Report: Sturbridge Fire Department in deplorable condition

WCVBReport: Sturbridge Fire Department in deplorable condition.

A scathing report released Friday calls the Sturbridge Fire Department mismanaged and says it puts the public in unnecessary danger.

Thanks to JimG for bringing this to my attention.  I have heard hints of trouble in the fire department from people in town who know a lot more than I do.   I presume that calling for an independent consultant was the current Board of Selectmen’s way of finally getting a handle on the situation.   I applaud them for trying to fix what may be broken.  I just hope that they can remember to avoid fixing what isn’t broken.

He also denied he was a poor manager, saying he has done the best he could with the resources given.

But the report states for many years he returned funds to the town budget instead of using them for maintenance as allocated.

When asked why, he said he was “just being a nice guy.”

In light of my recent posts, Proposed Sturbridge Department Head Residency Requirements and Municipal Residency Requirements and the Local Economy, this demonstrates one of the down sides, that I thought about but did not mention, of insisting department heads be Sturbridge residents.  In the justification for residency requirements was the following:

…and to foster the general economic benefits which result from spending ones salary in the employing community, while sharing associated local tax burdens and creating a greater sense of ownership within the community; the Town of Sturbridge hereby establishes the following residency requirements:

Apparently, in the fire chief’s case, he was so concerned with not spending too much of his own taxes, he decided to return some of the maintenance money to the town instead of spending it on required maintenance.

At non-resident department head might be more willing to tell the town what was honestly needed and then spend the money appropriately.  This is not to say we should propose a rule that department heads cannot be Sturbridge residents.  What I do mean to say is that we should focus on hiring high quality department heads, not inserting irrelevant requirements in our hiring policies.  If something is a legitimate basis for judging a candidate, then there should be more proof to it than a conjecture that seems plausible to some .

Remember, that the word plausible is not a synonym for the word true.



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