Tulsa Fire Supporters Attend Council Meeting

Thursday, June 18th 2009, 10:01 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Jeopardizing public safety was a top priority for those speaking out for the firefighters at Thursday's Tulsa City Council meeting.  Supporters agree that protecting the citizens of Tulsa is important.  But, the wives of some of the firefighters agree they also have other things to be concerned about if their husbands lose their jobs.

"It's insurance.  It's benefits, pretty much a paycheck. Especially with someone who stays home with the kids. It's just a one income family," said Beth McAlister, a firefighter's wife.

Beth McAlister came to Tulsa City Hall to support a firefighting husband and father who provides for his wife and two daughters.

"And, a 3rd one on the way in January so it's pretty important," said Beth McAlister.  "It was unexpected. Because they first said they were going to do 35 and then we get a call from the chief this morning saying it's going to be close to 100."

Families met outside Tulsa City Hall to support the firefighters. But, also to protest Councilor Bill Martinson's plan to boost the city's budget but cutting police and fire jobs.  The plan was outlined at the council meeting.

"If the city loses us, I mean there goes the city," said Beth McAlister.

"Firemen give up so much for the city as far as safety and they risk their lives," said Whitney Wehmeyer.

Whitney Wehmeyer is engaged to a firefighter and says if her fiancé loses his job, they would cut back. But, she is baffled that the city council is considering taking away the people who protect Tulsa's streets.

"I don't think it's right at all. I think there are plenty of other places that we could cut and give up and not sacrifice safety or the lives of the firefighters that we have," said Whitney Wehmeyer.

The McAlister Family also strongly believes the proposed quality of life items shouldn't come at the expense of their quality of life.

The city council voted to approve the budget without additional cuts which is good to news to Tulsa's firefighters and their families.