PulseLine: Fire Commission

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What a mess the City of Westfield has with its Fire Commission and Fire Department. It is encouraging to see another new member of the Fire Commission approved last night by the City Council to hopefully repair the damage. Using the adage, “a new broom sweeps clean,” it is time for the Chair to resign as well so the Commission has a completely new membership. While cleaning up the mess, the Captain that started the situation needs to retire. Hopefully he is eligible. By all accounts of what I have read in the newspaper he is a superb person and probably WAS the best candidate to become Fire Chief. Unfortunately one in a leadership position cannot do what he did and not suffer severe consequences. It simply cannot happen and he can apologize from now until forever, he totally compromised himself and his position so he needs to move on. Because of all of this and the “sophomoric” actions of a few in the Fire Department ranks, in my opinion it will probably be best to search nationwide for a new Fire Chief. Westfield is a great City with a Fire Department with excellent equipment and personnel, so I suspect we would have multiple candidates for the position if advertised. While making wholesale changes, it may be time to bring Fire Commission meetings to City Hall vice the Little River Fire Station. This is a “perception” item. Meeting at a Fire Station has the perception of the “camel’s nose under the tent” and trust needs to be reestablished which can be assisted by holding meetings outside of the Fire Department. I realize it is convenient to hold the meetings in the Fire Station but members of the Fire Departments are employees and will go where they are instructed. Lastly, for the City Councilor that made a “sensitive or confidential” report public, shame on you. You were elected to exercise judgement. I have not read the report, nor will I, but I suspect it was to be held out of public view to protect those in it that have done nothing wrong. By making it public you have infringed on their privacy!

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