Spa­niard’s Bay brings back fire li­ai­son

Spa­niard’s Bay coun­cil sus­pended po­si­tion last year

The Compass - - Front Page - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca Twit­ter: CBNAn­drew

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.

TC ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Coun. Tracy Smith is the first fire de­part­ment li­ai­son for the town since the po­si­tion was sus­pended last spring.

FACE­BOOK PHOTO

Right: Tracy Smith

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