Spaniard’s Bay brings back fire liaison
Spaniard’s Bay council suspended position last year
Following up on a recommendation contained in the fire department review that was recently made public, Spaniard’s Bay council voted to bring back the position of department liaison. Coun. Tracy Smith, who first came to council last year following a byelection victory, agreed to accept the position at last Tuesday’s council meeting.
The Town of Spaniard’s Bay recently acted on one of the recommendations contained in the review of its fire department.
At last Tuesday’s council meeting, a motion was approved to rescind an earlier motion made last year to suspend the position of fire department liaison. Following a vote, Deputy Mayor Paul Brazil announced Mayor Tony Menchions, who could not attend Tuesday’s meeting, was recommending that Coun. Tracy Smith take on the task.
Smith, who herself had spoken earlier with the mayor, said she was willing to do so.
“I’m willing to accept on the condition that anything that needs to come from the fire department to council and vice-versa needs to go through myself as the liaison,” she said at the meeting. “I request that no member of the fire department approach council, and if that’s the case, council needs to ensure that they communicate to that particular individual that they need to go through your liaison.”
Her words were very much in keeping with the recommendations of Cliff Yetman in his report. His report recommended that the council liaison be treated as an element of the chain of command within the department. Yetman also said anyone serv- ing as both a councillor and firefighter should not speak about department issues in council, suggesting it blurs roles.
He made specific mention of Coun. Brenda Seymour in this recommendation. Seymour is also a firefighter. Her allegations of harassment and mismanagement within the fire department eventually lead to calls for the review, which found little evidence of harassment or bullying.
Speaking after Smith accepted the council liaison role, Seymour indicated she would continue to weigh in on the fire department as a councillor. Minutes from a special meeting last month indicate she did not want to be considered for the council liaison role.
“But having said that, you can’t restrict any councillor from speaking on the fire department,” she said.
“I’m just requesting that people respect that the liaison is in place, and if a fire depart- ment member approaches you with an issue, I request that you direct them to the liaison with their concern,” continued Smith.
“And to stifle any council member in speaking on the fire department is not legal, so a council member can speak on a fire department matter at any time,” replied Seymour, who also later congratulated Smith and said she looks for- ward to working with her.
“I’m looking forward to a more functional fire department with your input,” said Seymour.
Smith said she intends to meet with Fire Chief Curt Roberts and the rest of the local fire department in the near future.
Coun. Tracy Smith is the first fire department liaison for the town since the position was suspended last spring.
Right: Tracy Smith