Volunteer Fire Fighters Urge Opposition to CB-045 & CB-060 (2011)

UPDATE: Oct 20 Volunteer firefighters protest bill to reform fire commission
More than 100 Prince George’s County volunteer firefighters attended the County Council’s public safety hearing last Wednesday at the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro to protest legislation that would reform the County Fire Commission ... (More)
UPDATE: Oct 18 Baker puts Prince George’s fire commission overhaul on hold (Gazette)
"After strong opposition, legislation delayed to seek compromise with volunteers."
Prince George's County Executive has submitted two proposed County Bills (CB-045-2011 and CB-060-2011) that would significantly change the organization of the Prince George’s County Volunteer Fire Commission and its relationship to ALL the 38 volunteer fire corporations that each uniquely rapidly respond to our local communities throughout the county for fire and medical assistance (*) -- and significantly change the relationship of the volunteer fire service to our neighborhoods and to the Prince George's County Fire Department. Issues of proper process are also being raised. (*) Like the Laurel Rescue Squad which serves South Laurel. Residents are being urged to learn more, voice their views, and support an ultimate outcome that will ensure a robust Volunteer Fire service by contacting their local County Council member, which in South Laurel is
     District 1 Councilwoman, Mary A. Lehman
     Tel:  301-952-3887
     Fax: 301-952-4801
     Email: CouncilDistrict1@co.pg.md.us

See the following letter from Beltsville Volunteer Fire Dept. President Dickey, which seems to be reflective also of the sentiments among the other Volunteer Fire leadership and volunteers:

Proposed Legislation Threatens Volunteer Fire Departments

By Margie Dickey, President, Beltsville Volunteer Fire Department

     On behalf of the men and women of the Beltsville Volunteer Fire Department, I am writing to express our vehement opposition to the proposed changes in legislation that will affect the Prince George’s County Volunteer Fire Commission and were submitted on September 19, 2011 by County Executive Rushern Baker.

     These proposed changes were submitted without first sitting down with the Volunteer Leaders that represent the 38 VOLUNTEER Fire Corporations in Prince George’s (PG) County to discuss potential alternatives and the adverse affects the changes will bring.

     Currently the Fire Commission is comprised of 9 men and women who are Volunteer Fire/EMS personnel within PG County and are voted into office by the 38 VOLUNTEER corporations that they represent. Collectively they bring over 300 years of fire service experience to the table.

     That they are one of the few agencies’s within the County that have maintained a balanced budget for the last 2 years is evidence that they are fiscally responsible. The proposed legislation wants to change the Fire Commission to an advisory board that would consist of 3 Career Fire/EMS personnel, 3 Volunteer Fire/EMS personnel, and 3 citizens and they would be appointed positions.

  The VOLUNTEER fire corporations of PG County own approximately 75% of the apparatus and fire stations of the Prince George’s County Fire Department, and provide a significant portion of the staffing – particularly on nights, weekends, and holidays. To restructure the Volunteer Fire Commission as we know it would be detrimental to our existence. Fire trucks and ambulances that need maintenance would be out of service longer, volunteer fire corporations would lose members, and fire stations could potentially have no staffing when you need it most.   If you would like to more information, please go to the link on our website www.BeltsvilleVFD.com or email us at info@beltsvillevfd.com.++++

See also this flyer http://www.beltsvillevfd.com/LegislationFlyer.pdf