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Aug 28, 2012 6:27 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Two Bridgehampton Fire Commissioners Resign; Some Fire Department Members Up In Arms

Aug 29, 2012 2:16 PM

The chief was suspended last month for how he dealt with a couple of volunteer firefighters who did not correctly store equipment: he addressed their work with a snide remark on the “red alert” board, or digital bulletin board, that scrolls on television screens throughout the building.

Gerard Turza Sr., one of the firefighters whose name appeared on the board, said he was upset because there had been a public CPR class the night it appeared. He went to the council and requested Mr. Doran be suspended for misconduct.

Mr. Halsey said it wasn’t enough cause, however. “If you suspend him on these charges, you’re going to be in trouble,” Mr. Halsey said to members of the council last week. “We don’t want the district to be sued.”

But now that nothing is being done about the situation by the commissioners, Mr. Turza said he will be suing the district for defamation of character.

The chief confirmed the reason for his most recent suspension, which was overturned by the commissioners. “A couple of guys who were involved didn’t like the way I addressed the situation,” he said.

Regarding the discord in the department, Mr. Doran said, “In any group there will be a group of people who are unhappy. It’s just the way it goes. There is a certain group of people who would like to get their way with everything. I don’t always agree with them, and they don’t like it because I stand up to them.”

Meanwhile, in something of a “whodunit,” portions of the minutes of the July Fire Council meeting, at which members decided to suspend Mr. Doran and made a suspension recommendation to the commissioners, were discovered to be missing during a company meeting a few weeks later. At each company meeting, the minutes from the previous council meeting are read. At the commissioners meeting last week, fingers were pointed but no culprit was identified.

Mr. Halsey said he would like the district’s security company to fix any blind spots surveillance cameras at the firehouse have to ensure the swiping of minutes cannot happen again. “It’s sad we have to come to this,” he said.

Many members of the department have said morale is low. Hanging on the bulletin board in the hallway outside the meeting room are the minutes of the July 25 board of commissioners meeting. Although it was council meeting minutes that went missing, hanging just below them is a handwritten sign that reads, “Where’s the rest? What kind of department is this?”

Despite the tension, however, fire department members are still doing their jobs.

“It has not made any impact on the safety of the community,” said paramedic Phillip Cammann, who noted, however, that many members were frustrated. “The camaraderie and brotherhood is crumbling, and there are members who are leaving.”

Mr. Halsey said the department is still on top of its game.

“Don’t let anyone fool you,” he said. “If an event takes place, the fire department will be there and do the fine job that they always do, whether it’s EMS or the fire department.”

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bunch of spoiled brats
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Aug 29, 12 7:35 PM
Louchheim scammed his way in with a write in vote. Now he's sliming his way out with another write in & no show. Pathetic. He should stick to his mechanical bulls & his daddys money.
By G (342), Southampton on Aug 30, 12 6:30 AM
Small town department, big town politics.
By bridge (7), bridgehampton on Aug 30, 12 3:45 PM