To The Daily Sun,
In reply to Brenda Currier's letter which was printed on Saturday, I would like to respond to her criticism and personal attack. First I would like to say that it is interesting that she identifies me as a neighbor of the fire chief but she doesn't need to identify herself as the wife of a selectman.
1. Perhaps the selectmen could respond to a 2014 warrant article instead of a 10-year old article if they really wish to listen to their constituents. But that 2004 warrant article may not even exist. Yes they did delete a proposed warrant article so that they were able to replace it with a policy that the people weren't able to consider.
2. The selectmen have repeatedly been advised of certain RSA'=s concerning the chief's responsibilities and have chosen to proceed anyway.
3. It's common sense that a $20K budget reduction would force a cut in services.
4. The policy change was forced on the fire chief after he repeatedly stated, in open meetings, that he was addressing the safety needs of the community with his scheduling.
5. This is a personal attack on the fire chief, just as her letter is a personal attack on me. I have seen the personal attack on several occasions as Selectman Currier spoke rudely to the chief in public meetings while showing his disdain with words and body language. Additionally, in a public meeting, Brenda Currier stated that she never wanted Chief Hempel to be the chief. So this is definitely personal.
6. Evidence that the personnel feel undervalued can be seen in the high turnover and in the chief's statement that the new policy has had an immediate negative effect on morale. The staff respects their chief and react to the criticism of their department.
7. Common sense again — the new policy is detrimental and dangerous because it reduces service. The example the chief uses is that a typical ambulance run can take 2 - 3 hours and the station would be understaffed during that time. And she omitted the part about the selectmen "acting in the best financial and public interest of the town" which really means that the selectmen want to control the Fire Department. Next she states that the chief can "handle the scheduling changes properly." The chief decides what is proper and that is a personal criticism of him by an amateur.
I write as a taxpayer and citizen and supporter of a strong Fire Department, not as Chief Hempel's neighbor.
The facts are there, you simply need to acknowledge them rather than make a personal attack.