Downs Fire last night

See this story too:  https://blnnews.com/2018/04/10/downs-fire-another-side-to-the-story/

By:  Diane Benjamin

Two of the three Trustees attended the meeting.  The chairman decided not to show up – Mark Casada.  Candidates for open positions were allowed to make their case and answer a few questions.  At least one candidate didn’t attend, his application letter was read by one of the trustees.  I did not stay for the entire meeting.

No one tried to stop the meeting from happening.

Here’s the biggest problem now:

Lawyers!

I have filed numerous FOIA requests in an attempt to determine what is going on.  As is the case in many small towns, lawyers have convinced them that all FOIA requests must be sent by them after review.  It is completely unnecessary since documents belong to the people not government.  The list of what can be redacted is easy to understand in the FOIA law.  A lawyer is not needed especially at $150 per hour or more.

The Downs Fire attorney attempted to make me wait 21 days for my first FOIA which is unacceptable for any FOIA.  Yesterday I received an email from the attorney questioning whether the files could be emailed or if a disk in the mail would be better.  Mail would further delay when I receive the FOIA.  Meanwhile, his bill keeps getting higher.  I was promised the first FOIA tomorrow.

John McIntrye didn’t answer my first email or respond to yesterday’s story when I email a copy to him.   All facts are not available and won’t be anytime soon because a lawyer needs to rack up billable hours.   So far I only have one side of the story.

The Fire Department is now operating with an interim Chief and Assistant Chief.  The Board meeting to appoint permanent employees is supposed to be next week.  Since one trustee did not attend last night, I don’t know if that is going to happen.  Meanwhile, the deadline was yesterday according to the law for John McIntyre to appoint trustees to fill empty seats.

There are no empty seats since neither of the two board members who attended last night have resigned.  One Trustee’s term expired last year but she wasn’t notified and no attempt to replace her happened until this controversy.

The whole situation is very sad because these people are charged with saving lives and protecting property.  Until all the FOIA requests are received I won’t know all the details.  Secret meetings between Mark Casada and John McIntrye aren’t helping.

If everyone associated with the fire department and EMT’s can’t act like adults and work out problems themselves, maybe they should all meet in a room a take a vote – winner takes all.  Whichever side has the most support keeps their jobs, if the losers can’t handle defeat they should quit.  Many or these positions are volunteer.

It’s completely ridiculous that I have to wait for the email from McIntrye to Casada about the meeting last night.  Casada then emailed the other two trustees canceling the meeting.  Just those two emails would reveal a lot, but they are sitting on a lawyers desk instead of mine.

The Board should also look at expanding to 5 members so two can’t completely control personnel and operations issues.

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7 thoughts on “Downs Fire last night

  1. I’m not saying who is wrong or right here, but having lived in smaller towns or close to them most of my life and having served on a Township Board and a few other taxing type boards, these small towns are expected to do most everything a very large city does. Most people that are on these Boards do so as a Public Service to the community that they live in. These smaller city’s only have a very limited amount of money that they can work with. Some do not have sewers and still use septic systems. These Board members are told by their Township lawyers to have them go over most everything. Why? Because the Township is not ran by any full time Board Members or Manager, and are not proficient in dealing with FOIA. Oh yes you can pound on a keyboard and carry on, but at the end of the day, the best people available to run a Township will not run again and lesser qualified people will run, creating even more problems, most likely.

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      1. While you certainly have every right to your own opinion, but it is valued the same as what you charged for it.

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    1. Big towns, little towns, not knowing and/or not following the law is unacceptable. Government at all levels are increasingly not following the laws so why should anyone else? Without the rule of law our futures looks bleak.

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      1. These small towns are open to new suggested ways to raise income to afford to have a permanent manager. Someone that has a more rounded knowledge of day to day laws and how to abide by them. Right now, on a small town counsel, you may very well have high school grads along with some college grads. Most have never managed anything bigger than their own budgets. And a lot of them were born and raised there and are following in a parents foot steps. But alas you’re right, lets run them out of town and bring in REAL politicians.

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  2. One universal truth here – LAWYERS are a problem – the preponderance of lawyers in politics is a problem on every level. They mostly impede and line their pockets. One is their “job” and the other their desire. There are also WAY too many lawyers who enter politics where they continue to do the same, impede and line their pockets.

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