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Letter: Stamford Officials Support Fire Change

STAMFORD, Conn. — The following are several endorsements from local politicians supporting the City Charter change to have one unified fire department in the city. On Election Day people will have their say either voting, “Yes” to support the change or “No” to deny the change, it will be Question 2. The Stamford Daily Voice accepts all letters and opinion pieces from residents and organizations, which can be submitted by e-mailing reporter Anthony Buzzeo, tbuzzeo@DailyVoice.com .

? Brendan Keatley, president of the Stamford Professional Fire Fighters Association: “We have heard a lot of rhetoric about Stamford’s 2012 Charter Revision.  Charter Item #2 is quite simple in what it accomplishes for public safety in Stamford.  A Yes vote on Charter Item #2 places one fire chief in charge of fire and emergency medical service delivery and the protection of Stamford’s 125,000 citizens.

Charter Item #2 values and preserves the existing volunteer firefighter force and creates the paid full-time position of assistant fire chief for volunteer services.  Charter #2 enhances public safety utilizing existing resources and does not need additional taxpayer spending to implement.”

? State Representative Gerald Fox, III, D-146: “Since the Town of Stamford and the City of Stamford merged in 1949 many government services have been streamlined and merged, but our fire service still remains the way it was 60-plus years ago.  Charter Revision Item #2 finally allows our city to modernize this critical lifesaving service, while embracing the best of both the volunteer fire service and Stamford Fire & Rescue under one citywide fire chief.”

? City Representative Gabe Deluca, R-14 : “Every Stamford resident deserves the same right to feel protected at night in their own home, knowing that a highly skilled and trained firefighting professional, be they career or volunteer, will be there for them and their family in a time of need. Voting yes on Charter 2 gives us improved public safety, not less.  Without raising taxes it guarantees a rapid, reliable and safe response to all fire and medical emergencies in our city’s different neighborhoods.  Streamlining the chain of command offers enhanced training capabilities that are expected to elevate Stamford’s entire fire service community.”

? Tim Abbazzia, chairman Stamford Board of Finance: “It’s time for Stamford to establish a clear framework for providing the greatest public safety in the most efficient manner.  The first step in doing this is to establish direct accountability which is primarily what Charter Revision Item #2 provides.  What this item also does is provide a framework that encourages and provides resources to all volunteer support.  This is a very similar model to the agreement with Glenbrook which has proven to be very successful.”

? City Rep. Benjamin Velishka, D-2: "The plan for one fire chief makes sense. Imagine getting on a city bus with three drivers, chances are you'd end up in a ditch. One fire chief and a melding of the old and new system to give our constituents the best service available is what I believe Charter Question 2 offers us."

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