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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Open Letter to the Fire Commissioners

I received a copy of a letter to the Fire Commissioners today and, with the author's permission, am posting it here for wider distribution of what seems to me an extremely reasonable request:

After several special meetings and a regular meeting with more sturm und drang than is good for a community of mostly retired people, I have a suggestion.

We've had little real information about what necessitated actions that got us to all this … hints that if we "only knew", we'd understand, or that at some point in the future the whole story could be told, on to Mr. Carleton's saying that he wanted to "take the department in a new direction".  None of the foregoing is particularly enlightening, not so much about past decisions and actions but what it is we are moving toward and the necessity of it.

My suggestion is that at the next regular meeting we begin a dialog between the commissioners and the citizenry who show up about what new direction the department is headed toward, why we needed a new chief to implement that direction, and what is in it for us taxpayers, residents, and voters … how will we benefit from this new direction?  Are we in agreement with this new direction?  (Here is where the commissioners shift into salesman mode.)  Do we have suggestions to enhance this new direction?  How long before we realize any benefits from this new direction? 

Finally, I would hope with real information instead of the many rumors AND instead of being given little to no information at all from our elected (or appointed by our elected) representatives, we can make informed decisions instead of decisions made in haste, anger, uncertainty, and fear. 

We live in a democracy.  You are our elected representatives, but we do, after all, have the ultimate say-so in whether we agree with your decisions and whether we're willing to pay for what it might cost.  I often tell my cats that I am in charge because I have opposable thumbs; fellows, we voters are the opposable thumbs here.  Best to remember that.

Y'all might want to begin to mend some fences.  That starts with a dialog and hard information being disseminated.  It's been a very long while since most of us have been told by our parents/minders to sit down, be quiet, and do as we're told.  I think you might agree that tactic has not been sitting well with those who take the time to attend the meetings.  While no one can know the feelings of the entirety of residents here, I've certainly heard more negatives than I have positives.  And I've had to tell a great many would-be opinionated writers that I cannot put their opinions in Interface. 

I hope you will give hard consideration to beginning the dialog with us … and the sooner, the better. 

Patricia Turner Birchall

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