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:
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.