Hi neighbors – I just got back from the January fire commission meeting that I posted about yesterday. There was quite an unexpected development at this meeting: I’ve been appointed to be a member of the Fire Commission Administrative Sub-Committee that will draft Wake County’s long-range fire services plans.
The Administrative Committee is required to have citizen representatives who are not firefighters nor affiliated with any fire department. There was an open spot on the committee for another citizen representative. I first got word on Wednesday that I was being considered to fill that position, but I didn’t say anything about that in my blog post yesterday because the decision had not yet been made. I even wondered if the Commission would turn down my nomination because of my past activities in favor of HB1110, which was opposed by nearly everyone on the Commission, including the Commission Chair. However, it turns out that Chief McGee (who was unanimously re-elected as Fire Commission Chair tonight) got to make the appointment by himself. I respect that Chief McGee is a fair-minded individual and took into account my willingness to serve our community.
My first order of business as a committee member was to approach Fire Services Director Nick Campasano and request access to more information. In particular, I requested full data on all emergency services calls for the past few years. The posted data has all the EMS calls filtered out, but I want that data also. I have in mind several research studies I would like to conduct relating to Wake County fire services. I will post more about this over the coming months. I want to emphasize that I am a full voting member of the committee that will draft the long range plan. I will look out for the interests of all Wake County citizens, and of course that includes my neighbors here in the Ten-Ten fire district. As I joked with Chief McGee, “my neighbors would lynch me otherwise.” Seriously, at the beginning of this month I promised to protest if the committee made bad decisions based on insufficient data. Well now I will not just protest, I will vote against any plan that I could not stand behind and defend. And I will be gathering plenty of data, I promise, and making it available to you all as well.
Other items of interest from the meeting:
- There were reports from several committees such as the budget committee, equipment committee, etc. They are working to make sure each firefighter has two full sets of turn-out gear.
- They are looking at leasing some land for training activities.
- There is a graduation ceremony next week for people who completed Recruit Academy. They were successful in training several new firefighter recruits who already have job offers.
- The county is looking at contracting with a research group called OREd (Operations Research and Education Laboratory) to develop a mathematical model taking into account growth projections, to try to come up with good sites for fire stations. A member of the Fire Commission asked point blank of that research would include recommending fire station closures, and Director Campasano said that was not in the scope. The research study would take a year and cost $85,000. Mathematical models are what I work with every day. I’m taking great interest in this project, and if they go forward with it, will try to make sure we get the best value for our money. I’ll also double-check their results, since I’ll have all the same data as them.
It’s going to be quite an interesting year going forward. Thank you again to all my neighbors for your support!