Police and Fire Chiefs Rally to Capitol - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Police and Fire Chiefs Rally to Capitol

Chief Kenneth Silva Chief Kenneth Silva
Chief Thomas Phillips Chief Thomas Phillips
Lori Kahikina-Moniz Lori Kahikina-Moniz
Honolulu Hale Honolulu Hale

By Kristine Uyeno

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Imagine waiting a long time for an ambulance to arrive, or not having your trash picked up in a timely manner.

Local officials say that's what could happen, if lawmakers pass a labor bill.

Police and fire chiefs from each county march to the State Capitol. They rally against a bill they say, could affect the health and safety of everyone.

"It could cripple our efforts and paralyze our operations," said Thomas Phillips, Maui County Police Chief.

They urge the Legislature not to override Governor Linda Lingle's veto on Bill 1642. It would overturn a 2005 Supreme Court decision that gave city officials authority to transfer employees to another baseyard. They say this bill wouldn't give them the flexibility to make those necessary staffing decisions.

"If personnel were allowed to negotiate each assignment and transfer, the efficiency and effectiveness of each transfer for the community could be seriously impaired," said Kenneth Silva, Honolulu Fire Chief.

If managers aren't allowed to move employees around, city officials say it could lead to municipal shortages. That means people may need to wait longer for emergency services.

And it's not just about emergency services. City officials believe this bill could affect your trash pickup and sewage system.

"Anything we do, just regular maintenance, responding to trouble calls, responding to spills," said Lori Kahikina-Moniz with the Collection System Maintenance Division.

The current law allows them to direct their staff and oversee operations. They say it's the best way to serve the people of Hawaii.

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