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Fairfield Citizen

Saturday, October 25, 2014

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Letter: Deputy's status not a popularity contest

Published 9:59 am, Friday, April 25, 2014
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EDITOR'S NOTE: The writer is a former member of the Fairfield Fire Commission.

There seems to be a basic lack of understanding regarding the process of a contract. First and foremost, Deputy Fire Chief Art Reid is a good person. Actually, I supported him when he applied for the position over a number of other qualified candidates.

We all make many decisions in our lives. Fast forward to the years since that time. Deputy Chief Reid was concerned about getting in his 10 years of service to qualify for a pension from the town of Fairfield. He had already achieved pension status upon his years of service to another fire department in another state. At that time, we assured him that the numbers of years would add up to reach his personal goal. And the Fire Commission honored that request.

The Fire Commission has been focusing on a plan of succession. At my last meeting, in November 2012, the commission Chief Richard Felner to gather information about succession plans from other fire departments. A committee would be established to prepare the Fairfield Fire Department for the future.

In April of 2012, according to the Fairfield Citizen, the commission was split over renewing Reid's contract but approved a two-year extension on a 5-2 vote. Reid said he was happy to serve the town for another two years.

I was one of the five commissioners who voted in favor of renewing the contract.

Time marches on. The commission this spring had to notify Reid whether it would renew his contract, which expires Dec. 31. It voted 5-2 not to renew it.

Back to a contract is a contract. The Fire Commission and the first selectman are the parties involved in this situation. Everyone seems to have his or her own opinion on this matter. There are friends, family and people in and out of state signing a petition. This is not a popularity contest. To be honest, it seems that Deputy Chief Reid has planned for his years ahead and is poised to qualify for and to obtain two pensions. Granted he has earned them.

The Fire Commission is to be commended for making difficult decisions. Each commissioner takes his or her votes very seriously. It is time for the Fire Department to focus on the future.

Susan P. Barrett

Fairfield