Fire department airs concerns
A number of firefighters and local residents came to the June 11 DreAden selectmen’s meeting to voice their concerns over the tensions between the department and the select board.
“Changes have been made without our knowledge, with no conversations being held,” firefighter Brendan Parker said. “You’ve taken our voice out of the decision, and we cannot continue doing what we do if we are not supported.”
“There is a general feeling that the selectmen are trying to take over,” firefighter Reid Anderson said.
“It’s not getting better, it’s getting worse and worse,” firefighter Todd Clarke said. He told selectmen he has been with the department 13 years and that the selectmen have to do something, quickly.
Department members at the meeting felt then-assistant fire chief Ron Theriault was treated so poorly during an executive session with the selectmen, he felt he had no choice but to resign. They were also upset that selectmen then appointed a new assistant without input from the department.
Chief Steve Lilly said the next day, although Theriault is no longer assistant chief, he is still a valued member of the department.
“Hopefully, after last night’s meeting, we are on the path to get things squared away,” Lilly said.
The department was also upset that a suspended lieutenant, who was not named, was not allowed to defend himself to the board during a discussion about him.
Selectman Allan Moeller Sr. apologized, saying he felt many of the concerns were “probably my fault” and said that from this point forward, the selectmen are going to address concerns directly to the chief.
“The fire department does a great job, and no one is questioning that,” Chairman Dale Hinote said. “But there hast to be a chain of accountability.”
“What we need is to come back to where we were before,” resident Sonia Lilly, wife of Chief Lilly, said. “We need to come back together.”
“There has been a lack of listening on both sides, and that has ended up with what we have tonight,” Selectman Dwight Keene said. “Maybe this is a good place to start.”
“Thank you for listening to our concerns,” Parker said.
Selectmen meet next at 6 p.m. Monday, June 25 at Pownalborough Hall.