New life in vexed bri­gade

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Ti­tahi Bay Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade is slowly re­cov­er­ing from the in­fight­ing which re­sulted in its en­tire man­age­ment team be­ing sacked last year.

Former chief Tony Leighton, his deputy Brian Gar­diner and se­nior sta­tion of­fi­cer Bill Neate were among half-dozen vol­un­teers de­moted or asked to re­sign af­ter their pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ships broke down and vol­un­teers voted no con­fi­dence in them.

The team had decades of ex­pe­ri­ence, which may have contributed to the sta­tion’s prob­lems, says Peter Dempsey, the New Zealand Fire Ser­vice’s area com­man­der.

The Fire Ser­vice is look­ing at lim­it­ing the amount of time vol­un­teers can re­main in charge, Mr Dempsey says. ‘‘They get a lit­tle bit stale.’’ Con­flicts, such as in Ti­tahi Bay, oc­cur in many sta­tions when lead­er­ship has been in place for decades, he says.

‘‘It was just one of the hun­dred and one in­ci­dents across the coun­try.’’

En­sur­ing vol­un­teers have man­age­ment train­ing as well as fire­fight­ing train­ing is an­other pri­or­ity for the Fire Ser­vice, Mr Dempsey says.

While a new man­age­ment team is be­ing trained, the Ti­tahi Bay sta­tion is be­ing run by act­ing chief Gavin Dun­phy and act­ing deputy and se­nior sta­tion of­fi­cer Sean Malone.

The bri­gade had a strong pres­ence at last month’s Fes­ti­val of the El­e­ments and is re­build­ing its num­bers.

‘‘ The bri­gade is mov­ing on really well,’’ Mr Dempsey says.

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