Viewpoint: Missoula fire union backs Mike Nugent for mayor
Missoula Firefighters Union IAFF Local 271 is dedicated to protecting the safety and well-being of all Missoula citizens. Firefighters don’t join the department because it’s easy. They do it because they have a passion for serving our community. And to provide the service Missoula deserves, Firefighters need the proper resources. That is why Missoula Firefighters Union IAFF Local 271 has endorsed Mike Nugent for mayor.
Mike has a firm grasp on what the Fire Department needs to keep the public safe. Mike understands that city growth, coupled with city policy, have burdened the Fire Department to a point where the department can no longer effectively manage operations. Mike recognizes that the Fire Department has been neglected due to city officials placing priorities in areas that are more in their face, exciting, or new.
The fact is, the Missoula Fire Department has not had an increase in operations personnel since 2008. Our call volume increased from 5,849 in 2008 to 10,436 in 2022, a 78% increase. Missoula’s rapid growth, especially to the west, necessitates the need for a 6th fire company and station. At the same time, Local 271 members are underpaid, a fact that is supported by the recent wage comparison study.
Mike understands the importance of a solid Fire and Police Department and the immediate needs Missoula Firefighters have. During his tenure on city council, he has engaged with the Police and Fire Departments, participating in ride-alongs on fire engines and police cars. Mike also fully supports and advocated for MFD’s Mobile Support Team, a service helping Missoulians which also helps Firefighters and Police officers in a changing environment.
Local 271 has confidence that Mike will put priorities back in a place that will allow MFD to re-establish itself as a department that can operate at a level our citizens expect and deserve. And we are confident that Mike will prioritize Fire and Police during the budget process, as our community faces a rising tax burden that must be addressed.
The members of Local 271 look forward to serving the city of Missoula alongside Mike Nugent starting in November.