From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:
There is a growing division in Berkeley County among those who play a very large role in public safety. Firefighters showed up in big numbers at Tuesday’s council meeting. One side claims council is out of touch and council says they just want some accountability.
Firefighters came from near and far many from the rural pockets and communities with unfamiliar names. It was a display of solidarity among the 26 volunteer stations inside Berkeley County. Something those like Deputy Chief at Lake Moultrie, Donald Martin says is long overdue.
“What we are interested in is seeing a better relationship with the fire departments.”
Firefighters say safety and efficiency are at stake because elected officials are influencing or stalling input and taking money away from stations in need. Tonight they stood before council and said one member, Ken Gunn, is putting politics ahead of first responders and the Fire Board lacks unity and proper insight. Chief Timothy Stephens of Whitesville Rural questioned Gunn’s motivation.
“It has to be a self-agenda because it's not one that he has either talked to us about or taken any advice from us. He seems to be doing whatever he wants.”
Gunn has served on council for 16-months. He says the Fire Board has issues with some volunteer leadership because some are not willing to work with county leadership, and all the county wants to do is have a system of accountability with funding.
“The bored thought, shouldn't there be some guidelines and so we now have a form. They recommended that we have guidelines and a form and council approved it.” said Gunn.
Gunn said there will be a committee meeting every week until the situation is addressed. The next Public Safety meeting will be June 9th.
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