After months of meetings and research, it appears that the task force investigating the Fairplay Fire Co. will recommend a change of leadership at the troubled department. Pushing the envelope were the applications of 78 people who said they would join the company, but only under new management.
A task force member called this a “most impressive” display, a sentiment with which we agree.
One does not need to take a position on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the current leadership to understand that a change at the top might be the only way for the department to move forward. At this point, too much water has passed under the bridge to believe that a new plan of action can be facilitated by current leaders.
Fairplay got into trouble for failing to respond to calls in a timely fashion, and the leadership cannot escape at least partial responsibility for this circumstance. The leadership has blamed personality conflicts and sour grapes for its troubles, but it’s difficult to overlook the fact that so many people are willing to serve the community, but only if the current leadership is dismissed.
To us, that transcends any claims of a witch hunt fostered by a few rogue elements.
We also note an attitude on the part of the current leadership that does not engender trust in their ability to change. At the most recent meeting, Fairplay leaders scoffed at the need for company audits and refused to discuss a selective survey they have distributed to members of the community.
This smacks of a classic case of denial. The leadership is either unwilling to admit to problems or unwilling to accept the idea that new processes might be necessary for the department to efficiently move forward.
With intractable attitudes in place, change cannot be expected. And the one thing we know after all this investigating is that change at the Fairplay Fire Co. is crucial for both the health of the department and the safety of the community.