South Callaway Fire sees conflict at board meeting

— Communication issues led to conflict at the South Callaway Fire Protection District’s board meeting Monday night.

After a few pieces of regular business were taken care of, officer Jeff Pate had a message for board president Linda Davis.

“I’ve been asked to speak (for the other firefighters). We’re all here in concern as taxpayers and firefighters that you have a lack of respect for the firefighters, and we do not feel we want you as president,” Pate said.

“I find that interesting, because I don’t interact with the firefighters except here at board meetings,” Davis responded.

According to Pate, her interactions with firefighters at the meetings are the problem.

“The purpose of the board is to conduct the business of the fire district,” Davis countered. “It’s not the position of the board to interact with the firefighters. That’s your chief and assistant chief’s job.”

Pate mentioned another complaint was that the board had instructed the firefighters to get estimates for expanding station five — which he said the firefighters did not consider to be their job — only to say when presented with some of that information that the district will not be making any additions this year.

Davis explained that the board’s direction to form a committee was for informational purposes.

“We weren’t going to expand anything until the fire trucks were done,” Davis said, referencing the board’s recent decision to purchase two new fire trucks at a cost of $300,000.

“The money is limited. We cannot do that since we took on the responsibility of the trucks,” she pointed out, adding that “My position on the board is to make sure the revenue is to protect the fire district, make sure we have the money to buy safety stuff, buy trucks.”

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