*UPDATE* This issue has been resolved. *UPDATE
I felt the need to address the current elephant in the room. The following are the facts as I know them, and I can of course only speak on what I am aware of. Your opinion may differ, but this is mine.
This topic has become an emotional hot-bed, and I feel like a lot of information is being lost from all sides. Despite the recent action by City Council that have not approved purchasing the boat, it is important to know there is a bit of a back story.
The City Council was first introduced to a potential boat purchase a few years ago when they were told that it had already been purchased by an entity outside the City, and we were asked to purchase it so that it could be used locally. This is the key issue of the discussion as there is a proper and legal procedure that cities must go through in order to make purchases. This procedure is well known to each department and there is absolutely no reason that anyone involved in the decision-making that led to the purchase should not have been well aware. As far as I have been made aware, there has been no information about the boat given to staff or council or has not been passed along appropriately.
We are built on funds from citizens, and as stewards of this money are held accountable to make sure it is being spent correctly and with proper documentation. Some years ago the State Auditor found a number of discrepancies and issues that had to be remedied, which led to even greater diligence.
“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.” Grace Hopper, 1986
There has been an outcry from some residents that not voting to purchase this boat has meant that there is some underlying cabal against the fire department. This is just not true. This conversation is about protocols and not against any employees or volunteers. It should not be perceived as such.
There has been questions as to why the council approved a far more expensive excavator purchase and not the boat. Because there was paperwork and a request for funds prior to purchase.
There have been comments about the FD refusing to respond to calls because of this. This statement is despicable, and anyone who spreads rumors that someone would be petty enough to risk a local human life over a boat is a gossip-monger.
Information I know and do not:
- A boat was purchased without authorization by a non-city entity and is being asked to be purchased by the city.
- The full program the boat is intended for is said to have been in place and may or may not require additional funds or oversight.
- As far as I am aware, there seems to have been no documentation presented describing the model of the boat.
- If the city had the boat, the price to operate the program may or may not be feasible.
- If the city had a boat, what vehicle would pull the trailer
- There is a massive difference in opinion on a number of these facts, which strengthens the need for more discussion.
The boat discussion is by no means over. There just needs to be better communication between the Public Safety Committee, staff, and the City Council. I have spoken to no person who feels the boat came into this discussion the correct way, but now we are just working at the speed of government to remedy the situation.