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When will we wake up to what the Mattoon City Council is playing roulette with the lives of the citizens.

First of all, the council stopped the Mattoon Fire Department's ambulance service. They got some crony to come up with some figures saying that the ambulance service was losing money. The Mattoon Fire Department is supported by us, the taxpayers of Mattoon. The ambulances were bringing in $760,000 a year into the city treasury. Since when is the fire and police departments required to bring in money? This is supposed to be a service to the citizens.

Next we lost Dunn's Ambulance Service. Only Mitchell-Jerdan Ambulance is left. The city council just passed a six month moratorium on not allowing any other ambulance service to apply. There were times when all three ambulance services were functional, additional outside ambulances were needed to help with calls. With the elimination, you may or may not receive ambulance in time for a critical circumstance. With only one ambulance service now; have we reached the pay to play to get a license?

When will the mayor and council members start doing the job that they were elected to do? They hired a "city administrator" to do their job and are paying $118,000 plus 33 percent in benefits. If they are looking for cost cutting the annual budget, this position could and should be eliminated entirely. The city councils, prior, functioned very well because each council member did the job they were elected to.

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The city council appears to have a vendetta for the fire department. First eliminating the cities best ambulance service. Then they demoted the assistant fire chief to a shift captain. When the fire chief retired, the city council hired an already retired person as the new fire chief. That person is already receiving retirement pay from his previous employer. Why do we not promote from within when we already have a well-qualified person on the payroll.

I don't know about your thoughts regarding all of the above, but my thoughts -- Mattoon needs to eliminate the city administrator position and the entire city council at the next election.

Linda Dare, Mattoon

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