OPINIONS: China firefighters yet to receive citizen-approved stipend check

by Sheldon Goodine
Retired Chief of SCVFD, Inc.

To the editor:

At the town meeting on April 6, 2019, the town approved article 9 with the addition of $7,000 to the $33,0000, for a total of $40,000, for stipends for fire and rescue services. As of this date, October 28, 2019, the fire departments have not received checks. This is almost seven months since the town vote. When the subject of stipends for firefighters came up, it was done by the select board without input from the fire departments. A lot of meetings and letters on the subject have done little to solve a perceived problem. Most of the firefighters who are volunteers did not favor the stipend but thought that it would be a nice way for the town to thank us for our service.

“The way I see it,” if the town has a problem with paying stipends, they can shove it where the sun don’t shine. It was written in The Town Line (Oct. 24, 2019) that select board member Ronald Breton said that the fire department representatives (fire chiefs) have not signed the memorandum and the $40,000 should not be handed over until they do. The voters of the town did not require this memorandum when they voted to approve the #9 article. This was done by the select board so they could have control over how the money was spent and who gets how much. When in reality the chiefs of the departments know best how to disperse the funds as they know who puts in the most time and effort into the workings of the department. How can an appointed town official have more authority over an expenditure than the voters of the town? The select board serves the town by a vote of the people and the town manager serves the board of selectmen. We can solve some of the issue in the upcoming election on November 5, 2019, by electing new people to serve on the select board. Look well at the ballot and choose candidates that will take charge and hold the town manager to only operate as the select board dictates.

I talk to a lot of people from all around the state of Maine and when they find out that I am from the town of China, they ask me, “what is wrong with the town of China?” I respond to them that there is nothing wrong with the town of China, it’s just the select board and the town manager that is the problem.


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