Lawsuit could answer all community's questions
The lawsuit filed this week by a former Berlin Fire Company employee will now bring to full light allegations made against members of the fire company, with a federal court helping the community to decide if the rift between the town and the company warranted its defunding.
While there is no question the continued deadlock between the town council and the company needs to get resolved, making that happen without clear resolution of the allegations has made that almost impossible.
The community, to its credit, has remained mostly silent on the issue, refusing to embrace the rumor and hyperbole that ensued after the allegations were made. Certainly there has to be a concern by many that a continuation of the dispute could lead to a risk of public safety, especially after further questions were raised at an accident scene earlier this year.
The deeper issue still be left to be resolved is the matter of on-going accountability. This is not unique to Berlin, but also one many communities across the country struggle with as volunteer emergency services companies are supplemented with paid public employees. Even when the business is that of savings lives, it is still like any business that accepts other people’s money and must take with that accountability to those that provide those funds, both financially and in the actions of its employees.
Until the issue is settled, it is in the best interest of the community for those members of the fire company named in the lawsuit to step aside, allowing the town to consider refunding the department in a reasonable manner as the issue is put to rest once and for all.