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Gilmanton Fire activity has changed little in 10 years but budget doubled

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

Gilmanton is a small town with a small Fire Department. We need a fire chief who is multi-tasked, a respected manager, a morale builder, and is able to follow directions and have intelligent discussions with his supervisors, the Gilmanton Selectmen.

Because most of our town departments are small it is cost-effective to have the manager multi-task. Our road agent operates equipment and works along with his crew. Our police chief is on call and carries out multiple duties within his department. Our town clerk, along with her other duties, waits on customers.

Our fire chief at this time has two full-timers and six or seven part-timers and he doesn't want to do any firefighter's duties. He wants to sit at the desk and be the administrator. This is not cost effective.
The selectmen gave the chief a directive to work on-call for two 12-hour shifts a week and do administrative tasks for 16 hours a week. He has refused to comply and claims that the selectmen are micro-managing him. He met with the selectmen on Jan. 29 and struck an agreement about hours and staffing. He shook hands with the selectmen and said it's a deal. The very next day he reneged on his deal.

My thinking is that if a man has credibility and integrity, his handshake is as good as a signed contract. He said that when he was called to the selectmen's office for the meeting he had no warning and felt that he was cornered and somewhat blindsided.
It seems that our fire chief only feels comfortable at selectmen's meetings when his mom and dad, neighbors and friends are there to support and direct him. These are the same people who initiated Warrant Article 30, which has no authority whatsoever over the selectmen's decisions.

Fire Department activity has changed very little over the last 10 years, but the budget has more than doubled: Calls in 2003, 395; calls in 2013, 434; budget for 2003, $259,811; budget for 2014, $586,034.

The new work schedule for the fire chief is scheduled to start on March 1. I hope that he cooperates and that he also starts working with the selectmen to make his department more cost-effective.

Please vote no for Article 30 on March 11. Show your Selectman that you support them and appreciate their cost-cutting efforts.

Douglas Isleib

Gilmanton Iron Works