Archive for Wednesday, January 9, 2002

Mediation worthwhile in department dispute

January 9, 2002

Tonganoxie Mayor John Franiuk's call for a mediator to help sort through problems at the fire department is a step in the right direction.

For nearly two weeks, Franiuk and city council members have heard from firefighters and the fire chief who are at odds. The dispute between the chief and a group of veteran firefighters went so far that 10 firefighters wrote a letter to the chief, suggesting he resign the post he's held for 16 years.

Neither the chief nor the firefighters will provide details about the rift that separates them. Some firefighters hint that perhaps the chief has held the post for too long and it's time for new blood to take over operation of the volunteer department.

As is the case with any organization, the leadership of the fire department must be flexible enough to change as time marches on.

It is hoped that a mediator can sift through the problems that face the department and its fire chief and firefighters. The department has been a source of pride for the community, and it is hoped the citizens of Tonganoxie will continue to see it that way.

The chief and firefighters have pledged to put aside their differences until the city council can come to a conclusion about the difficulties with the department. They are to be praised for making that pledge. That illustrates that they believe strongly in their department.

If the city council on Monday agrees to hire a mediator to work with the department, it is hoped that person can move quickly. This problem with the department cannot continue for long before irreparable damage is done.

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