Power struggle between Berlin Fire Co. and town
The recent ramping up of the power struggle between the Berlin Fire Company and the town serves no purpose other than to try to heighten the concerns of residents who so far have refrained from looking at the issue from an emotional standpoint.
By calling for a show of resident support at the upcoming council meeting, the fire company is putting the town in a difficult position. The town managed to avoid being included in a recently filed lawsuit by having taken corrective action once grievances were brought to their attention. However, now restoring funding without any action being taken by the fire company on personnel named in the suit could leave the town running the risk of being a party to any fire company actions.
Additional questions will certainly be raised on whether taxpayer funds should be used to defend the fire company in the lawsuit and if any of those funds are also being used to defend the individuals themselves.
Certainly, it is in everyone’s best interest for the town to resume funding the fire company at a level required to provide proper emergency service. However, rather than stir additional controversy, the fire company has at its disposal an easy remedy by asking the four members of the company named in the lawsuit to step aside as the issue is settled by the court.
Now is not the time for the fire company to stubbornly refuse to put interim personnel in place as doing so allows the town to look at refunding without putting town taxpayer dollars at risk.