Firefighters should leave EMS alone

Firefighters should leave EMS alone

I breathed a deep sigh of relief when the controversial campaign to renew the EMS tax ended with an overwhelming yes. But I expired too soon.

On February 13, Fire Commissioner Frank Cardinale decided to send another letter to the editor. In it, he said: “I am writing to tell you that certain people in our community have acted in a shameful manner by inappropriately using personal accusations, fabricated stories and outright lies to attack, defame and threaten a resident of our islands – our appointed Fire Chief Norvin Collins.

Somehow I don’t think the rest of us need to take lessons in civility from the guy who, in a recorded public meeting, called the president-elect a the District Public Hospital Commission of “bitch”.

As to the substance of his complaint, I assume that I am one of his “certain people in our community” because I have stated in letters that in my opinion, as a close observer of the PHD since 2015 and of of the entire fusion effort, one of the primary causes of the failure of the EMS and fire fusion was the continued behavior of the fire chief. It was not an attack, a defamation or a lie. And I was not alone. Many community members and leaders, based on their experience dealing with the fire chief and fire commission, have recommended that EMS not be placed under the control of current management in the event of a fire. Nor did they attack, defame or lie. In fact, the only personal attacks, vilification and lies I read during the campaign came from the small group that led the fight to defeat the levy.

Voters spoke out forcefully. I think it’s time for Fire Chief and Fire Marshals Cardinale and Olson to stop interfering with EMS, shut up and start working to be a constructive partner with other first response agencies in the island. EMS does a great job of saving lives and keeping our community safe.

Richard Grout

Friday Harbor