Support our fire crews: I’m Ord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes

HeadLine: SUPPORT OUR FIRE CREWS: I’m Ord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes
Benz

The Mirror, 23/11/2002, p6&7
by RON MOORE & SHAUN MILNE

FIRE boss Jeff Ord knocked back a Jaguar car as a perk when he was
appointed firemaster – and demanded a £47,000 top of the range Mercedes
instead.
The boss, dubbed “Fireman Bam”, then ordered a high-tech satellite
navigation computer to be installed in the car – because he couldn’t
find his way around Scotland.
Ord then had the gadget ripped out of the flash motor – paid for out of
his brigade’s budget – because he couldn’t work out how to use it.
Not satisfied with that the Strathclyde firemaster had the luxury
leather interior replaced because it was “too hard” to sit on,
according to colleagues last night.
And to complete his revamp of Scotland’s most expensive public company
car, he had the alloy wheels changed because he “didn’t like the look
of them,” senior fire service managers told the Mirror.
The controversial £120,000-a-year firemaster’s extravagant car demands
make an absolute mockery of his stance over the firefighters’ strike.
Ord has steadfastly refused to back his own employees’ demands for a 40
per cent pay rise, which would take their salary to £30,000.
Yet he happily pocketed a £22,000 rise for himself earlier this year.
The increase, awarded in two stages in April and August, takes his pay
well above the £96,000 recommended by the National Joint Council for
Principal Fire Officers.
The expensive modifications to Ord’s car – made at a cost running into
five figures – were paid for by Strathclyde Fire Board.
Taxpayers in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire,
Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde and Argyll & Bute fund the board’s budget.
Managers at Strathclyde Fire Brigade’s Hamilton headquarters last night
told the Mirror how Ord turned down the offer of a Jaguar and a BMW
before finally plumping for his public-funded Mercedes S-Class 320
CDI.
He took delivery of the stylish car in the spring and had the multiple
modifications made over the next few weeks by a specialist dealer.
A senior fire officer said: “He was a laughing stock when ordered the
SAT NAV for the Merc because he claimed he couldn’t find his way
around.
“But it was even funnier when he had it removed because he couldn’t
work it.
“This is the guy in charge of Britain’s second biggest fire brigade,
and he can’t operate a simple GPS mapping system.
“Even some middle-range motors come with it as standard.
“He also had the leather interior changed because was too hard. He
opted for a softer leather to be fitted.
“I suppose changing the alloys was just the icing on the cake.
“He loves his Merc so much that now he’s ‘feart’ to leave it out of his
sight.”
Another senior manager at the HQ added: “It would be funny if weren’t
taxpayers’ money.
“But this is certainly no joke when every firefighter in the country is
going without pay while they are on strike.”
Ord lived in Morpeth, Northumberland, before he moved north to a
£131,000 house in Biggar, Lanarkshire.
He sits on the Government’s COBRA crisis committee, a special emergency
planning and response unit which meets at Downing Street and advises
the Prime Minister.
He is also president of the Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers
Association, and helped compile an association report on the
firefighters’ pay claim earlier this year.
The report urged pay restraint at a time when Ord himself enjoying an
inflation-busting rise.
It stated: “We recognise that any pay claim must be considered in the
context of the existing budgetary constraints on fire authorities.”
Ord, nicknamed “Fireman Bam” by his own employees when he refused to
support their campaign for professional pay, came under renewed attack
last night for locking fire crews out of stations.
He was widely condemned after drafting in an army of security guards –
backed up by police – to throw firefighters out of stations.
Picketing fire crews were also prevented from accessing vital
life-saving gear as the first eight day strike got under way.
Ord also caused chaos during last week’s 48-hour stoppage when he
demanded ignition keys be stripped from fire appliances throughout the
Strathclyde region.
Last night Ord said he was disappointed at the breakdown in talks which
led to the strike.
He said: “The frustration and anger that firefighters are experiencing
at the moment is understandable and I most certainly feel for them and
their families, as well as the public who, once again, have lost their
professional fire service.
“I sincerely hope that the
Government can speak with the Fire Brigades Union as soon as possible
and reach a position whereby talks can recommence.”
“I urge the Government, Trade Unions and the Employers to try again in
order that the public receives the best service possible.””
Last night fire union bosses slated their firemaster for “deserting”
the firefighters’ campaign for professional pay.
John McDonald, FBU Executive member for Scotland, said: “Jeff Ord said
he would stand shoulder to shoulder with the firefighters in their
battle for professional pay.
“But his absence from the picket lines speaks louder than any of his
words.
“He should be urging the Government to settle this dispute now instead
of hiding behind meaningless language.
“Actions speak louder than words.”
Meanwhile, the Government yesterday pledged to track down and prosecute
anyone who makes hoax 999 calls during the next week of strike action.

**



Categories: Daily Mirror articles

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