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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: East Wayne first responders deserve better

Let me ask you if you are the Chairman of the Board of a company would you ask questions to why your CEO suddenly resigned along with your top management? Chairman Ryan Sullivan was asked by a concerned citizen at the June 17th East Wayne Board meeting and his answer was “he had no idea why these officers left”. Why would Chairman Sullivan not even call any of the chief officers that resigned to find out why and what can we do to make this right? It’s no secret that tensions between certain board members and the East Wayne fire personnel have reached a boiling point that has reduced staffing and caused the loss of 3 chief officers.

Seth Greegor pointed out in his letter to the editor that 2021 was one of East Waynes best years with staffing and only one call that could not be answered. Why then in June of 2022 did we have 3 chief officers resign and personnel who do not want to staff or hold anymore fundraisers? Several board members refused to accept the resignations of these individuals but on the second attempt Chairman Sullivan was successful on getting a second on the motion to accept the resignations.

I attended the meeting and asked the question to East Wayne Board member Steve Rabatin has a conflict of interest since he is also a voting member of the Dalton Volunteer Fire Association. Mayor Dennis Finley answered by saying the Dalton Solicitor reviewed and approved that no conflict existed. Rabatin does abstain from any vote that concerns the DVFD but how does he vote on the DVFD or what information gets passed along to the DVFD? The appearance of conflict of interest should be enough to disqualify him from holding an East Wayne Board position. The question is who is Mr. Rabatin working for, the East Wayne Fire District or the Dalton Volunteer Fire Association?

I also asked Chairman Sullivan who is a resident from Baughman Township if conflict of interest would be a problem negotiating with Baughman Township over a legal dispute. Chairman Sullivan stated he saw no such conflict since he received no fire protection from East Wayne Fire District. I propose that as a Baughman resident he would stand to gain by any settlement with the township. The settlement mentioned at the June Baughman meeting mentioned fire protection and a cash settlement over several years. Baughman taxpayers would all gain from the settlement including Chairman Sullivan even if he never receives any fire protection for East Wayne. The settlement would be used to offset costs for the township and provide service from East Wayne at low or no cost.

The personnel of the East Wayne Fire District have worked hard to build this district and deserve answers to why this happened and who is responsible for this created turmoil. The train has left the tracks now we must stop it from going over the cliff.

Mark Geiser

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