Important FYI-Montgomery County, Maryland
Updates from members in the area would be appreciated...
Montgomery seeks to streamline fire system
(Rockville-AP) -- Volunteer firefighters have maintained
significant political clout in Montgomery County over the years --
even as many urban fire departments have shifted most
responsibilities to paid professionals.
Now, county lawmakers are trying to change things. The
Washington Post reports the County Council is expected to vote
today on legislation that would establish a single paid fire chief
-- and reduce the authority of volunteer firefighters.
The county's fire services are currently divided among a career
fire chief and 19 volunteer chiefs. There's also a civilian fire
administrator and a seven-member Fire and Rescue Commission.
Proponents of the bill say the fragmented organization now in
place hinders countywide efforts at disaster preparedness.
Opponents say that if the county creates a single-chief system,
volunteers will become demoralized and drop out.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)