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Fire Department seeks your support

On Monday, May 16, 2011, during the Annual Town Meeting you, as residents of East Longmeadow, will be asked by the Board of Selectmen to support Article 20. This article proposes to eliminate the positions of the Fire Chief and Police Chief of East Longmeadow and replace both positions with one Public Safety Director to oversee both departments. For reasons as noted in this letter, we are asking the residents of the town we serve to vote against this article. The undersigned members of the East Longmeadow Fire Department are asking for your help and support.
The Firefighters of East Longmeadow believe that the individual in command of the fire department not only needs to rely on their extensive knowledge and experience of our department, but more importantly possess the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to be able to make sound decisions that relate to firefighter safety and accountability, fire behavior, building constructions, and fire protection systems. This vast, working knowledge is needed to accurately make critical decisions in a timely manner and that ultimately contribute to the safety of you, your family, your friends and your community.
For years the East Longmeadow Fire and Police departments have been working together, each in its own respective fields, providing an excellent level of service to the town, and each under the direction of its own department chief. If a Director of Public Safety is appointed, that would not be the case. As there are no combined forces in Massachusetts or New England, a Director must come from either the police or fire department and are limited to the safety and fiscal expertise in the field and department in which they have been trained. When this happens the Director typically favors the department from which they have the most knowledge and ultimately neglects the department with whom they are least familiar. This situation would not be prudent in any department and more specifically for the safety of the Town of East Longmeadow. It is important to continue to have both a skilled Chief of Fire and Chief of Police each focusing solely on their area of public safety expertise and providing the best possible police and fire protection to our citizens.
"WE" would like to note that a majority of the members of the East Longmeadow Fire Department are also taxpaying town residents and respect the need for fiscal responsibility. However, we feel that savings are illusionary and too speculative and should not be done at the expense of the safety of our town and its residents.
The undersigned members of the East Longmeadow Fire Department are not in favor of Article 20 as proposed by the Board of Selectmen and urge the residents of East Longmeadow to vote NO at the Annual Town Meeting on May 16, 2011.
Firefighter Tom Bechard, Firefighter Chris Beecher, Firefighter Larry Buell, Firefighter Vern Bullock, Firefighter Charlie Cangemi, Firefighter, Paul Carpentier, Firefighter John Coppolo, Firefighter Ben Cote, Firefighter Brian Daponde, Firefighter Dennis Donahue, Firefighter Pat Farrow, Firefighter Dan Fazio, Firefighter Tony Gentile, Firefighter Joe Giordano, Firefighter Chris Higgins, Lt. Brian Hill, Firefighter William Houle, Lt. Jim Leclerc, Lt. Robert Loughman, Firefighter Jim McCafrey, Firefighter Ed McCandlish, Firefighter Mike Minahan, Capt. Shawn Minahan, Capt. Paul Morrissette, Firefighter Craig Ottoson, Firefighter Chris Raschilla, Firefighter Joe Reale, Deputy Chief Steve Rybacki, Capt. Fran Santaniello, Lt. Gary Savria, Firefighter Aldo Villani.
East Longmeadow Fire Department

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