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Retired FDNY Battalion Chief John Salka has basically been told to butt out of the affairs of Watertown, New York. Mayor Jeffrey Graham is a upset by Chief Salka’s February 1 blog post at Firehouse.com calling a decision by the Watertown City Council preventing firefighters from inspecting commercial buildings for fire hazards “insanity” and saying ”it’s a mistake”.
Let me tell you what else is insanity and a mistake. A mayor drawing this kind of attention to a columnist who pisses him off. Something tells me Mayor Graham making a big deal of this during a City Council meeting will soon bring out a lot of other fire service writers in support of John Salka and against the policy. Along the way he will bring a lot more eyeballs to John’s post.
And look, my prediction is already true! That STATter911.com guy is now writing about it and is providing a link. Boy, that was quick. I must be psychic or something.
The blog by the publication’s contributing editor irked the mayor so much he commented on it at Monday night’s City Council meeting. It bothered him because City Manager Sharon A. Addison has been trying to work things out behind the scenes on the turf battle between the Fire Department and the city Code Enforcement Office over the issue. It also comes at a time when she has been trying to calm the bad blood between the departments, the mayor said.
He wondered how Mr. Salka, an author who wrote the book “First In, Last Out — Leadership Lessons From the New York Fire Department,” would have gotten wind of the story about a city of Watertown issue. He surmised someone in the Fire Department may have tipped off the writer.
Watertown Mayor Jeffrey Graham from city website.
And Mayor Graham, if you are wondering how I found out about this issue, I will tell you up front my source is someone from Watertown, New York. Since you are so interested in who tipped off John Salka, I will take the unusual step of doing something reporters avoid doing at all cost and will name my source. Ready for it? Have a pen? Write this down. His name is Jeffrey Graham.
You see, Mayor Graham, I didn’t read my friend John’s post about your town and was totally unaware of it until I happened to spot your comments in your local paper while doing my ususal daily seach for news about firefighters.
If somehow I have your attention Mayor Graham, let me give you two suggestions. The first is that you and your City Council, instead of complaining, pay attention to the wise advice a man with John Salka’s experience in the fire service is willing to share with you. The second one is that you just might want to keep this column around as a reminder from someone with vast experience in the news business about how you shouldn’t react when you see a column that pisses you off. Just think of both these things as a bargain in the tight budget times we are in. They are yours free of charge.
It’s not often you get a bargain like this for your city. Use it wisely.
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