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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.