Unity Firefighters Quit After Vote

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Unity — The members of the all-volunteer Unity Fire Department announced at the end of Saturday’s Town Meeting that they were resigning because the town had voted to have the chief and firefighters appointed by the Selectboard.

Selectboard member Bill Schroeter, who was at the meeting, said in a telephone interview Saturday afternoon that the petition article on the meeting warrant passed, 65-38. The vote would change the department’s organizational structure, under which the firefighters appointed the chief.

Following the 4½-hour meeting, Schroeter said, firefighters in attendance left after the vote and returned at the end of the meeting to announce they were quitting.

“The assistant chief said they were leaving but would give the town time to find replacements,” Schroeter said.

The all-volunteer department has five to eight members, and for the current budget year, which began Jan. 1, will receive $46,000 from the town.

Attempts to reach Bruce Baker, the department’s chief, were unsuccessful.

The rest of the warrant’s 17 articles passed, including the town budget of $1 million, $184,200 for a dump truck with a plow and $9,500 for security cameras at the town office.

Also approved was $300,000 for reconstruction of Stage Road, $35,000 for a utility vehicle for the Highway Department, $30,000 to finish the salt shed and between $11,000 and $50,000 for three reserve funds for highway vehicles, well monitoring and reappraisal.

— Patrick O’Grady