LETTER: Penticton fire chief deserves more

The current Penticton mayor, council and staff have me in a quandary as to their competence after bungling many high profile issues lately.

The current Penticton mayor, council and staff have me in a quandary as to their competence after bungling many high profile issues lately.

Such as, allowing private interest to take over park lands (Skaha Park)to use as they wish. The botched deal to entice the casino away from the Lakeside Resort and the deal they have made to give the Penticton Indian band 10 per cent of the city’s grant revenues from the casino to keep it on city land. Then there was the fiasco to try and claw back retroactive wages from the firefighters. All which have cost them untold dollars in legal/court fees.

Now this government and staff are besmirching the good name of a 35-year civil servant who they trusted to be a department head and the fire chief for the last decade. Not only was Wayne Williams wrongfully dismissed, but it was done while he was off work on a lawful disability claim with WorkSafe BC. As if being let go was not enough, the city, to date, has not compensated Chief Williams for accumulated vacation time or other monies owed under his contract. Also, as his salary is tied to the firefighter contract he is also due retroactive pay dating back to 2010. Fire/Rescue is a noble profession requiring a great number of skills.

Firefighters see and experience many things on a daily basis. Keep in mind, that when most people are fleeing a situation, it is the firefighters that are running in to help. If you know any firefighters — and I know a lot — they will tell you that there are one or two calls that they have attended that stay with them forever. Some of these events can become overwhelming. Ask any firefighter about their job and they will say they love it but it is a young person’s profession. It requires physical fitness and stamina which is why they are required to retire by age 60 or sooner. When it comes to the chief’s position, as their job is seen to be more administrative, Wayne could have continued for seven or eight more years to age 65. For the city to dismiss him is unacceptable, to do it and not fulfill their financial obligations and do it while he was on disability should be illegal.

The  city should be throwing a parade for this man instead of trying to ruin the life a long-serving and dedicated civil servant because of financial mismanagement of this council and staff. They should be ashamed of themselves and let Wayne Williams retire in peace with the entitlements he so righteously deserves. Thank you Wayne for your years of service, most cities could only be so lucky!

Wendy and Randy Lane

Okanagan Falls

 

 

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