Letter: Lou Gros Louis, Lansdowne

Editor:  Congratulations to the staff of Loudoun County’s finest hometown newspaper, Loudoun Now, for the comprehensive story of the men and women of our fire and rescue service being shortchanged by our Board of Supervisors while they continue to give away our tax dollars to national organizations whose CEOs earn millions, dole out our tax dollars to organizations who may or may not make any effort to raise funds, and even give our programmed tax dollars to influential communities who cancelled their annual fair because of a weather forecast.

As a former captain with a fire and rescue service with a disabled paramedic/firefighter daughter and son in-law both facing a lifetime of intense pain because of injuries suffered on the job, I was as mad as a hen in a barnyard full of roosters to learn that our supervisors, like Rip Van Winkle, just woke up to learn the men and women of our Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Service were being paid 20 percent less than their counterparts in surrounding counties. Why were they so surprised to learn that firefighters train in Loudoun County and then relocate to earn higher wages in surrounding departments?

As if this oversight of the pleas of Chief W. Keith Brower Jr. and the men and women of our treasured fire and rescue service wasn’t bad enough, our esteemed Board of Supervisors has implemented a new ambulance billing process that will be a cash cow for the county and a minimum sharing of the proceeds with our fire and rescue service. With eyes blinded by the potential new “easy money” for the county to hopefully use wisely the system implemented has been deemed so paper processing oriented and complex that many old folks like this writer will consider a taxi for a trip to the emergency room rather than be frustrated and harassed by the new ambulance service billing process.

The time is appropriate for our supervisors to stop debating national issues, giving away our tax dollars to undeserving recipients, and adhering to their campaign promises of truly representing the constituents of their districts on matters of importance to all taxpayers in Loudoun County. The time is appropriate for our supervisors to stop dragging their feet and implement a fair and equitable salary classification system for our fire and rescue service, provide an immediate 20 percent increase in wages to mirror all our surrounding counties in order to stop the loss of more Loudoun County trained men and women of the fire and rescue Service, and increase the current minimum share of the county’s new ambulance billing cash cow to ensure the continuation of the spirit of cooperation between the career staff and the valuable volunteer system.

Statistics document the fact that old folks, like this writer, are more likely to require the services of our fire and rescue service ambulance transport to local emergency rooms. Or Board of Supervisors should be aware that Loudoun County’s 40,000-plus old folks are deeply interested and support our fire and rescue service and we all vote. Therefore, how fast our board initiates positive action to resolve this issue will be of the utmost interest to all of us.

Lou Gros Louis, Lansdowne

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