Firefighters training

It’s unfortunate that Mayor Jerry Weiers continues to misrepresent himself as a supporter of the city’s firefighters and police officers. The truth is, the mayor has failed Glendale residents and first responders. And his constant distortion of the facts requires that the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, which represents every Glendale firefighter and more than 9,000 firefighters statewide—sets the record straight.

In an April 30 Glendale Star story, Weiers blamed the vehement opposition displayed by the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police in its recent non-endorsement letter and by Arizona’s firefighters on—and I quote—“the decision by myself and the majority of council made to put resource officers in our schools to protect students.”

There’s a word for an accusation like that: ridiculous.

The FOP made it very clear why they no longer support Weiers after endorsing him for reelection in 2016.

As for firefighters, our reasons for opposing Mayor Weiers have zero to do with school resource officers. Rather, it has to do with the mayor’s shameful efforts to make it harder to protect the residents of Glendale by consistently shortchanging public safety and the Glendale Fire Department. 

Since Weiers began his Reign of Error in 2012, Glendale residents have dialed 911 for emergency services from firefighters almost 20% more often than in years previous. Despite this massive spike in 911 calls—and multiple requests, including two by the mayor himself—the city and Weiers have still failed to put into service a single additional Advanced Life Support unit.

Despite this glaring need for more resources, Weiers still voted “yes” last week on a measure to forgive a more than $1 million debt owed to Glendale by a billion-dollar company. That amount alone could fund the ALS unit Glendale desperately needs for the next year.

When front-line firefighters were denied a pay raise called for in their contract with the city, the mayor had the opportunity to stand up for what was right. Instead, he sat idly by and watched the city spend thousands of dollars to lose at arbitration and in not one but two court cases. Even after these losses, Weiers voted to give firefighters only half the raise they were due. 

Of course, being Jerry Weiers, he didn’t stop there. Weeks later, the mayor called a special council meeting while three members were out of town and voted for a 42% pay raise—for himself. 

Thankfully, voters saw through his blatant money grab. The raise lost at the polls in a landslide, with 74% voting no. Just this week, the city was forced to pay the bill of over $200,000 for his misguided attempt at a pay raise.

When a Glendale firefighter was diagnosed with a potentially fatal cancer that will require life-long treatment, the city’s worker’s compensation insurance company denied the coverage required by Arizona law. Again, Mayor Weiers had a chance to be a leader and do the right thing for this first responder and his family. Instead, Weiers crumbled. For months, he claimed he didn’t have the ability to override the insurance company’s decision. Even after he was informed he in fact had the ability to call a special vote to reverse the decision, Weiers chose to do nothing. 

It took overpowering public pressure and an onslaught of negative news coverage to finally force Mayor Weiers to hold a vote to overturn the illegal decision.

Recently, Weiers’ reelection campaign manager pointed out that our organization endorsed him in 2012 and made the claim that public safety still supports him.

Let me abundantly clear: No public safety organization in Arizona anywhere supports Jerry Weiers. The only support firefighters will offer him will come on the day after the election, when we will gladly help him pack up his boxes and move out of City Hall.