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Letters to the Editor - March 7

March 07, 2013

Fairplay Fire Co. problems start with leadership

To the editor:

As a current member of 41 years and family of an original founding member of the Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co., I would like to share my personal concerns over current issues with our department. Our department has lost focus on why the department was started by many of our original founders and those who devoted their lives to the protection of the citizens whom we serve.

As the blindness continues to erode the ability for our department to provide the vital services with which we were entrusted, it became even more obvious following the report from the task force and the Board of County Commissioners’ decision to no longer recognize our department. Many of the issues discovered are directly attributable to the leadership of our department. Numerous times through the task force process and through various Board of County Commissioners discussions, it was stated that our department deserved another chance. Our leadership had those chances prior to our suspension.

 Our call statistics continued to show our failure rate in previous years — 12 percent in 2006, 13 percent in 2007, 10 percent in 2008, 5 percent in 2009, 12 percent in 2010, 23 percent in 2011 and 24 percent in 2012. Note that in 2009 (our lowest failure rate), the county provided paid personnel to our department until they were asked to be removed. Failure of our leadership has not only occurred through not monitoring our failed responses, but also within maintaining the necessary testing and certification of equipment that is specifically needed in protection of our personnel and performance of our duties.

During an inspection by the Associations Standards committee as requested by the task force, it was found that flow testing of our self-contained breathing apparatus had not been completed in years. This lack of attention by the leadership could have been disastrous should equipment fail during fire department operations. In January 2013, 78 applications were presented to the president during task force discussions. To date, none of these applicants has been contacted or notified about the status of their applications or return of their application fee.

As a life member, past chief and citizen of the community, let me first give my apology to the citizens of the community for what the Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co. has become. As the resolution lies within the entire membership of our department, the primary issue lies in the leadership’s ability to maintain our needed vision and restore our primary mission because of the blindness that prevails.

Tim Warrenfeltz    
Fairplay


HCC trustees, president deserve a thumbs up

To the editor:

I would like to give a thumbs up to the Hagerstown Community College board of trustees and college president Guy Altieri for their courage in the reprioritization of projects at the college that would facilitate placement of a public safety training center in our county's 10-year Capital Improvement Plan. Their selfless act of leadership exemplifies the level of negotiation and compromise needed in tough budget years.

Ruth Anne Callaham
Washington County Commissioner



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