Documents shows tension between Wythe Co. rescue squad, county l - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Documents shows tension between Wythe Co. rescue squad, county leaders

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WSLS obtained a study of ‘Wythe County’s Fire & Emergency Medical Services’ by the Virginia Fire Services Board.

The study details a breakdown in communication between fire and rescue departments and Wythe County leaders.

 “There is a perceived lack of understanding of the comprehensive needs of the fire and rescue organizations by the County’s policymakers,” the study says. “During out visit, we heard that members of the Board of Supervisors were not listening to the concerns of fire and rescue leadership and were unresponsive to their specific needs. The burden lies with the County Administrator and the Board of Supervisors to resolve this perception and ensure an open and honest dialogue is established.”

The report was requested by the Wythe County Board of Supervisors to analyze the County’s fire and rescue services.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL REPORT

  The study committee was made up of representatives from the Virginia Fire Services Board, the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical services.

“There appears to be a growing level of mistrust and frustration amid the fire and rescue departments with the County,” the study says. “The lack of personal and professional communication between all parties has evolved into a disjointed and sometimes dysfunctional application of fire and rescue activities in Wythe County.”

County minutes show the Wythe County Board of Supervisors had the information from this study in August of 2013.

 "There's no doubt there's been tension in the past between counties and the agencies," J.D. Hancock Wythe County Rescue Squad's Executive Director says. "I've been doing this for eight years and the communication has been non-existent between county and agency."

Documents also show Wythe County leader's attempt to not make the study public was denied.

 The Wythe County Office of Emergency Management sent a letter to the Virginia Department of Fire Programs that said:
    
    "The Wythe County Board of Supervisors at the August 13th meeting reviewed the needs assessment that had been         
    completed and determind that it did not address all of the areas that had been itemized in the original request.         
    Therefore, Wythe County would respectfully request that the report be tabled permanently."


The Virginia Fire Services Board responded:

    "The board members determined the request to permanently table the Fire and EMS Study Report from Wythe County is 
    in violation of the Code of Virginia § 9.1-203 section 4 regarding powers and duties of Virginia Fire Services Board     
    and § 2.2-3700 concerning the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. "




 
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