Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Monday, April 8, 2013
Apparently, The Problems Have Been Smoldering For Years
Each of those friends found that niche, and became very good at what they loved. One became an instructor at the police academy, another became the Fire Chief in the town I grew up in followed by another member of the group that became the Police Chief in town years later.
They started off as kids with a dream of where they wanted to be, and to give back to the community. They succeeded immensely. They succeed, in part, because they had the respect of those around them, developed an excellent knowledge of what their job required, performed extremely well, and they were held accountable. If they didn't perform, they would have been let go years ago.
That is how it is supposed to work.
So, how come, after 30 years as chief, an outside consultant was hired to do an investigation of the Sturbridge Fire Chief, and the the Fire Department? And, after the 166 page report was published, why are people amazed that both the Chief, and the department , are in such poor repair?
It didn't happen over night. The issues have been ongoing, according to the report, for many years. So, why hire the consultant now? Did it finally come to head, and something just had to be done?
Probably, but it was allowed to fester for decades. It appears that this department head was not held accountable. This not only reflects poorly on the Chief, and the department, but on those that the Chief answers to. They are as much at fault for allowing it to happen for so many years.
Small towns are like this. Those at the helm are uncomfortable disciplining, correcting, or terminating, someone that could very well be an old friend, or neighbor. So, the behaviors remain unchecked, and we end up where we are today with our fire department.
However the investigation, and ultimate report came about is important, but more important is the fact that someone, or someones, saw a need for it, and addressed it.
Below are some of the of the items listed in the report:
"• Unkempt conditions in the fire station, including trash piled in fire escapes.
• No vehicle maintenance records.
• Controlled substances stored in unlocked file cabinets.
• “Complete breakdown in communications between the chief and the staff.”
• Lack of standardized policies and procedures.
• Unclear chain of command when chief is not present.
• Inadequate training.
• Ineffective scheduling and staffing, including lack of full-time firefighters assigned to weekend shifts.
• The town's rescue boat being used to store old equipment, making it impossible to immediately use the boat in rescue situations." --- Worcester Telegram & Gazette April 6, 2013
This report is an eye opener. Look it over. Click here.