I read the ballot to remove Ross Gooder from the fire board. The ballot claims that Mr. Gooder has, apparently by himself, violated the "Open Meeting" law. That allegation obviously casts some doubts on the accuracy of the rest of the alleged bad acts by Mr. Gooder. "Malfeasance" is also claimed, but what was the malfeasance? Was it Mr. Gooder's unlawful private meeting with himself?
Fire boards are supposed to review proposals by the fire departments, not simply act as rubber stamps. In the Pine-Strawberry fire district, I have yet to hear of any life-saving equipment that the fire department doesn't have that caused a loss of life. If so, what kind of new equipment is really needed? Does the Pine-Strawberry fire district really need a fast-water rescue boat? I'm not aware of any world-class rapids in northern Gila County.
Roberts Rules are, of course, a good method of comportment during meetings. But under the circumstances, I have to marvel at why more people aren't hollering and stamping their feet about rescue boats and other costs -- like sending firefighters to clown school. Do firefighters really need to take a trip out of town -- on taxpayer dollars -- to brush up on their clown skills? When do they use these skills? Are they necessary? Has anyone ever suffered unduly because a firefighter couldn't properly tie a giraffe from a balloon?
If citizen watchdogs, who get upset over expenditures like clown training and frivolous equipment purchases, are removed from all fire boards, the taxpayers won't have any reason to complain when their fire departments decide they need bigger, faster boats, or when the fire department finds it necessary to travel overseas to learn diverse clowning skills.
Perhaps Mr. Gooder will be removed from the fire board. If that happens, don't expect to see any professionally trained clowns demonstrating their practiced and polished balloon-tying craft on their own time. You might have to travel to Flagstaff or some other town to watch the clowns -- who will likely be earning overtime -- tying balloons and making pratfalls.
I wonder if there are any fire boats that the Pine-Strawberry department can procure for cheap.
Besides clown noses and shoes, that's just what every mountain fire department needs. But don't raise your voice if you object to frivolous equipment purchases. That would be, well, wrong.
Wayne Terry, Payson