News for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia
Bill Baird, age 86, of St. Cloud, Florida, formerly of Fairview; Employee of PRC-DeSoto
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Poll Results Released: Public Felt Firemen Were Wrong to hold Protest Demonstration during Memorial Event

The unofficial straw poll regarding the demonstration by the Gloucester City Career Firemen during the recent Heroes to Hero 5K memorial run ended on Sunday evening.

The 5k Run is a tribute to the memories of the three firemen (two volunteer and one career) who died on July 4, 2002 fighting a fire at Broadway and Mercer Street.  Fire Chief James Sylvester, Deputy Chief John West and Firefighter Thomas Stewart III perished in the fire along with three children. The girls -- Claudia, Colletta and Alexandra Slack -- also died

The unions for the career firefighters were demonstrating over a recent change in staffing made by Mayor and Council. The City said the change was necessary because the Fire Department as of August had used up this year’s overtime budget of $240,000 and had over expended that amount by $38,000. Firemen work 24 hours shifts. If someone is called in to replace a man who is out on sick leave the individual receives 24 hours of overtime pay.

An email sent out days before the event to rally members to turnout, read in part,

“The members of Gloucester City Firefighter's and Superior Fire Officers Association F.M.B.A.'s Local No. 51/251 have been fighting their city administration recently about the reduction of staffing. The city is moving in the direction of drastically reducing their staffing, solely to save money.”

The public was asked the following question: Were the Gloucester City career firefighters right or wrong to hold a protest rally during the Heroes to Hero 5K Memorial Run. 

A total of 215 people from all over the United States (e.g. Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, Florida, Arizona, Missouri, Connecticut, New York, Michigan, Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania) took time to cast a vote. The majority of the votes came from the immediate South Jersey area.

Also we received some 75 written comments on the subject. (see links below)

As for the unofficial straw poll, 35 percent or 75 people felt the Union firemen were Right to demonstrate, compared to 140 people or 65 percent who felt they were wrong.

Thank you to all for taking the time to vote and or to comment. We appreciate your input.-----------Bill Cleary

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