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Demand to question fire chief

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 28, 2012

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SWANSEA councillors concerned about changes and cuts to the fire service want to call the chief in for questioning.

Speaking at November's full council meeting, leader David Phillips said members wanted to know whether the people of Swansea were getting the cover they deserved.

"I do not want to raise alarm, but there are legitimate concerns about the manning of fire stations," he said.

"We have a right to question — we want people to get an adequate service commensurate with what they are paying.

"I want to ask the chief fire officer (Richard Smith) to come here to tell us what future manning levels will be in Swansea, and possible the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and we can have a sensible, informed debate about how issues affect Swansea."

The fire service came into question after opposition members asked what action Swansea Council's representatives on the Mid and West Wales Fire Authority "were taking in order to ensure that provision of services in Swansea was no less robust than in other areas".

In his response Mr Phillips said its representatives shared concerns and were constantly seeking to ensure that Swansea and its people received the proper level of resources in both prevention and reaction to fire.

He said Swansea's representatives have had meetings with FBU officers to gain a "wider understanding of the issues". Mr Phillips also said he had met with representatives.

Mr Phillips said he would provide an update at the next council meeting on the outcomes from two recent meetings.

There were also renewed calls at the meeting for retired fireman and now Clydach councillor Gordon Walker to be elected to the fire authority.

Opposition members say Mr Walker, an Independent councillor, had expertise which would be ideal to sit on the authority.

However, Mr Phillips said he was pleased with the work the members were doing at the authority.

"I'm very impressed by the knowledge and integrity of our representatives," he said.

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  • Jiffy  |  November 30 2012, 9:11AM

    The fire service is suffering from empire building. How many deputies & assistants does it need? There has been a cut in the number of firemen, but how many white collar (& white helmets) have been cut? Why don't all the fire services in the UK pool their knowledge of appliances and buy them from one manufacturer who knows what they are doing? Appliances are a long term investment. If one fails in it's first year, it's never going to last the 20 odd required. Who was the idiot who decided to buy bread vans to use as fire engines? The same vehicles were failures as buses in Swansea 20 years ago - they're no better now. Still gutless and struggle to get up hills when carrying any weight.

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  • The_truth  |  November 30 2012, 8:38AM

    Jiffy- whilst I agree with your comment on the haves and have nots, that certainly doesn't make it Ok! Especially when the service is being run so incompetently, and is being run by bullies and brown noses interested only in self gratification and bonuses, and not service delivery! And you only need to read articles published in this paper over the last month to evidence this. Surely a better option for remuneration that maybe the fire authority should look at is paying these "managers" as they like to call themselves, per head of population, or better still pay them on a scale relative to the number off times fire engines are available! Which is ultimately what us the tax paying public pay them to do! Not provide themselves with big pay rises, bonuses, and flash cars! All at our expense!

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  • Jiffy  |  November 29 2012, 9:50PM

    What's with this constant push to get Gordon Walker back on the fire authority? He was a member when all the decisions/mistakes were made, like buying the expensive and rubbish appliance that has spent 99% of its time up on bricks. As for the chief fire officer and his mates getting huge increases in their wages - isn't that pretty much what we've come to expect from a government that is dividing the country into haves and have nots.

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  • FrankDoberman  |  November 29 2012, 8:52PM

    What cuts to the fire service in Swansea? None. More nonsense.

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  • The_truth  |  November 28 2012, 11:23PM

    And about time too! Whilst their at it ask him why does it show on maww fire services statement of accounts 2011-2012 (see link) http://tinyurl.com/c2ba9qn which is freely available on their website page 72 which shows the cheif, deputy, and assistant cheif officers, had pay rises that year totalling £100,000 above what they were paid the year previous, when I and all my fellow council tax payers thought that the public sector were on a pay freeze!! All that money while they appear to be continually making these monumentous c#ck ups so excellently reported by this paper!

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