Baldwin Township supervisors continue to review a resolution that will govern Northeast Sherburne Fire and Rescue firefighters who are employed with other departments.
The resolution seeks regulation of congruent memberships.
The Town Board briefly discussed then tabled action regarding the resolution last week until its July 15 meeting, when Supervisor and Chairman Jay Swanson and Supervisor Bryan Lawrence could be in attendance.
The Northeast Sherburne Fire and Rescue Department currently has no provision for current members seeking or obtaining employment at other fire departments.
The Town Board has no policy against or genuine concern for firefighters having congruent memberships with other departments, the resolution states.
Both Princeton and Zimmerman have fire departments that participate in mutual aid agreements with Northeast Sherburne Fire and Rescue.
There will almost always be dual participation with Northeast Sherburne and either of those departments on call.
The proposed resolution states the following: “There may be call percentage conflicts. [The Town Board] doesn’t have a way to determine which department a Northeast Sherburne member would represent if they are active members of Northeast Sherburne and either of the others.”
This, in the Baldwin Township Board’s opinion, would at the very least cause concern and/or confusion as to who the “leadership” of Northeast Sherburne Fire and Rescue Department firefighters might be.
The proposed resolution also states any Northeast Sherburne department member who joins a neighboring fire department that’s tied to Northeast Sherburne via a mutual aid agreement would automatically render themselves ineligible for any officer positions within Northeast Sherburne Fire and Rescue.
Supervisor Tom Rush served as township vice chairman during the Town Board’s July 1 meeting. Rush said he had spoken with Fire Chief Scott Case about the resolution and board concerns.
“We wanted to get it on record that the fire department has representation and input on this,” Rush said.
Case said any board resolutions would be added into the firefighters handbook.
Rush asked Supervisor Patrick Hudson for his input regarding the resolution.
“We discussed it at our last meeting,” Hudson said. That meeting was June 17.
Supervisor Larry Handshoe didn’t support the proposed resolution.
“I think this would tie everybody down over there,” he said. “I’m not for it. Not at all. I think we need to do more work [on this resolution]. Why couldn’t one person from one fire department serve on another fire department?”
Case replied that an individual could serve on more than one department, but could not serve as an officer on both departments.
“If somebody’s qualified to do something, I don’t think that should hold them back,” Handshoe added. “That’s my opinion.”
Case said he understood Handshoe’s point of view, but he had a concern with having an officer on another fire department.
“I have concerns with divided loyalty,” Case said. “I want people to be loyal to this department.”
Rush and Hudson also agreed it would be best to hold action on the resolution and to allow Swanson and Lawrence to comment.