Fire association head, chief administrator at odds Volunteers unhappy with county leadership

July 12, 1992|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Staff Writer

The president of the county Volunteer Firefighters Association says he doesn't expect relations will improve between the volunteers and Fire Administrator Paul C. Haigley following a "no-confidence" vote by the companies last week.

Representatives from all but one of the 24 volunteer companies present at the association meeting on Thursday voted for the resolution expressing their lack of confidence in Mr. Haigley's leadership and questioning his integrity.

The only dissenting vote came from Maryland City Volunteer Fire Company.

"We're trying to show the public that we have a problem," said association president Louis D'Camera.

The resolution is to be sent to the County Council and to County Executive Robert R. Neall, but Mr. D'Camera said he didn't expect the vote would prompt any action.

Mr. Haigley was not present at the meeting and could not be reached for comment.

The relationship between the administrator and volunteers has deteriorated rapidly in the past few months.

The volunteers have been at odds with the administrator over a number of issues, including the placement of ladder trucks in certain stations, use of state grant money, Mr. Haigley's plan for a new chain of command, and insurance for the volunteer fighters.

"The conditions we are working under now I've never seen matched," said long-time volunteer John Smith.

Maryland City fire Chief Ray Smallwood said he voted against the resolution because he didn't believe the timing was right. But Mr. Smallwood said Maryland City would join the other companies if Mr. Haigley alters a long-standing policy.

"If he messes with the chain of command, he should be removed from office," said Mr. Smallwood, who helped develop the chain of command 14 years ago.

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