2013-06-15 / Editorials & Letters

‘Wishing will make it so’

Buckeye Lake Village council members must have been channeling singer Vera Lynn and Big Band leader Glenn Miller Monday night. Both performed ‘Wishing will make it so’ in the 1930’s, maybe even right here at the Crystal Ballroom.

After nearly 10 months of flailing around with our dysfunctional fire department, village officials, led by chief whitewasher Clay Carroll, came up with the perfect solution. It’s brilliant – simply declare the problem solved. It’s been a favorite tactic for despots around the world for years.

We last heard Carroll promising “more meetings,” probably on the third Thursday at the end of his May 23 monologue at the fire station. Then with minimal public notice – no signs outside the fire department for weeks this time or email notifications to media – Carroll schedules the next meeting for 7 p.m. on MONDAY, June 3. After just 70 minutes and with just one resident present, his committee, plus Mayor Rick Baker and Council President Charlene Hayden, decide to recommend to village council that “the village should not enter into any contractual commitment with any outside entities at this time.”

The meeting minutes claim that the group reviewed information from 1st Advanced (offered transportation to medical appointments); Village of Hebron (provided four options on April 12 to provide fire/EMS services to the village); Village of Millersport (declined an 11th hour request for a quote on providing a paramedic and EMT-Basic to staff the Buckeye Lake Fire Station); BLVFD (continue to ignore critical management problems); both fire district meetings (very basic information on forming a district); local media (certainly not The Beacon); and Licking Township (Carroll told its chief they went to high school together). That list has just ONE proposal of any substance – the April 12 offer from Hebron.

So after nearly 10 months of inaction amidst Carroll’s claims of extensive research, there is only one real proposal – Hebron’s four proposals – that for all practical purposes Carroll rejected minutes after hearing them on April 12. It’s the same old story:

• September ‘12 directives from Baker to Fire Chief Pete Leindecker – IGNORED;

• November ‘12 fire department advisory committee recommendations – IGNORED/SABOTAGED; and

• April ‘13 Hebron contract proposals – IGNORED.

The fire department has gone on a hiring spree in the last several months, adding at least seven new part-timers. Our efforts to evaluate their training, work history and experience have been thwarted by Baker’s failure to meet his responsibility under ORC 149.43 to make public records available “within a reasonable period of time.” Now after four weeks of delay and The Beacon’s threat to ask a court to force him to make the public records available, the employment applications have been promised by Thursday, conveniently past this week’s publication deadline.

There may be more warm bodies at the fire station, but there are still lengthy delays, particularly from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily, in patient care and transportation. A recent example is a June 9, 2013, “heart problems” call to a Marsh Lane home. The call, Buckeye Lake’s only call on June 9, was dispatched at 6:49:39 p.m. A very long 16:20 minutes passed before Buckeye Lake arrived on the scene. It’s the same old sad and frightening story.

Village council members can act like ostriches and bury their heads in the sand so they don’t see what’s right in front of them or they can try to ‘wish’ it away. Their action Monday night and at the June 3 Public Safety meeting – without providing any opportunity for public comments or questions – can only be termed irresponsible. They have placed the interests of a few power hungry fire department officials ahead of the health and safety of thousands of residents and visitors.

Here’s a little good news. The Patients 1st movement is growing. ‘Wishing’ it away won’t stop The Beacon or Patients 1st.

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