people, had to walk in blood, feces, and urine, then clean ourselves to get ready for the next call. There were fires in the city that day , but not at the stations I worked during that time. As you may know Mr DiCiccio we work around the clock 365 days a year and like most nights during my 28 years of doing this job in Phoenix, we were responding to calls and / or taking people to hospitals. So when I finally had a chance to rest between 2:00 AM and 5:00AM one night and 4:00AM and 6:00 AM last night, guess what I did. Yes sir…..I got some sleep in your recliners. I’m not complaining about the requirements of my job, I love my job, but I was wondering , Mr.DiCiccio, what have you done over the last three days to deserve your paycheck from the city As I said I’ve been around a long time and often firefighters have nothing to do with decisions that are made for us. Years ago, the chief at the time, Chief Brunacini, did a great thing for the citizens of Phoenix by starting our own ambulance transport system because we were sometimes waiting almost an hour for private ambulance companies to arrive. Also, he did not want our citizens to be charged for a ride to the hospital. But after private ambulance companies met with the higher ups of the city and state, there was a fee. Some people still get mad at us for this. The fire department doesn’t get this money. As you know Mr DiCiccio that money goes into the city’s general fund. Again, firefighters don’t care about things like that or artwork in every city building or silly recliners. We just want to do our job and serve the city the best way we can. Mr DiCiccio, you have also been attacking our pension system. Yes, we do have a good retirement. It has been invested by and protected by many intelligent people., who in fact advised you folks that you were not investing safely during the years and you did not pay attention to their advice. It is not our fault that the city funds were not invested as they should have been. Nothing has been a secret. Everything is public record and in fact, since you’ve been a councilman for quite a while you know this and have never had an issue with it until now. But while you are telling some half truths please remember to tell our citizens that because we are in the Public Safety Pension System, we are not allowed to collect social security. Like most of us, I have met the requirements to receive $850 a month of social security from money that I put in over the years. Yet, I will not get any of this because we belong to the Public Safety Pension Plan. You and your friends have also been portraying our union as a bunch of “Thugs”. I must say ,that was a very clever tactic for you to sway peoples’ minds to vote for you and your cronies, especially because so many of our citizens,like me, are from the Midwest and back east where the various labor unions are a very different world. Over the years our fire union,along with great fire chiefs and some "caring" city leaders have battled with people like youto make our city and Valley,one of the safest fire/emergency medical areas in the world.
What you are portraying was a smart tactic for you and your friends…it was also very untrue and deceitful. If you,Mr.Waring, and Mr.Gullet get your way... I see us soon only having 2 or 3 people on a firetruck and eventually shutting down some stations temporarily. As I said Mr DiCiccio I was from Chicagoland and I know the good and the many evils of unions very well. I also left the Midwest because of the evil politics. There are two ways to be dishonest in politics. In the Midwest and back East the politicians just do things that are wrong. They are very bold and they just do what they want. The other way to be dishonest is to get the media to tell half truths and twist things in your favor. The facts don’t have to be true ….they just have to get to the media, just as you are doing. I actually think the politicians back east are less dangerous. P.S. If you really want to be a better councilman for your district, you should stop looking at things to make firefighters look bad and really be more alert to the fact that your district is one of the most difficult areas, geographically in the city, to keep a response time down. Are you even aware of this? It is not the busiest area…but it is one of the most difficult areas to respond in because of the mountains and the inaccessible areas If anything you should be wanting more fire engines and more ambulances in your district to make it safer.P.S.S Mr Gullet I just saw one of your deceitful TV commercials...you should be ashamed of yourself.You are a scary man for the future of Phoenix.P.S.S. Mr Waring, I had no idea who you were,but after watching the last city council meeting on TV... ...get a clue! Know the subject you are trying to argue about first ,that way other council people don't have to correct you repeatedly. You LOOK good on TV , but you sure did not know what you were talking about. Sandy Novelli
Sandy, Thank you for speaking out. The human stories like yours could fill a series of books. Certainly not the sound-bytes the TV media want to hear. The public needs to be made aware of the many sides of the issues, not just the usual talking heads who are afraid of the truth. Tired of the local and national TV media giving 24/7 coverage to a handful of politicos, lobbyists and special interests rather than real people who have real stories to tell. That's why the Occupy movement matters -- you are the 99%.