Remarks made by a Chicago chaplain defending fire fighter pensions and compensation at a funeral last week has got the city buzzing.
Chicago fire department chaplain Thomas Mulcrone gave critics a sobering reminder of the dangerous work performed by public safety officers.
“In the last few months there have been some lawmakers, editorial board writers, pundits who have remarked that perhaps firefighters and paramedics and police officers make too much money and are overly compensated. I would challenge those people this morning to look at Ed's casket and to look on Corey's casket on Thursday and I would ask them, how much is too much? What price do you put on this sort of devotion? Shame on those who place the burden of a fiscal crisis or poor policy on the backs of these brave men and women," Mulcrone said to a crowd of over 1,000 mourners who gathered for Chicago fire fighter Edward Stringer’s funeral December 28.
Stringer, a 12-year veteran, was one of two fire fighters killed when a building collapsed just days before Christmas. Seventeen fire fighters were also injured in the blaze.
Critics have argued that Mulcrone’s remarks were inappropriate and unfairly mixed politics in a sacred setting.
In an appearance on Fox’s Chicago Now, John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute said the state’s pension system is going broke and needs to be reformed.
Illinois lawmakers have approved a plan that would increase the retirement age of fire fighters and set limits on cost of living raises for new employees. The governor has not signed the legislation yet.