[cifnmedia] Station 2 files lawsuit to regain equipment

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  • To: "Sean Aaron" <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,"Brad Dietrick" <bradfurniturefirst@xxxxxxxxxxx>,"BRAD DIETRICK" <badleybreak@xxxxxxxxx>, <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 12 Jun 2004 18:25:02 -0400

        Saturday, June 12, 2004  

             Local News 

      Station 2 files lawsuit to regain equipment

      By Joe E. Carmean Jr.
      Daily Times Staff Writer 

      SALISBURY -- The Station 2 Volunteer Fire Company has filed a second 
lawsuit against the city of Salisbury and Fire Chief David See, this time to 
regain rescue equipment they claim was wrongfully removed from their Brown 
Street firehouse several weeks ago. 

      "The city has left us no other choice but to seek legal relief in getting 
our equipment returned," Station 2 President Harold Scott said Friday. "We paid 
for it. It's ours, and we want it back." 

      Scott said the equipment, worth about $84,000, was purchased with 
Wicomico County funds, money raised by the company, state grants and donations 
from within the Station 2 fire district. 

      "We've never disputed ownership of the rescue truck that was taken at the 
same time," he said. "That belongs to the city. We just want our equipment back 
so we can put it on our other vehicles and continue to provide rescue services 
when needed." 

      Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman said Friday the city has never disputed 
ownership of the equipment. 

      "We don't disagree that Station 2 bought those tools, but that doesn't 
mean it isn't city property," she said. 

      Tilghman said she found the second lawsuit discouraging since See has 
been working to resolve problems with the volunteers. 

      "I just find this all to be very unfortunate," she said. "We don't 
dispute ownership of the equipment, just how those tools could be used." 

      See said the Salisbury fire department is following the recommendations 
outlined in a 2001 operational study provided by an independent consulting 
firm. The study called for consolidation of fire rescue services from three 
trucks to one. 

      "The reason for removing the truck is reducing redundancy within the 
department," he said. "Allowing them to keep the rescue equipment so it can be 
put on other vehicles just circumvents what we're trying to accomplish." 

      Upon a proposal by former Fire Chief Stephen Brezler, which was 
implemented more than 15 months ago, he unified the city's three fire companies 
under one battalion chief, volunteers expressed that there would be more 
favoritism to career firefighters and opposed the change. 

      The conflict continued until the Station 2 members threatened to separate 
from the city. 

      A "memorandum of understanding" was drafted between the volunteers and 
city officials in May 2003 to end the dispute. 

      But when city fire officials removed a rescue truck and equipment from 
Station 2, the fighting resumed, culminating with a lawsuit against the chief 
and city for failing to promote a volunteer firefighter and another lawsuit to 
regain the rescue equipment. 

      See said Friday's lawsuit doesn't change his goal to work with Bill 
Nutter, first assistant fire chief at Station 2, to consolidate the city's 
rescue force into one unit and dispose of any extra equipment. 

      "We are working through this process and the city attorney can work on 
the lawsuit," he said. 

      The city should not be able to "dispose" of equipment that does not 
belong to them, Scott said. 

      "What if we had two emergencies, one to the south and one in our district 
to the north?" he said. "With them downsizing the fleet, our potential to serve 
the city is cut in half. They do not have the right to dictate that equipment." 

      a.. Reach Joe E. Carmean Jr. at 410-845-4635 or 
       Email this story 

      Originally published Saturday, June 12, 2004


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