During a packed Odessa City Council meeting where Odessa Fire & Rescue employees literally begged for their concerns of low wages and low moral to be addressed, Chief Alvarez stated “I’m telling you, to me it’s embarrassing. I have this entire department back here standing here begging for a raise here. You know, there’s different ways of doing things.”
If I were Chief Alvarez I would have been embarrassed too.
I would have been embarrassed that my team – the front-line firemen and women that protect our homes and businesses and respond to our 911 calls – found it necessary to take the extraordinary step of publicly begging to be heard.
I would have been embarrassed that I stood at the podium surrounded by disgruntled heroes and claimed that my department didn’t have a moral problem while trying to throw shade on Councilmembers Swanner and Matta for being willing to set down with OFR rank and file and hear their grievances.
I would have been embarrassed when Council Matta pointed out that almost one third of my department was present at the meeting but instead of supporting them I felt the need to throw my firehouse Captains under the bus by blaming them for any moral problems that might exist.
I would have been embarrassed that I was so tone deaf and out of touch with the needs of my folks to not have been at the podium offering full throated support for their calls for better working conditions and competitive wages.
I would have been embarrassed by being confronted with the lie that I had told my crews time and again that I had asked for raises but the City Council had refused them when in fact no such requests were ever made.
Yes, if I was Chief Alvarez I would have been embarrassed too.