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CVFRS Seeks Public Discussion of Future for Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Charlotte, Vermont

Dear residents of Charlotte,

Since 1950, Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services, Inc. (CVFRS) has provided emergency response services for the Charlotte community. Supported by a combination of public and private funding CVFRS has established a service level of high availability and high skill with a total focus on delivering service to the community in which we live. CVFRS is a non-profit organization run by a volunteer board of directors composed of volunteers, staff and community members. CVFRS provides its services to the Town of Charlotte under a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Town, the most recent revision of which was executed in 2019.

CVFRS has recently learned that the Selectboard of the Town of Charlotte intends to establish a municipal Fire and Rescue department under direct town control. The MOA makes provisions for such an eventuality and CVFRS acknowledges the right of the Town to establish its own Fire and Rescue service. In fact, the increasing challenges of maintaining a volunteer run organization means some form of organizational evolution is likely to be the best strategy going forward. While we are understandably proud of our more than seven decades of service to Charlotte as a non-political organization, we know that times change and our organization must change with it.

CVFRS believes, however, that this is not a decision to be taken lightly. To sustain the high quality of services currently in place, such a change requires substantial research, planning and, most importantly, a thorough town discussion to be certain that all parties understand the difficulties of maintaining a fire and rescue service, the potential for increased costs, and the risk of interrupted service. To this end, CVFRS believes these discussions should be happening in open meetings within the town rather than in so-called executive sessions.

To be clear, CVFRS does not object to the idea of a municipal department to assume the responsibilities of Fire and Rescue services. Rather, we believe such a transition should be the subject of a detailed plan implemented over the course of 12-24 months in order to retain staff and maintain uninterrupted service.

Specifically, CVFRS calls upon the Town of Charlotte to :

  1. Hold all meetings in public;

  2. Conduct meaningful research on the issue of managing a Fire and Rescue service;

  3. Develop a detailed plan for implementation;

  4. Provide assurances to the people of Charlotte of a commitment to maintain current service levels;

  5. Continue to negotiate with our designated committee in good faith.

Meanwhile, CVFRS is committed fully to:

  1. Ensuring the continuity of high quality services to the residents of Charlotte;

  2. Ensuring the maintenance of a good working environment for our employees;

  3. Conducting all negotiations in good faith.

To this end, CVFRS has designated a working committee to facilitate communication with the Selectboard regarding these negotiations. The residents of Charlotte, and the services we provide to you, have always been and will always be our highest priority. CVFRS commits to use its resources and best efforts to ensure a safe and successful transition to whatever form of service organization the people of Charlotte may choose.

For and on behalf of the Board of Directors,

Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services, Inc

Jared Bomba, MD, Acting President


All questions should be directed to Jared Bomba, MD, Acting Board President at j.bomba@cvfrs.org

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