Selectman wants chief to seek more ‘professionalism’ within fire department

By Bill Pearson
Staff Writer

    MONSON — A selectman wants the fire chief to take a more “professional” approach in the operation of the department. Selectman Karl Martin discussed several instances in the past year where he believes the  town hasn’t been well represented by the department’s volunteer force. Martin made his concerns known on April 17 during a discussion about the department’s past actions with Fire Chief Eric Melia.

    Martin recounted events he’d viewed firsthand and others from citizens’ complaints. He recommended the volunteer department needed to display better behavior in public and at the fire station. Martin cited concerns about the fire station being used as a summer hangout, a volunteer setting a poor example for the town’s youth during a bonfire and the firemen not using proper caution when driving the trucks.
    “We are depending on you as the fire department’s leader to set the example. You are the one who sets the standard on how things are handled within the department,” Martin said. “We all support you, and if you need anything, just call us.”
    Chief Melia has addressed issues about the volunteers’ driving. He has spoken to one member on multiple occasions about driving at high speeds over bumps. He also indicated that all drivers are required to take a public safety vehicle driving course.
    “Anyone who drives a fire truck, in our department, has to take this course,” Melia said. “There is a regional one coming up later this year in Guilford. If you have a CDL (commercial drivers license)  you’re exempted by the state from taking the course, but I still require anyone who drives our trucks to take the course.”
    In other action, the board unanimously gave their approval to prepare a tax acquired property for sale. The town will hire a contractor to clean out the abandoned house on 35 Water Street. The town needs to remove refuse, furniture and clothes within the building.
    The board plans on putting the property out to bid. They will hold an open house in hopes of attracting a buyer to pay the past due taxes and sewer bill. The selectmen expect to accept a bid during their June meeting. The property is valued at $39,300.
    The selectmen will meet next at 6 p.m., on Wednesday, May 15 in the municipal building.

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