I have recently read the article, Sears Questions Miceli's Voting Record, which was posted on your site September 21st. I must say that I was very disturbed by Mr. Sears’ comments and feel that, although 12 days later, they need to be addressed.
First off, Mr. Sears’ comment, “Tewksbury firefighters receive 365 day year pay for working 90 to 95 days a year”, is very misleading. Our firefighters work 12-hour day shifts and 12-hour night shifts, and most of the time they’re back-to-back to form a 24-hour shift. They work this nationally-recognized schedule twice a week which averages out to 42 hours weekly. So the fire fighters annual schedule is accurately described as working 180 to 184 twelve-hour shifts, as opposed to the traditional 40-hour workweek which amounts to 260 eight-hour shifts.
Mr. Sears refers to Representative Miceli as, ”Playing Santa Clause with (taxpayers’) money…” Our firefighters are dedicated, hard-working individuals who provide a high-level of fire protection and medical service to the people of Tewksbury. They are much more like people in the private sector than the picture Mr. Sears paints. They are your friends, relatives, and neighbors who, like you, have to absorb rising costs for things such as taxes, food, fuel, health care expenses, etc. all the while not having seen a raise in close to 4 years. They risk injury or worse to the dangers associated with firefighting and are repeatedly exposed to potentially fatal diseases in dealing with the sick or injured. They statistically have higher incidents of many cancers, not to mention the fact that the life expectancy of a firefighter is 8 to 10 years shorter than that of the average male. Yes, they did chose this profession and there are other areas, such as job security, where they are better off than the general public. But it’s far from a “Santa Clause” situation.
I cannot speak for the union, but Mr. Sears’ incendiary remarks and confrontational style, past and present, in dealing with or creating fire department issues, has had nothing but a negative effect on the relationship between the two parties. And despite the palpable distain Mr. Sears holds for the Tewksbury firefighters, they continue to do their very best to provide an exceptional service to the people of this community.
Captain Michael Callahan