Volunteer fire review panel eyed fr BrocktonBy Jennifer Kovalich, Enterprise staff writer
BROCKTON — After some debate this week, the Finance Committee recommended the Fire Department be reviewed by a panel of city leaders and citizen volunteers rather than pay for an outside professional study such as the one the Police Department did a few years ago.
"Rather than spend the money, a citizens review would be able to do a lot of the groundwork," Councilor-at-large Thomas Brophy said Wednesday.
But Ward 1 Councilor Timothy Cruise wondered if the residents who would comprise four members of the seven-member panel would have the necessary technical expertise.
"I'm a little concerned that not having professionals do it, who's going to have to do the research on all the questions that come up from the committee," he said.
Earlier this month, the council sitting as the Finance Committee approved a recommendation to name a seven-person panel to review the Fire Department.
The proposal called for a panel made up of two councilors, the fire chief and four residents named by the mayor, including one with emergency medicine experience.
The Finance Committee discussed the measure again Tuesday night, focusing on whether the review should be done by such an unpaid panel or if they should hire outside consultants for a professional study.
After the discussion, the Finance Committee gave a favorable recommendation to the panel as approved earlier this month. The full City Council will now take up the proposal.
The committee, if it comes to fruition, would have until March 31, 2007, to report its findings to the City Council.
Councilor-at-large Robert Sullivan asked Mayor James E. Harrington if he would be appointing professionals, such as certified public accountants or others familiar with fiscal operations, to the committee.
"I think the concern would be if the appropriate people would be found in the community," Sullivan said.
Harrington, who is planning to review every city department, said he would be willing to go along with a citizens committee to review the Fire Department.
"Either way, I think it's a prudent thing to do," Harrington said. "We'll look at the department and see if there's anything to change or that we'll think about changing."
A few years ago, the Police Department paid $24,900 for a review that it is just now beginning to implement.