It’s indisputable — future of MFPD extremely bright

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“Call the Tune” by Mike Anthony
Executive Editor
news1@callnewspapers.com

Mike Anthony

Oftentimes it’s difficult to embrace change.
It’s indisputable that the Mehlville Fire Protection District is a much different place — and much better place — than it was over 12 years ago. It’s certainly no secret that not everyone’s pleased with the changes that have occurred since Aaron Hilmer and Bonnie Stegman were elected to the Board of Directors in April 2005.
But voters consistently have re-elected Hilmer, who serves as board chairman, and Stegman, who serves as board treasurer, along with board Treasurer Ed Ryan, who first was elected in 2007.
It’s also no secret the Board of Directors and the leadership of the district’s firefighters’ union have had an acrimonious relationship for over 12 years. At one point years ago, union leadership had filed roughly 25 lawsuits, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints and other actions against the board and the district.
But Mehlville Local 1889 of the International Association of Fire Fighters no longer exists, having merged with IAFF Local 2665 in the fall of 2011. Past leaders of Mehlville Local 2665 are no longer in the picture, but we believe there was a real disconnect between them and the vast majority of the district’s hard-working, professional employees.
Flanked by roughly 30 district employees, Capt. Ty Cardona, newly elected shop steward/president of Mehlville Local 2665, pledged last week that the firefighters’ union will work with the Board of Directors and the administration.
The union wants to build “a great relationship” with the board and the administration, he said, later noting, “We look forward to our future together.”
Hilmer said at the Nov. 1 meeting that the past is the past.
“… I don’t think about the past. I think the one thing we should agree on is that there are people out there who are only interested in dredging up the past, and they’re not good for this district,” he said. “They’re not good for you guys. They’re not good for the community we live in, and I think we should leave them where they’re at, and that’s in the past and behind …”
We agree with Hilmer that the past is past.
Let’s look ahead to the bright future of the Mehlville Fire Protection District, as employees, the board and the administration work together for the benefit of the district and the entire community.