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Fire and rescue votes against resolution

December 20, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Members of the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association voted 12 to 10 Thursday night in opposition to the transfer of authority from the group to one person.

"This is not good for the county's volunteer firefighters," said Clear Spring Fire Department President Tom Altman, who introduced the motion on behalf of his company at the association's monthly meeting at South End Fire Hall.

The association will draft a letter to Washington County Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell stating opposition to the change in the power structure.

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The commissioners approved a resolution Nov. 19 giving Director of Emergency Services Joe Kroboth authority to make decisions regarding emergency services.

Fire and Rescue Association President Jason Baer, in a Nov. 25 letter to the county's 27 fire and rescue companies, said the county's action violated the association's trust and was an insult to emergency services volunteers. He urged the companies to oppose the decision, saying the county didn't seek feedback from the organization before it voted.

"We are already seeking legal direction on this matter," Baer said Thursday night. "I want to be sure we know what we are talking about before we send a letter to the commissioners."

Voting yes to an immediate letter of opposition were Williamsport Fire and Ambulance, Clear Spring Fire and Ambulance, Junior Fire Co., South Hagerstown Fire Co., Western Enterprise Fire Co., Hancock Fire and Ambulance, Leitersburg, Potomac Valley and Smithsburg Fire Co.

Voting no were Boonsboro Fire and Ambulance, Funkstown, Antietam, Pioneer Hook and Ladder, Halfway, Maugansville, Mt. Aetna, Sharpsburg Ambulance and Long Meadow.

Fairplay and First Hose abstained.

"I am in opposition to this motion," Long Meadow Fire Chief John Latimer said Thursday night. "We need more information before we go to the trenches on this; it's too important an issue."

Blaine Snyder said he was concerned the issue was rushed through by the outgoing commissioners.

Kroboth was in attendance at the meeting but made no statement.

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