This just in from Adam Fogle with the strong-mayor campaign:
Columbia Firefighter’s Association backs Yes Vote on Strong Mayor
COLUMBIA, SC — The Columbia Firefighter’s Association announced on Tuesday that they are urging Columbia residents to vote yes for modern strong mayor form of government that will give the Mayor Columbia the authority needed to ensure public safety is a top priority.
Anthony Holloway, President of the Columbia Firefighters Association, explained his organization’s decision to back the strong mayor system:
Our city is at a crossroads and we have a tremendous decision to make today: change or more of the same. We know first hand that the present system is holding our first responders back. That’s why we hope Columbia voters will vote yes for a safer city and a more accountable government.
The fire service has been struggling with an attrition problem for years — a problem that is only getting worse. Despite the genuine efforts of many in the fire department and the city government, most days there are fire trucks that are under-staffed or taken out of service simply because we don’t have enough firefighters on staff.
The attrition issue and many other concerns facing our city’s firefighters could have been resolved by now if the mayor had the authority to act. But under the present system, important decisions often get deferred and no one is held responsible for the consequences. A strong mayor system would fix that.
Mayor Benjamin is standing up and saying “I will be responsible.” That is a bold move that we fully support.# # #
And so the firefighters join the Columbia Chapter of the Southern States Police Benevolence Association in favoring reform.