Our community has recently experienced a major loss in our safety services. Recently, all three chiefs of the East Wayne Fire District resigned, taking with them, a vast wealth of knowledge. These three men were brilliant in their craft and dedicated to their community. Their resignation has left a huge void. I do not want to take away from anyone else on the department because EWFD has many very knowledgeable and dedicated members. Many people are wondering why three chiefs would resign at the same time. I can only speculate on things I have witnessed myself.
Several months ago, you may have been hearing from some people, including local politicians that there was a massive amount of turmoil within the department. Hearing that people were unhappy with the chiefs and many were threatening to leave the department. These claims were used as the basis for the Village of Dalton to pass a resolution giving the Mayor authority to establish a fire department if EWFD were to fail. I can assure you with full confidence that absolutely none of these claims were true. I personally spoke to Mayor Finley and councilman Bucklew and assured them that these claims were untrue and expressed my feelings that this resolution was a bad idea. Their responses to this was astounding. The response I got from councilman Bucklew was: I got screamed at. The response I got from Mayor Finley was, and I quote, “That is your opinion and I don’t care what you have to say.” I am a lifelong resident and taxpaying citizen and my mayor doesn’t care what I have to say.
2021 in all actuality was a very good year for EWFD. Things were moving forward and a clear path for the future of the department was being developed. Morale was high and members were happy with the board and chiefs. That all changed in January 2022. What bothers me is that with things going well our board should have been kept intact, but Mayor Finley decided to mix things up and it has been a disaster. The blatant disrespect and outright animosity towards our chiefs and fiscal officer Barb Stoll is sickening. Morale is now extremely low and members are uncomfortable with certain board members present at the station, some actually avoiding the station when certain board members are present.
Because of false statements made and actions taken I have written a letter to Mayor Finley and all Village of Dalton councilmen asking Mayor Finley, Councilman Bucklew and Councilman and EWFD board member Rabatin resign from their offices. I believe this is necessary for the stability of the fire district and safety of its residents and surrounding communities. I would also like to see these three men and EWFD board president Ryan Sullivan publicly apologize to the three chiefs, Barb Stoll, department members and the community for putting our safety in jeopardy.