Fire department promotions, birth control funding addressed by S - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Fire department promotions, birth control funding addressed by Shelby Co. Commission

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Leaders claim promotions within Shelby County Fire Department would help keep people safe by keeping the department from being short staffed. Leaders claim promotions within Shelby County Fire Department would help keep people safe by keeping the department from being short staffed.
Shelby County women are caught in the middle of a political fight over who receives federal funding to provide birth control and other health services. Shelby County women are caught in the middle of a political fight over who receives federal funding to provide birth control and other health services.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – Shelby County Commission addressed a few hot button items in its meeting Wednesday. Shelby County Fire Department promotions was one of those items discussed, as well as federally funded birth control.

Fire department promotions

Leaders claim promotions within Shelby County Fire Department would help keep people safe by keeping the department from being short staffed.

The Shelby County fire chief told Action News 5 his department has not given a significant number of promotions in two years, but he is working to change that.

For Shelby County residents, it is about peace of mind. But for firefighters, it is about promoting the right people to the right jobs.

"Best way with the best individuals to fill these holes so that the department can get on with business," said Shelby Co. Fire Chief Dale Burress.

Fire officials say they are working with a promotion list from 2010. The lists are usually only good for two years.

Now, fire administration and union leaders are working together to revamp the entire process.

"I do think the system needs to be scratched and start over with a new promotions system," added Shelby County Firefighters Association President Danny Young.

Chief Dale Burress says he is supposed to have six battalion chiefs, but three of those recently retired and now there are holes and inconsistencies in department management.

Burress says an outside firm has been hired to oversee the promotion and hiring process. He says the bottom line is getting the best firefighters to fill the jobs that best suit them.

The resolution concerning these promotions was dropped in county commission committee Wednesday. Commissioners said they would rather the issue be worked out between fire administration and the union.

Birth control funding

Shelby County women are caught in the middle of a political fight over who receives federal funding to provide birth control and other health services.

The debate comes after Shelby County democratic mayoral candidate Deidre Malone called out Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy for pulling funding from Planned Parenthood and giving it to Christ Community Health Services, then going back on that decision.

Title X funds are federal dollars used for family planning and birth control.

Now, some Shelby County commissioners want that money to be distributed from a different source because they say the plan in place is not working.

Shelby County is Tennessee's largest recipient of Title X funding from the federal government. The funding is used for reproductive health services, like birth control.

But, some county commissioners say those hundreds of thousands of dollars are not being well spent.

"I am up in arms and this is a policy making body and we should be concerned about the entity we're sending tax payer dollars to spend," said Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks.

In 2012, county commissioners took the Title X contract away from Planned Parenthood and awarded it to Christ Community Health Services.

County Commissioner Steve Mulroy voted in favor of the deal, but told Action News 5 he wanted Christ Community to be closely monitored.

Now, he says CCHS has not fulfilled its end of the deal.

"Two years is enough. This was a failed experiment and I think its time to review the contract," said Commissioner Mulroy.

Commissioner Mulroy says in the first year of the contract, Christ Community returned more than half of the federal dollars, which means people did not go to them for the services.

Mulroy says it is not necessarily about dollars spent but instead, services rendered, or not rendered in this case.

"They said yeah, the numbers are down and we're concerned about it...but hopefully, they'll go up because it was a transition year. So we've give it another year and the numbers haven't come back up," added Mulroy.

Late Wednesday afternoon, commissioners voted to open the contract up for bids again this year.

The commission will take a final vote Monday afternoon.

No one from Christ Community Health Services attended the county commission meeting to speak on this issue.

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