• Company 5 NEWS

    It has been almost a week since the JCESA meeting. It is my hope that all those interested and those that attended the meeting will understand the following .

    I want to start by thanking all the folks that took time to attend the JCESA meeting on last Tuesday's night. Your attendance did a lot to reinforce the fact that the present Officers and BOD of Co.5 do not have the support of the citizens it serves. It was unfortunate that things went the way they did.

    I will not attempt to address the actions of Chief Cogle nor the JCESA BOD but only to help you understand why I had to do what I did and why I did it.
    It was my intention to present my concerns and documentation to the JCESA BOD in executive session for these reasons.
    First, it is not the best practices to "blind side" the decision maker by not giving them a heads up as to what is about to be put in the public domain.
    Second, I had intended that my information was to be presented to the board in a conversational format as to what I had seen and what facts I had gathered rather than accuse any one directly of wrong doing, in other words paint a picture of the current problems and offer possible solutions. I would have then expected the board to discuss my presentation among themselves ask me questions and then either start an investigation or call upon the Co 5 Officers and Board and ask them to address the concerns and problems I presented to the board. All of these functions would of course have been in the public venue.
    I felt this was the best way to get the ball rolling for change within Co. 5.
    An additional factor that I had to consider was, since my attorney had not reviewed the final presentation, due to other commitments in Braxton County, I had to protect my self from any legal actions that may have occurred against my family and me. I care greatly about this issue but not enough to put all I have worked for on the line to correct the problems within Co.5. I hope you understand.
    So things did not go as expected, but I believe a lot was accomplished with the outpouring of non-support shown by the folks that took time to attend and listen. Your attendance gave faces to the fact that the present officers and board members of Co.5 do not have community support and that we demand someone to help us change things. Your attendance also, I believe, got JCESA off dead center and let them know we expect them to be proactive in bring about change. We did well.
    I would offer this in closing. Chief Lehman is the only Officer that worked with me and he deserves our support in his efforts to run the EMS operation.
    Enough for now except to say thanks again for your help in bringing about the needed change on our mountain and stay tuned there is MORE to come, the ball has started down the hill and will not stop until we reach our goal of a viable and transparent Co.5.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Company 5 NEWS started by Ed Burns View original post
    Comments 86 Comments
    1. LMFAO's Avatar
      LMFAO -
      Can someone explain to me why there are two arsonist that were convicted recently "Hanging Out" around the Fire House again? Is it because the mother and brother of one are in charge of things? Does anyone else see a problem with this picture?


      Also, I want to know how Mr. Lehman can state that they are following the law when just last year he voted along with other board members to give the Chief a Personal Loan. In my eyes that is Misuse of Company money and should be placed into the same catergory as the Chief of Barkertona nd Charges should be filed, unless BRMVFC is a bank.
    1. LazerFlash's Avatar
      LazerFlash -
      Quote Originally Posted by LMFAO View Post
      Can someone explain to me why there are two arsonist that were convicted recently "Hanging Out" around the Fire House again? Is it because the mother and brother of one are in charge of things? Does anyone else see a problem with this picture?
      Not that I'm defending it, but unless there was some condition placed on them to stay away from the firehouse, there's no *legal* reason for them to not be there. OTOH, it sure doesn't look good for those who claim the Company has turned a corner, for the public to see those guys there.
    1. cindylu's Avatar
      cindylu -
      Quote Originally Posted by LMFAO View Post
      Also, I want to know how Mr. Lehman can state that they are following the law when just last year he voted along with other board members to give the Chief a Personal Loan. In my eyes that is Misuse of Company money and should be placed into the same catergory as the Chief of Barkertona nd Charges should be filed, unless BRMVFC is a bank.
      Unless there is something in their bylaws stating they CAN give personal loans, this is a good reason to shut them down to audit their books and possibly their business practices.
    1. Chutney Daftcraft's Avatar
      Chutney Daftcraft -
      Quote Originally Posted by LMFAO View Post
      Can someone explain to me why there are two arsonist that were convicted recently "Hanging Out" around the Fire House again? Is it because the mother and brother of one are in charge of things? Does anyone else see a problem with this picture?
      I don't think that is very fair to spread blame beyond an individual. If this is true, his mother and his brother are not responsible for what he does. Can you imagine being judged for something your sibling or other close relative did? I don't think it's a crime for Johnny Blaze to be hanging out there unless he was specifically prohibited from doing so. Sure, he disgraced himself, but his mother and brother apparently still work there, so he would have a reason for being there. I'm sure his relatives aren't going to let him do anything with any of the equipment.
    1. KatherineA's Avatar
      KatherineA -
      I think it is a poor reflection on the company for the arsonists to be hanging out there. If they need to stop by for a few minutes because of some business with their relatives that is one thing to me, but to be there for hours "hangin" that does not bode well for me as far as the department's reputation. They still have about 0 credibility with me and this is not helping.

      Certainly, they have every legal right to be there, but Co. 5 needs to get its ethics and moral compass back in line This is not doing that and creating the perception there is really no change at all.

      Still sending my checks/donations to Citizens and Independent.
    1. Theresa's Avatar
      Theresa -
      Quote Originally Posted by LMFAO View Post
      Also, I want to know how Mr. Lehman can state that they are following the law when just last year he voted along with other board members to give the Chief a Personal Loan. In my eyes that is Misuse of Company money and should be placed into the same catergory as the Chief of Barkertona nd Charges should be filed, unless BRMVFC is a bank.
      I think this is exactly the information that Fred Collins would want to hear about. At the meeting he stated very clearly that he would investigate any apparent wrongdoing that a citizen brings forward. Can you give him details? Perhaps the date of the meeting?

      It would be very helpful if you could post here what Mr. Collins's response was. I think we would all like concrete information to become public knowledge so that we can monitor the result.
    1. StickonFreeze's Avatar
      StickonFreeze -
      Quote Originally Posted by Chutney Daftcraft View Post
      I don't think that is very fair to spread blame beyond an individual. If this is true, his mother and his brother are not responsible for what he does. Can you imagine being judged for something your sibling or other close relative did? I don't think it's a crime for Johnny Blaze to be hanging out there unless he was specifically prohibited from doing so. Sure, he disgraced himself, but his mother and brother apparently still work there, so he would have a reason for being there. I'm sure his relatives aren't going to let him do anything with any of the equipment.
      Wait, the arsonists' family still works there? How does that happen? That in itself is laughable....and the arsonist is hanging out there? As if nothing notable happend? Well, that is inexcusable and everyone who has anything to do with that organization should know that.

      The sort of assumptions I highlighted above have led to the problem. I mean, one would assume that somebody who has trained as firefighter wouldn't set a bunch of buildings on fire. One would assume that the company's leaders would know you can't take fire vehicles to run your errands. Even if the law doesn't expressly prohibit it, one would assume that the arsonists would never be allowed to set foot on the property again. If he hasn't been specifically prohibited from being there, WHY THE HELL NOT?

      I don't think anything has changed. It's pretty obviously a backwards and buffoonish organization that needs to be rebuilt from scratch. Clean house, start over.
    1. StickonFreeze's Avatar
      StickonFreeze -
      Quote Originally Posted by LazerFlash View Post
      Not that I'm defending it, but unless there was some condition placed on them to stay away from the firehouse, there's no *legal* reason for them to not be there. OTOH, it sure doesn't look good for those who claim the Company has turned a corner, for the public to see those guys there.
      It's way worse than "doesn't look good".

      Every single person in that fire company should know that it is 100% unacceptable for the arsonist to be there at any time. There are no excuses for that. The notion that people with that level of judgement, lack of respect for the job and absolute dearth of common sense are the people responsible for saving lives (or even directing traffic) is stomach-churning.
    1. medic's Avatar
      medic -
      This is the EMS Chief and if you would like me to answer the questions put on here about me please stop by the stattion and I will give you the answers, but will not do it on here
    1. AAT53's Avatar
      AAT53 -
      Quote Originally Posted by medic View Post
      This is the EMS Chief and if you would like me to answer the questions put on here about me please stop by the stattion and I will give you the answers, but will not do it on here
      Of course, because that is how Company 5 operates. Never deal with anything openly ... much better to do it in private.

      Company 5 has the beginnings of a major public image problem (more than the beginnings for many, but not all) and it amazes me that nobody there seems to realize it.

      Why answer questions in the open when you can do it "behind closed doors".

      Yup, some things never change and Company 5 seems to be one of those things.

    1. medic's Avatar
      medic -
      Why are you making something out that is not. I just want to know who I am taking to.
    1. Tony's Avatar
      Tony -
      FWIW, I haven't actually seen any "questions" in this thread. It's mostly just griping, which really has no 'answer'.

      It's not particularly unusual for bored young firefighters to set a few fires they can then extinguish. That doesn't make them career criminals worthy of exile; it just means they made a mistake. Assuming they pay their debt to society, then they should certainly be welcomed back to the fold. It's a bit silly to say "start over" as if there are so many volunteers dozens are being turned away.
    1. LazerFlash's Avatar
      LazerFlash -
      Quote Originally Posted by medic View Post
      I just want to know who I am taking to.
      Does that really matter? This is a public forum; the instant you suggest a meeting off-line, the spectre of secrecy flares up. Anything you would care to comment about to me - or anyone else who posts here - you should also be willing to post for all to view, as well.
    1. StickonFreeze's Avatar
      StickonFreeze -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tony View Post
      FWIW, I haven't actually seen any "questions" in this thread. It's mostly just griping, which really has no 'answer'.

      It's not particularly unusual for bored young firefighters to set a few fires they can then extinguish. That doesn't make them career criminals worthy of exile; it just means they made a mistake. Assuming they pay their debt to society, then they should certainly be welcomed back to the fold. It's a bit silly to say "start over" as if there are so many volunteers dozens are being turned away.
      No, it's not silly at all. Dismissing and diminishing the seriousness of arson.....THAT is silly. I seriously can't believe I just read what you typed. I've got a great answer. Get those people out of the fire department, permenantly.

      This is not just some youthful mistake, stealing gum from a corner store or smoking a joint at a party. Those are mistakes just about every kid makes. This is planned serial arson that increased in severity the longer it continued. If they had not been caught, occupied buildings would eventually have been the target. Serial arson is a well-documented issue in the firefighting community and it's often younger siblings or children of firefighters that are the culprits. That appears to the case here. The need to be heros that led these idiots to start setting things on fire is NOT just going to go away if they remain in that environment. What needs to be done is for the community to make it perfectly clear that those responsible never come near a fire house again.

      Or

      You could blow it off, let things remain as they are, refuse to hold people responsible for their action or inaction. Let the same people steal from the taxpayers, set property on fire. Whatever. I'm just glad I don't live there.
    1. chipgallo's Avatar
      chipgallo -
      Quote Originally Posted by LazerFlash View Post
      Does that really matter? This is a public forum; the instant you suggest a meeting off-line, the spectre of secrecy flares up. Anything you would care to comment about to me - or anyone else who posts here - you should also be willing to post for all to view, as well.
      So you are saying that all the public meetings we attend have a "spectre of secrecy" because they aren't done online somewhere? Sorry, I agree with Medic that answering accusations from anonymous posters is a huge waste of time and does a disservice to volunteers who are known individuals as opposed to armchair quarterbacks. Get off your high horse and walk on over to the station. Take a witness so you can write up your real world conversation and have corroboration.

      There is nothing that makes a typed conversation, stripped of inflection and body language, more reliable or useful than a face-to-face discussion. Then place the discussion in an area called "Thunderdome" and why should you expect anyone to want to engage?
    1. Willis's Avatar
      Willis -
      Quote Originally Posted by chipgallo View Post
      So you are saying that all the public meetings we attend have a "spectre of secrecy" because they aren't done online somewhere?
      Did I miss something? I only see a mention of an "off-line" meeting. I'm not going to argue the merits and drawbacks of discussions on a forum. We need a separate topic to tackle that knotty discussion, Chip. But I think you're being disingenuous to suggest or infer that a one on one (F2F) meeting is public. It's by definition, a private meeting between two individuals, the content of which is not known to the public.
    1. LazerFlash's Avatar
      LazerFlash -
      Quote Originally Posted by chipgallo View Post
      So you are saying that all the public meetings we attend have a "spectre of secrecy" because they aren't done online somewhere?
      No, no, NO... That's not what I'm saying, at all. (I'm actually surprised you would infer that.) My point was that Medic - who claims to be Company 5's EMS Chief - seems much more willing to talk one-on-one with individuals than to address the concerns of the group. We've been clamoring for those in authority to come on here and address everyone's concerns and they continue to push for private meetings where there's virtually no accountability.

      Quote Originally Posted by chipgallo View Post
      ...walk on over to the station. Take a witness so you can write up your real world conversation and have corroboration.
      No matter how good I may be at transcribing a private conversation, it still is a private conversation and the other party can always take exception to it - even with a witness.
    1. lar's Avatar
      lar -
      I don't know about everyone else, but so far I know everything that goes on "in my house", if the person who's kids are the arsonists are still in the fire company than I guess no shame can get them out. Meaning it would be odd to me that the parents did not know, or suspect about the arsons. It is ridiculus. The whole thing is laughable, NOT, but the fact remains, until you have an emergency you don't know how much these people mean. If my house was burning or my family member needed an ambulance, I'm surely not going to be thinking about who has the credit card at Walmart.
    1. KatherineA's Avatar
      KatherineA -
      Quote Originally Posted by medic View Post
      This is the EMS Chief and if you would like me to answer the questions put on here about me please stop by the stattion and I will give you the answers, but will not do it on here
      Really? you cannot even make a statement that either - yes the convicted arsonists are at the station daily, weekly, whatever, OR no the convicted arsonists are not permitted to generally hangout at the station. They were there for _ minutes (hours) on X day because of ____. However, this is not the norm and they are generally not welcome there.
    1. chipgallo's Avatar
      chipgallo -
      When I walked over to the FD building by the MCC (after being invited here on the forum), I stood out in the public space in front of the building and talked with Jason. Other volunteers were standing around and listening and contributing. Public individuals could walk up, listen, etc. It was as public as things get. Why view this as confrontational? (Thunderdome is full of confrontation on occasion which was why it was created).

      Whether you like it or not, you are already part of the VFD team by living here. You are deciding what kind of team member to be. The communication you are looking for happens naturally when you are somehow on the team and not fighting the team.