Jun 23, 2008

Philip Klein: Busted Again

On June 17th, Philip R. Klein wote in his article, The Fight Is On, on the Southeast Texas Political Review:

They have kept it very quiet from the media. But now they are ready to talk. And as one of the first media groups, being a blog, two members of the Port Arthur Fire Department are speaking with the Review.

The Fire Department and the City have reached an impasse according to the sources and it looks like their fight is headed to mediation. At stake? Two main issues - being money and a program called "boot strap" or as some in the fire department call "black strap."

The Port Arthur Firefighters Association responded with the following article on their website, which was published yesterday. Here's their statement in its entirety, although the bolded parts are mine (the title is a direct link to their original article):

Building Bridges Not Burning Them

Updated On: Jun 22, 2008 (14:15:00) 

On Tuesday June 17, 2008, a blog from the Southeast Texas Political Review website, written by Phillip Klein, was circulated around City Hall.  The blog alleged that two members of the Port Arthur Fire Department had come forward to speak on matters concerning the ongoing contract negotiations between Local 397 and the City.  The blog is completely unfounded, baseless, and without merit.

None of the information or statements in his blog is true or correct.  Local 397 and the City have not reached complete impasse, however a date for mediation has been set.  Neither side in the negotiation process has ever mentioned the implementation of a "Boot-Strap" program, nor has the City offered in any of its proposals anything less than four percent for wages.  Furthermore, the City Council has not provided any input into the negotiating process indicating an agenda that preferred the hiring of minorities over any other qualified individuals.

Port Arthur Professional Fire Fighters Local 397 and the City of Port Arthur are working together to achieve a complete contract with language that is acceptable to both parties.  Negotiations thus far have been positive and have contained constructive dialogue.  Local 397 is optimistic that a complete contractual agreement will be obtained prior to reaching complete impasse.

It is the position of Local 397 that Mr. Klein's blog is a complete fabrication.  No member of our organization would ever participate in such an irresponsible act as to offer such erroneous "insight" into the bargaining process.  Local 397 also rejects the tone and language used in Mr. Klein's blog and considers it sensational and inflammatory in nature.  This blog in no way represents the views or opinions of Local 397.

Only authorized statements or media releases provided by the principle officers of Local 397 represent the positions, viewpoints, or opinions of the Port Arthur Professional Fire Fighters Association.

Klein's blog, "The Fight Is On", is an egregious use of media charged with falsehoods that can only distract from the truth.  It is our hope that the irresponsible actions of this individual can be overlooked and that both parties in the bargaining process will continue to move forward.  

Chalk up another one to Philip's "anonymous sources." 

NOTE TO PHILIP: Has David Sheffield "refilled" those 27,000 cases in Hardin County, yet?

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