The Union Fire Company in Bensalem, Pennsylvania has a knack for making news and little of it is the type of news coverage you want. Recently, for the second time in just 13 months, town officials suspended fire department operations demanding a change in leadership (see video at bottom of page or click here for the latest suspension). Now, with a new chief in place, the fire company has to deal with what is behind some of the bad blood between firefighters, town leaders and police officials. It’s Marine 37, Union Fire Company’s $1 million fireboat.
The whole mess has caught the attention Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Monica Yant Kinney. Kinney, in today’s paper, explains how the Union Fire Company got to this point, and makes it very clear that she thinks that taxpayer’s money was wasted with the federal grant that helped fund Marine 37.
Take the time to read Kinney’s column. Even if you disagree with what she has written and believe, as some of the firefighters do, this is just a case of the police department being jealous that they didn’t get the boat, there are some important lessons to be learned.
As we know, in recent years there has been a great deal of federal grant money floating around that many, many fire departments have put to good use. We have seen articles in the past across the country questioning the need for some of the purchases made by both fire and law enforcement.
The lesson here is that it’s one thing to convince the federal government you need something and have your grant application approved, it may be a completely different thing convincing the public that their money is being well spent. Make sure you are able to justify the purchase to the press and the citizens and show it is being put to good use. As you will see from just the beginning of her column, Monica Yant Kinney isn’t buying it (again, take the time to read the whole column):
What’s a tiny volunteer fire company in Bensalem doing with a $1 million taxpayer-funded fireboat tricked out to troll the Delaware River for blazes, bodies, terrorists, and IEDs?
Nothing, besides preening for festival crowds and crashing into objects seen and unseen.
The tale of how the dysfunctional Union Fire Company won a wad of Homeland Security money to buy a state-of-the-art terror-taming boat screams post-9/11 planning at its nuttiest.
One of the former chiefs defends the purchase of Marine 37.
The volunteers’ bold play to dabble in regional law enforcement has soured relations with Bensalem’s paid police department. Two Union chiefs have resigned as a result of boat acrimony and embarrassing accidents. And just maintaining the vessel is draining the fire company’s meager resources.
Do you want to sell a rig? Click HERE to find out how with SellFireTrucks.com.
View more videos at: http://nbcphiladelphia.com.
Also on STATter911 …
- Attack on pricey yacht fire falls way short in many ways but gives some Aussies a laugh. Still, fighting fire in this fishbowl clearly illustrates a significant lack of waterfront resources for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. – March 21, 2012
- Quick Takes: July 30, 2012. – July 30, 2012
- Webster update: Police say killer William Spengler was with woman when she purchased guns in 2010. Read charges against Dawn Nguyen. – December 28, 2012
- A new uniform order from DC Chief Kenneth Ellerbe has Lt. Robert Alvarado again publicly calling him out. Says fifth change in a year is ‘unconscionable’ & shows ‘lack of leadership.’ – January 21, 2012
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