Salisbury Press

Monday, July 22, 2019

SALISBURY TOWNSHIP BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Thursday, March 21, 2019 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Local News

Emergency Services Comprehensive Review accepted

The Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners unanimously accepted the Emergency Services Comprehensive Review.

“It is strictly to accept the report. It doesn’t obligate the township to take any action,” Salisbury Township Manager Cathy Bonaskiewich said prior to the 5-0 vote for approval of the review.

Commissioner Rodney Conn made the motion, seconded by Commissioner Joanne Ackerman, to bring acceptance of the review to a vote at the March 14 township commissioners’ meeting.

“Do you have an action plan, once you accept it?” Western Salisbury Fire Chief Joshua G. Wells asked commissioners after the vote.

“No,” responded board of commissioners President Robert Martucci Jr.

“We’re going to meet and decide. We’d like to set a meeting with the firemen and police chief and emergency services,” Martucci said.

After the vote, Eastern Salisbury Volunteer Fire Company Assistant Chief Ian Dodson asked, “With the report accepted, can we go ahead and spec out a pumper?”

“Is that on the schedule?” Martucci responded.

“It was for this year,” Dodson replied.

“I think we need to get together to discuss it,” Martucci said.

Board of commissioners Vice President Debra Brinton said, “I think we’d like to talk about it before we say ‘yes’ to anything.”

Added Martucci to Dodson, “I think you’re going to have to hold off on that until we discuss the report.”

Prior to the vote, Martucci told a reporter for The Press the commissioners would likely discuss the report in executive session.

Once commissioners reach a consensus on the scope of the report, they would meet in public with the firefighters, police chief, emergency management and emergency medical services officials to discuss it.

Prior to the start of the March 14 meeting, Martucci said of the report, “I think in the long run, it will unify everyone and increase the efficiency, which will save the township money.”

A copy of the 140-page report was posted March 15 on the township website, where it can be downloaded and read. The report’s Pages 89 through 98 provide a summary of recommendations. Pages 99 through 140 are appendices.

The report has six sections concerning the township: “Overview and Background,” Pages 6-17; “Public Safety,” Pages 18-25; “Fire Service,” Pages 26-72; “Law Enforcement,” Pages 73-78; “Emergency Management,” Pages 79-84, and “Emergency Medical Services,” Pages 85-88.

Following are some of the “Improvement Plans and Recommendations” found on Pages 89-98 (each recommendation has an additional paragraph, “Justification,” not included here):

- The creation of a public safety budget that delineates the various line items of public safety as outlined in the recommended new organizational chart.

- The creation of a fire service budget that captures all fire service expenditures, to include township, fire company and relief expenditures and revenues.

- The creation of a public safety capital budget with annual contributions based upon expected long-term purchasing needs.

- Update Salisbury Township ordinances as they pertain to public safety and specifically as to the proposed organizational chart and public safety employee duties.

- Transition to a public safety director to manage and direct a department of public safety for the township.

- Authorize the public safety director to have direct authority over the police department (or division of police services) with the elimination of the chief of police position. The division of fire-rescue services, including the township’s authorized volunteer fire companies, the township’s authorized emergency medical services, fire inspection services and emergency management functions.

- Under the director, appoint and authorize a police captain to oversee and manage the police services division. A fire captain will oversee, manage and coordinate the township fire-rescue service division, fire inspection program, volunteer fire services and function as the township fire marshal.

- Create a fire captain position.

- Develop and implement operating agreements between the township and the two volunteer fire companies.

- Develop and implement a joint purchasing program for the two volunteer fire companies.

- Create a new township emergency services organizational chart in which the police department does not have oversight of the fire service.

- Move the fire inspectors out of the police department and into a position under the new fire captain.

- Develop and implement a facility assessment plan to determine if the township wants to build a facility for the Western Salisbury Volunteer Fire Company, with an emergency operations center, or if the township wants to assist the WSVFC [Western Salisbury] with the renovations and building of this facility.

- Develop and implement a master vehicle replacement schedule for all fire service related vehicles.

- Establish a working group to proceed with the purchase of a multipurpose vehicle and a rescue engine, to replace equipment at ESFARC [Eastern Salisbury].

Editor’s note: the Salisbury Press plans additional articles examining the Emergency Services Comprehensive Review.