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Open letter to Village of Westfield residents

May 2, 2012
Dave Carr

Open letter to Village of Westfield residents

This letter to the Village residents is meant to answer questions as to the formation of the Board of Fire Commissioners. On March 21, 2011 a public hearing was held to answer questions and to hear comments from the public in regards to the formation of the Board of Fire Commissioners. There were 40 members present from both the Fire Department and the Village residents. Every person present was afforded the opportunity to voice opinion, either yea or nay. At the conclusion of the meeting the Village Board voted unanimously to adopt the resolution of the formation of the Board of Fire Commissioners. This action was done in accordance with State and Village laws.

This action was taken as a result of several members of the fire department who approached the Mayor and the Village Board members requesting assistance in reorganizing the fire department and separating the fire department from the Exempt Firemen's Association. They were concerned that there was too much influence on the part of the Exempt Association in the management of the fire department and not allowing the fire chiefs to make the decisions.

The Board of Fire Commissioners is comprised of five members. Barry Underwood was appointed as the Chairman of the Board at their first meeting on May 3, 2011. Since that time it has been a learning experience for the Board of Fire Commissioners and the fire department. Recently, the Board of Fire Commissioners has voted that the meetings of the fire department and the Exempt Association be two separate meetings and no business of the Exempt Association is to be conducted at the fire hall. This was done to avoid the appearance that the fire department and the Exempt Association were one in the same as indicated in the October fundraising letter sent out to the residents by the Exempt Association.

There is now a definite separation between the regular fire department and the Exempt Association. The fire department will now do their own fundraising. An example is the pancake supper held recently at McDonald's and the boot drive the members participated in. The boot drive raised $670. These funds will help purchase a new thermo imaging camera. The results of the pancake supper have not yet been tabulated. From now on, if the fire department wants to have a fundraiser they will be required to obtain permission from the Board of Fire Commissioners. In doing so they must state what the proceeds will be used for. You can then be assured all proceeds will go to the direct benefit of the fire department.

The income from the Exempts' October letter raised approximately $14,000, none of which went to any company of the fire department. Their Valentine's Day raffle raised several thousand dollars, again none went to the fire department. The same holds true with the ox roast, no proceeds are distributed to the fire department.

From now on, any resident that wants to donate funds to the fire department may do so by sending the check to Village Treasurer, Village of Westfield, 23 Elm St., Westfield, N.Y. If the donor wants the funds to go to the memorial fund it should noted on the memorandum line of the check. If the donor is just making a contribution, that check will be deposited into the capital reserve fund for the fire department. These funds will then be used for new rescue equipment or firefighting equipment. We and the fire department members appreciate the generosity of the many residents that have supported the fire department.

Dave Carr

Village of Westfield Mayor



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