To the editor:
Moving to Oakville in 1976 was rewarding, except for frequent tax-rate increases proposed by Mehlville Fire Protection District.
A Call investigation of the MFPD revealed previous boards quietly awarded excessive retirement bonuses and lucrative pensions.
One worker was granted permanent disability in a case in which his attorney contended his medical condition was irrelevant because the Pension Committee approved the employee’s claim for disability benefits.
In another case, a former MFPD employee receiving disability payments was photographed training in full turnout gear while working for a different department.
Previous boards also purchased facilities and equipment with borrowed money that increased the cost to taxpayers.
Then Aaron Hilmer and Bonnie Stegman were elected to the board in 2005, and Ed Ryan in 2007. They reorganized the district, rewrote policies, including the pension system, built new fire stations and purchased ambulances and fire trucks with funds accumulated in advance. All of this was done without taking on debt, and our tax rate was lowered 41 percent.
The March 7 issue of the Call reported that interlopers — who are making every attempt to remain anonymous — are pumping a lot of money into the April 2 election in an attempt to have their candidate elected who wants to return to the previous policies. No matter how much money is spent on this campaign, we taxpayers don’t want to return to the years of waste and poor management that was prevalent before Aaron, Bonnie and Ed.
The current board members are public servants dedicated to providing the best fire protection and emergency medical services in St. Louis County to MFPD taxpayers at the lowest tax rate.
What more could we ask? Let’s keep a good team together and re-elect Ed Ryan.
Donald W. Behrmann