In response to several of the Viewsline statements made in last week’s paper, I wanted to clear up a few points. First off, the three former chiefs did not resign all on the same day. The resignations were simply accepted on the same day at the next district meeting, just like every other resignation that EWFD has fielded.
As far as “lack of leadership” and “disdain for our community,” I would encourage anybody to public record request results from a recent internal survey conducted prior to the chiefs departure where the majority of the responses were in favor of the chiefs leadership and in fact, were very unhappy with the actions of certain members of the current EWFD board. I would also encourage anyone to public records request the amount of emergency runs, training hours, and other office hours that the chiefs recorded and then tell me that they had “disdain for our community” and that they “obviously don’t care about this community.” I can’t speak for everyone, but I sure wouldn’t spend my off time from 2-3 other jobs (all 3 former chiefs had a minimum of 3 jobs including full time and part time work) working from home or leaving my family to perform work and protect a community I didn’t care about.
If we are going to call people out for not caring about this community, I would question why Councilman Rabatin and Chairman Sullivan, who are both certified Firefighters/Paramedics, quit EWFD due to not having enough time to give to the department, but now he has time to sit on a village council and a fire board and also micromanage every aspect of the operations of the EWFD when there are 9 line officers appointed to manage day to day operations. With the resignations of the chiefs, EWFD is down to only 3 paramedics. This means that if you or your family has a major medical emergency that would benefit from Advanced Life Support intervention and those 3 are unavailable, there are potentially 2 more paramedics in the area that chose politics over your safety.
Another anonymous person mentioned a letter from Attorney Comstock and cited “a laundry list of things that aren’t being done correctly.” The implication in that submission is that the chiefs were aware of this letter and the vague contents of it. The fact of the matter is that the chiefs, along with several members of the board, were unaware of the existence of this letter until the moment it was read (after a suspension of attorney client privilege) in a public meeting. If there were truly “a laundry list of things that aren’t being done correctly,” and the attorney and several members of the board were aware of it, then why were these chiefs allowed to continue in their roles and not placed on administrative leave pending an investigation? Why did this very well paid attorney, who is hired by the board to protect the fire district, not speak up sooner but rather waited until a response was solicited by Chairman Sullivan? The fact is that there was ZERO communication between the board and the chiefs indicating that there were any problems with the function of the department, other than some paperwork issues which were actively being resolved.
There are always 2 sides to every story. If you want to know the true state of EWFD, please take a moment to talk to the men and women who are on the line answering your calls to service. The morale in that organization is at its lowest point since the inception of EWFD in 2014. They feel beat down, belittled, and feel that someone is always watching over their shoulder for the next mistake, but they continue to show up when the pager goes off because they understand that they serve the community, not a board of elected and appointed officials. I am not sure how long this perseverance will last however and I am afraid that our fire department is close to collapse due to the actions of a handful of people. People who are sleeping comfortably in bed while others are out at all hours of the day answering the call to service.