Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fire in the West

From my experience, the best way to sum up the politics of the HoCo Fire Department is to say it’s complicated. Whenever a major issue crops up like a change in fire districts or, more recently, the contingent firefighter program, the internal battle lines are not always clearly drawn, at least it can appear that way to this outsider.

It is clear that passions can run high yet it’s hard to get anyone within the department to speak out. It's almost as if everyone wants to keep their stuff within the family.

The exception to this is the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Company. As they were with the fire district dust up, the Lisbon firefighters have taken the point on opposing the plan to eliminate the contingent employee program. Contingent employees are paid part-time workers who assist in the staffing of volunteer fire companies, notably West Friendship, Elkridge and Lisbon. According to this story by Blair Ames in The Sun, Fire Chief Bill Goddard believes that ending the program will allow the department to operate more “efficiently with career and volunteer personnel working together.”

"The only people that suffer in this is the community," said Kenny Livesay, a volunteer firefighter at the Lisbon station. "It's setting us up for failure."

This is likely more indicative of the political disconnect between the urban east the rural west and a desire to preserve a way of life that is rapidly disappearing in HoCo than it is a disagreement with fellow firefighters .

blog comments powered by Disqus