Green Park letter to MFPD new low in local politics, Stonebraker says

The recent letter by Green Park Mayor Tony Konopka and four of the city’s aldermen to Mehlville Fire Protection District Chief Jim Silvernail marks a new low in local politics.

Green Park’s elected officials took it upon themselves to berate the fine people that serve us as fire fighters, paramedics, administrators and elected officials who have tirelessly labored to improve our emergency services. Mayor Konopka and company obviously concocted these actions to politically attack Mehlville FPD Chairman Aaron Hilmer’s proposal to offer fire and EMS services to the city of Crestwood on a contractual basis.

It amazes me that Green Park leaders did not bother to inquire into the truth of their misguided assumptions. Before Hilmer and Stegman’s election to the Mehlville FPD board in 2005, the Mueller Road firehouse in Green Park had no ambulance staffed and no paramedics. The district now has 48 paramedics total compared to 36 paramedics in 2004, eight ALS trucks compared to none in 2004 and 30 employees trained as both firefighters and paramedics compared to no cross-trained employees in 2004.

The same accusations of ambulance understaffing were made by Mehlville firefighters’ Local 1889 during the April 2007 Board of Directors’ election and appear verbatim on the union’s Web site.

Can we conclude that Green Park officials and members of Local 1889 colluded in this boneheaded scheme to discredit Mehlville FPD’s board and chief officers?

It sure looks like it to me.

The city of Green Park should immediately commission an investigation to probe the connections of all involved in this overtly political smear campaign launched against MFPD officials.

They then must issue a complete and truthful report to the public.

In the meantime, Mayor Konopka and the Board of Aldermen should issue a retraction of the conclusions stated in their Nov. 19 letter to Chief Silvernail and include a full apology to the members of the Mehlville Fire Protection District.

Jim Stonebraker


Editor’s note: Mr. Stonebraker served six years on the Lemay Fire Protection District Board of Directors.