Where or where has the fire district gone?
It was with great disappointment that I read both newspaper and social media accounts of the ongoing problems within the fire district.
The district was once the envy and a shining example of what a “team” of dedicated volunteers could obtain. It is apparent that currently disdain, distrust and dysfunction have replaced respect, responsibility and accountability.
For the past 20 years, this board took the road of exclusion, micro-management and piety to new levels at the expense of the members, employees and the public. It is time to stop the nonsense. It is to the point that their actions could endanger the public.
With over 20 years of past experience with this fire district to regain control of the District’s spiraling financial and operational situations, I would offer the following recommendations:
• Sell the district office inside city limits and move the administration and staff back to a fire house where you have daily contact with your personnel. The physical separation is indicative of the division in your organization;
• Stop the practice of part-time firefighters and invest in employees — volunteer or career — who develop a loyalty to their community and the agency;
• Return meetings to a time when maximum participation can be achieved, not less; the “interference” by your constituents is part of the job. Knock off the over-abundance of executive sessions. This is just your excuse to talk outside the public’s eye, and it has been going on for too long;
• Suspend the practice of limiting public comment at the start of meetings and encourage active dialogue during the topics at hand;
• Realize it’s not the buildings, trucks, cars or dollars that make you who you are, it is the people. Put them at the top of the list and make them the priority, and;
• Get back to the table and develop and cultivate partnerships that benefit the community not you or your agency.
Yes, being a public official is a thankless job, but if they can’t put personal agendas, pride, grudges and ideology aside, then do what is best for the district and step aside.
Leadership is needed and it is needed now.