AFD Chief Tim Nelson and DPW Chief Guilford Mooring at Charter Commission last night
For DPW Superintendent Guilford Mooring and AFD Chief Tim Nelson a change in government would not necessarily be a game changer for how they run their operations.
Mooring pointed out the DPW is not "sexy" to which Chief Nelson quickly responded "And we are?"
Although both quickly agreed AFD has better looking uniforms.
In response to a question from Charter Commissioner Nick Grabbe about how long the town has been talking about a new Fire Station and new DPW building Mooring responded, "We could work out of a Keebler elf oak tree for all the public cares" (as long as the roads and water supply still work).
Chief Nelson pointed out that is exactly why the town formed the DPW/Fire Station Advisory Committee: to help educated the general public of the need of these two new buildings and act as champions for both departments.
The Fire Chief went on to say:
"The challenge we face long term is the town wants us to do something and we have limited resources to do that. But at what cost? Injury rates go up, response time increases, sick leave escalates. We don’t like to say No. Town still wants all this done. We usually find a way, but it causes burnout. Government needs to figure out what it wants at what service level. We’re being asked to do a lot of things. Hard for us to keep up with day-to-day operations. We're keeping our head above water but with burnout. We need someone with the will to make a commitment (new station/increased staffing) and stick with it."Mooring also had a comment that resonated with the Commissioners: it really doesn't matter what structure of government you have if the people who occupy the roles don't get along, then nothing positive will happen.
Both department heads stated they are "operational departments" where day to day duties and responsibilities can be very fluid, so it's not always easy to take the time to provide needed communications to the general public.
And those communications should be a two way thing, otherwise frustration grows.
They also both agreed Town Meeting preparation takes up a lot of their time although fortunately they manage to get their annual budgets approved with little controversy, but those budgets are always a tad too lean.
Mooring closed his presentation to the Commission with the candid observation that he would not want to be in their shoes but they are "doing something important."
Chief Nelson agreed, urging them on: "Don't quit. Keep in mind you are doing the right thing and it will be very good for the town. In the end it will all work out fine. "