Could it be that the “spectacle” besetting the Osage Beach Fire Protection District is only a numbers game?
Fire board treasurer Jim Schneider had me singing a song this week, specifically that basso line from the Coaster 1959’s hit “Charlie Brown” that asks “Why’s everybody always picking on me?”
Schneider bemoans the fuss still following him around from the abrupt firing, discrediting and eventual rehiring of the fire chief while pointing an accusatory finger at the people he claims are making a spectacle of the district.
Perhaps a patron of the tax district could buy him a hand-held mirror so he can gain a glimpse of what’s causing the problems besetting the Osage Beach Fire Protection District. He’s far from the president, but in this case, the buck stops at his desk as the board’s treasurer.
It appears he wants the power of controlling the district’s 2.5 million-dollar purse strings, but none of the attention.
As one example, Schneider said in an e-mail to us this week he thinks the majority of the district’s employees are dedicated.
We challenge him to point a finger at a firefighter willing to run into a burning building to pull him out to safety who is NOT DEDICATED. Jim, they don’t do it for the paychecks, not even when the paychecks are union scale.
I’d also like to take the opportunity to point out it is not his duty nor his responsibility to bust unions and – speaking as someone who grew up in a non-union household – challenge him to tell us why, if that is his intent, he did not campaign for his board seat on that platform.
Schneider’s antics have turned the department into a spectacle and the responsibility for that is squarely on his shoulders.
Perhaps his shoulders are big enough to bear the weight of a recall initiative, perhaps not, but one thing appears certain – the recall is not going to go away no matter how much he wishes upon a star.
Schneider did correctly point out this week that he is only one vote on a three-member board.
The real root of this spectacle may lie in that number – there are only three board members looking after the interests of a fire district that has grown exponentially over the years since it was formed. The number of district residents, the geographical base and the tax dollars generated by support levy have all grown tremendously.
Late last year we saw that one board member had had all he could stomach of Schneider’s ‘leadership’ and resigned, leaving only a would-be bean counter with visions of grandeur and another board member concerned with quashing photographic opportunities of public news events.
Perhaps the time has arrived for district residents to examine the possibilities of expanding the number of board members to more accurately reflect the population base.
I’ll be down at the store that sells stuff for a dollar looking for reflective devices, so e-mail comments to david.schiefelbein