Video: Fire Department Defends Medical Call Stipends, Gene Tacy Responds

Here is a video excerpt (1 hour 33 minutes) from Northampton’s 9/16/10 City Council meeting. Fire Chief Brian Duggan and Deputy Chief Christopher Norris defend the stipends that paramedics receive for responding to medical calls. In the 8/19/10 meeting of Northampton’s Finance Committee (video), Ward 7 City Councilor Gene Tacy had criticized the stipends as excessive and unusual.

In the 9/16/10 council meeting, several councilors criticized Tacy for the manner in which he approached the stipend issue. They felt some of his language was disrespectful to the Fire Department.

This video is provided courtesy of Northampton Community Television. A Vimeo video of the entire 9/16/10 City Council meeting is available.

Here is a 5-minute YouTube excerpt from the above of a vigorous exchange between Gene Tacy and Ward 2 City Councilor Paul Spector.

See also:

MassLive: “Northampton City Council gets explanation of ambulance fund transfers” (9/19/10)

Gazette: “Northampton firefighters defend department; Tacy irks many with comments” (9/18/10)
Other councilors joined Spector in criticizing the way Tacy brought the subject of stipends up, repeatedly apologizing to Fire Department officials for having to take the time to put together an elaborate explanation and defend the stipend system that was agreed upon in a negotiated contract…

City Council President David J. Narkewicz said that while it’s appropriate to ask questions and scrutinize budgets, he said councilors should first take up their concerns with department heads to make sure they have correct facts. He called on Tacy to apologize.

“If I demoralized the department, I apologize,” said Tacy. “I will not apologize for scrutinizing the numbers.”

Gazette: “Refrigerator rap draws cold response from Northampton officials” (9/18/10)
…Tacy said he believes the Fire Department could have obtained a refrigerator of the same size for half the money and questioned the cost at a time when the city is financially strapped…

“I think it rises to the level of ridiculous, but we seem to be going there a lot lately,” said Ward 5 City Councilor David Murphy, chairman of the Public Safety Committee. “I’m glad he has that time to spend on that level of minutiae. We should pay attention to details, but pulling out a refrigerator from $70 million in activity seems inappropriate to me.”

Bucket Loader Documents; Parking Meter Receipts May Be Used for General Municipal Purposes (2/23/10)
[Northampton Media:] Ward 7 Councilor Eugene Tacy, Ward 3 Councilor Angela Plassmann, and Ward 6 Councilor Marianne LaBarge are openly opposing the appropriation, and have said that the bucket loader represents an unnecessary expenditure during tough economic times…