HAGERSTOWN —Saying the process had been a “bit of a witch hunt,” an attorney representing the suspended Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co. told a task force studying the department Monday night that some of the requests of the department have been “legally out of bounds.”
Ed Kuczynski defended the department because he said department officials were not told they were not meeting standards in the way they were responding to calls.
Meanwhile, Paul Miller, chairman of the task force, said after the meeting at Rockland Woods Elementary School that he intends to meet with the Washington County Board of Commissioners to give it an update on the task force’s work.
Miller said he expects the task force to come up with a set of recommendations to help the Fairplay fire department and he expects the recommendations to be determined “soon.”
Kuczynski gave task force members a synopsis of Fairplay’s history, which included a rift between old and young members in the department that started in about 2008.
The issue was resolved, although that does not mean that all the animosity went away, Kuczynski said.
The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted in July to suspend Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co. indefinitely for not responding quickly to enough to all of its calls.
The task force was given three months to come up with possible solutions for getting the department running again, efficiently.
The task force has been meeting regularly and there have been heated exchanges during the meetings at times.
Kuczynski said he believes the commissioners put the “cart before the horse” in addressing the problem and believes that the task force’s assignment was misguided.
Task force member Steve Pifer said the way Kuczynski was laying out his position made him feel that there is “something going on that shouldn’t be going on.”
“It sounds like you have already made up your mind,” Kuczynski said.
Kuczynski said he believed some of the talk surrounding the task force’s work has gotten out of hand.
Kuczynski said there has been talk in the community that the task force is going to “take the company (Fairplay) down.”
The task force and Kuczynski then went through a list of items they agreed the task force could have, like a copy of the fire department’s bylaws.
The two sides also agreed that the task force could have information on how many members it has had in the last three years. But the task force cannot have names of the members.
Brian Lowman, chairman of the standards committee for the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, gave the task force a rough draft of a report about an inspection the association completed at the Fairplay station.
Among the issues examined, the inspection found that some of the department’s air bottles were out of date.
The task force will meet at the elementary school again Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.