By: Diane Benjamin
Below are awards given to members of the Downs Fire Department by fellow members. They are mounted to the wall inside the station to the left. These awards should prove that nepotism accusations aren’t true and any promotions have nothing to do with Travis Misch and John Bettisch being sons of Board members. Travis was named Officer of the Year three times and Firefighter of the Year once. John was EMT of the Year twice. Both earned the respect of the people they serve with. Board members do not vote. Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.
Now see the letter sign by 10 of the 13 department employees (not in leadership) stating they don’t want the fired Fire Chief re-hired:
Back up almost a year. Mark Casada and Ed Belcher controlled the Board. Janice Bettisch was appointed when Chuck West quit. When Belcher quit and Jeff Misch was appointed, Casada was suddenly outvoted. Casada then complained to John McIntyre who failed to talk to all sides.
An attempt was made last fall to increase the Board size from 3-5. It was purely to stop Bettisch and Misch from controlling the Board.
Another Firefighter, Jeff Clarkson, wrote a long email to McIntyre which cemented John’s opinion of Bettisch and Misch: Clarkson email attachment
Contrary to Clarkson’s claims that everything was fine until Misch was appointed, the video of the last meeting proves it wasn’t. (https://blnnews.com/2018/04/20/downs-fire-the-video/) The people doing the work felt their opinions were not being heard.
In December Mike Manint was put on paid administrative leave by Board vote with Bettisch and Misch voting against Casada.
Manint was fired in February. See this email from Casada to McIntyre:
They didn’t make a hasty decision. The email also sounds like the sexual harassment claims were taken care of.
Shortly after, Casada started scheming with McIntyre to replace at least Bettisch on the Board. McIntyre met with Misch and asked him to resign. Misch refused.
Janice Bettisch did apply to be re-appointed to the Board. She was evidently ignored. Mark Casada suggested a handful of people, McIntyre chose one of them.
Nothing has been solved. The lawsuit by Manint is still pending. No permanent appointments have been made to Fire Chief or Assistant. Head EMT is open too.
At the last meeting Mark Casada claimed McIntyre’s email about re-hiring Manint by May was taken out of context. Below is the closet I have to context:
How this ends is anybody’s guess.