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Reader: City Should Consolidate South District, Middletown Fire Chief Positions

A South Fire District resident says it would be cost-effective to create a single administrator to oversee two fire departments, since one chief recently retired and the other departed late last year.

 

To the Editor: 
 
Recently, Mayor Drew and the Board of Education have developed a Memorandum of Understanding which commits the city legal department to provide legal counsel for the BOE. Such a consolidation of duplicative city services represents significant cost savings that will not only assure that much-needed funding can be best dedicated to our teachers and education but also helps taxpayers during these most difficult fiscal times.

Themayor and BOE continue to aggressively pursue other such opportunities. Such esprit de corps is unprecedented and certainly demonstrates what positive outcomes can be achieved when these relationships exist. 

Along these lines, similar opportunities exist for the South Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners who are presently discussing the vacant position of SFD Fire Chief.

A conservative estimate of annual taxpayer burden for this position is some $175,000 when one considers the annual salary, fringe benefits, dedicated vehicle, travel, private office space and other associated expenses being overseen by the SFD Board of Fire Commissioners to maintain this duplicative management position.  

The SFD should develop, working with the city, a MOU that basically contracts with the city to provide the administrative duties of the Fire Chief for the SFD. The city chief is retiring and one chief is enough to not only cover the city fire services but also SFD.

I would like to see the city, given the opportunity of an open fire chief's position to work with, to provide administrative oversight for the SFD. 
 
It's time for the SFD Board of Fire Commissioners to work with the city to develop a MOU that would have these services provided by the city. Certainly both the city and SFD taxpayers could realize significant tax relief.

Additionally, with such a unified command structure these critical emergency response services would be enhanced, in the best interest of public safety.  

Dan Penney, Middletown

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