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W.V.F.D. Dispatching Decision Delayed

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Windham – The W.V.F.D. Fire Board met for their regularly-scheduled meeting on March 14, 2013 with all fire board members present along with Windham Village Council members, Cheryl Prem, Jena Miranda, and Rachel Barrett and Township Trustees Brian Miller and Jesse Wirick. Deb Blewett was also in attendance as a member of the fireboard and the village council.  Council members’ and township trustees’ presence was requested by the fire board to discuss dispatching services and Windham Village’s breach of the Joint Resolution that was signed when the fire district created.

The meeting was called to order by Chairman of the Board Linda Rininger. The minutes, bank reconciliation and expenditures were approved.

In the chief’s report, Fire Chief Mike Iwanyckyj reported that they were still in the running for a grant. He also reported that training at Camp Ravenna has been cancelled due to the sequester, so they will not need to have our rescue unit stationed at Camp Ravenna for the training session. The chief presented two candidates for recommendation for EMT and Firefighter. The two were approved. Joann Hoffman and Cody Zimbro were accepted as EMT and firefighter respectively. The board accepted the resignation of Kevin Kulesa, due to his new full-time employment. The resignation was effective March 14, 2013.

The chief requested an executive session with the board to discuss personnel issues relating to the HIPPA laws.

The board returned from executive session and was ready to address the dispatching issue with Windham Village Council, township trustees and Windham’s mayor.   Unfortunately, none of the council members had the authority to speak on behalf of the village. Council President Phil Snyder was not present neither were council member Scott Garrett and Mayor Rob Donham.  The W.V.F.D. Fire Board Clerk Jayme Neikirk said she mailed a request for attendance to all council members, the village mayor and township trustees. She did not receive any notification from anyone stating they were unable to attend. All the township and council members, including the mayor, were expected to be in attendance to address dispatching and the breach of the resolution issue before the fire board can proceed with a dispatching contract. Fire Board Chairman Linda Rininger asked council members present if anyone had or had seen a copy of the dispatch agreement council plans to enter into with Garrettsville Village. Council members indicated they did not have a copy nor have any of them seen one. Rininger asked if there were any amendments made to it after the trustee and council members met last month, again the council members said, they didn’t know.

Windham Village’s contract with Garrettsville Village is on a third read which mean council can vote to approve it at their March 26th meeting, making it effective in 30 days. Rininger said the fire board really couldn’t do anything until the fire board, township trustees and the village council amended the original resolution that created the district. (The village has already breached the resolution by not paying the agreed amount of $7000 a year for five years. They will also breach the resolution a second time by outsourcing dispatching. The original agreement has the village providing dispatching services to the WVFD for 10 years.)

The fire board hoped they would also be able to determine when the Windham Village expected to go off –line with their dispatching so the fire board knows when they need to have their new dispatch provider on-line. Nothing could be decided due to the mayor’s absence and the council members present didn’t really know the status of the contract nor did they have the authority to speak for council.

A special meeting has been tentatively set for Tuesday March 19, 2013 at 7pm at the fire station to resolve these issues. The clerk will issue a second request for attendance to council members, including the mayor, and the township trustees for the March 19th meeting.

A call was placed to Garrettsville Mayor Rick Patrick on March 15th inquiring about the status of the contract with Windham Village. As of Friday March 15, 2013, Patrick said “The Village of Garrettsville was in the process of negotiating a contract with the Village of Windham for police dispatching, but have not agreed to any terms as of yet.”