To The Daily Sun,
We are now making some progress. What started as an issue of excessive overtime costs in the fire department has resulted in a real discussion of problems within the fire department. I would suggest that if the discussion continues, as it should, the overtime pay issue will seem minor compared other excesses there. Tempers erupting at City Council meetings is not a bad thing and I would suggest is long overdue. My thanks again to Councilor Hamel for his courage to speak his mind and to hit these issues head on. He is right and deserves our support. It is now time for the other councilors to weigh in.
The real issue concerning the fire department is leadership or the lack of it. For the fire chief to publicly state that the morale of the firefighters is low because of statements or action on the part of the City Council is unconscionable. It is the responsibility of the chief, assistant chiefs, captains and lieutenants to ensure the morale of the firefighters as their lofty titles suggest. Blaming the City Council for their low morale displays a total lack of leadership and leaves this observer to believe that the officers of the fire department would rather be buddies with the firefighters than do the tough job of supervising and leading. It starts at the top. For example reporting lines don’t appear to be clear. Does the chief report to the city manager or does the city manager work for the chief? Or does the union run the fire department? These issues need to be publicly aired and corrections applied where needed with input from the voters in Laconia.