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Fire and rescue association elects officers, debates funding split

November 17, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

LEITERSBURG — Before electing new officers Thursday, the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association debated whether to hold onto money for a training center or divide it among the member companies.

The issue was tabled and is expected to come back for further discussion in January.

The election started first. Representatives from 25 fire and rescue companies picked up ballots and circled their choices for this year's election.

Later, the results were announced:

  • Dale Hill, with 19 votes, was elected president. Steve Heefner had six votes.
  • Bob Moncrief, with 12 votes, was elected first vice president. Greg Yost had 10 votes and Clarence Webber had two votes.
  • James Sprecher, with 15 votes, was elected second vice president. Harry Gossard had eight votes and Charles Elgin had one vote.
  • Harold Semler, with 23 votes, was elected secretary, unopposed.
  • Jamie Barkdoll, with 23 votes, was elected assistant secretary, unopposed.
  • Rick Blair, with 13 votes, was re-elected treasurer. Will Ball had 12 votes.
  • Rick Hemphill, with 23 votes, was re-elected assistant treasurer, unopposed.
  • Leonard E. Horst, with 23 votes, was re-elected chaplain, unopposed.

In between the vote and the announcement of results, a letter from the First Hagerstown Hose Company was read aloud.

In the letter, Ray Lushbaugh, secretary for First Hose, asked that $270,000 the association would have used toward the construction of a training center instead be split among 27 member companies in the association, giving them $10,000 apiece.

A plan to build a local police, fire and emergency medical training center on the Hagerstown Community College campus is being considered.

Lushbaugh's letter also called for an immediate audit of the fire and rescue association and that it not be done by Albright Crumbacker Moul & Itell, a Hagerstown certified public accounting firm.

A few who spoke Thursday in favor of dividing the $270,000 said the county government has told the association not to worry about paying for the training center.

There was no consensus, though, whether the money would be split 27 ways or 26 ways, since Williamsport's ambulance and fire companies have combined.

Three county commissioners were at Thursday's meeting, but shied away from saying too much because, as a majority of the commissioners, talking about county business could have constituted an illegal meeting.

There was a motion on the floor and a second to go ahead with the split, but some suggested that the proposal should go back to the companies for discussion before a vote, as has happened for issues involving association spending.

Someone else then made a motion to table discussion about the funding split for 30 days. It was seconded and it carried by a voice vote.

Someone noted that the next scheduled association meeting, on Dec. 15, would be in less than 30 days, so the matter will carry over until the January meeting.

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