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The Adams Fire District burned through the annual district meeting warrant in 15 minutes.

Adams Fire District Say No to Full-Time Fire Chief

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff
10:16PM / Tuesday, May 14, 2019
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About 60 Fire District members attend the annual meeting; nearly 1,000 cast votes in the election. 
ADAMS, Mass. — The Fire District voted to keep the status quo and shot down the proposition to increase the fire chief position to full time.
 
Voters were decisive in rejecting the ballot item in Tuesday's election with only 159 in favor of increasing the position while 804 voted no.
 
"It is what it is," said current Chief John Pansecchi, who had strongly advocated for the change. "Still have to do the job and still will do the job. I just hope that we have the manpower during the day because it is just going to get harder and harder."
 
The concept of a full-time fire chief arose late last year when Pansecchi went public with his desire to increase his position to full time.
 
Pansecchi, who also has a full-time job, felt with increased calls, duties, reporting, and inspections a full-time chief was needed. He also thought it would put the town in line with other smaller communities who have a full-time chief.
 
Pansecchi said he was not happy with the entire process and thought there was a campaign of misinformation working against him. In some cases, he alleged it was from the Prudential Committee members themselves.
 
"There were so many lies ... this is not the way to do this," he said. "It was put together to fail."
 
Pansecchi also advocated for a single full-time firefighter who would add consistent and faster response times during the day. This employee could also help with maintenance and share some of the administrative duties with the chief.  
 
This, too, failed to pass with only 133 votes in the positive and 830 in the negative.
 
Pansecchi said this is not the end and he will continue to push for the permanent positions he thinks is critical to the volunteer department.
 
"We have to do it ... just because it was voted down doesn't mean we can't look at it again," he said. "I have done ton of research on this."
 
Voter turnout was comparably high with 975 votes cast out of the 5,045 eligible voters. Treasure Kathleen Fletcher said typically they just break 100 votes.
 
As for the Fire District annual meeting, members voted on 18 articles much of which were procedural items voted on annually.
 
The warrant included an array of articles that built out the $2,177,361 budget, which is down 21 percent from this year's budget of $2,777,800.
 
Articles 10 through 15 represented state mandates from the Departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Recreation that if not approved would come with a greater cost.
 
District members accepted these articles with little pause and flew through the warrant in 15 minutes.
 
Members also accepted Article 10 that allocates $100,000 to continue the process of replacing aging water meters and Article 11 that allocates $35,000 to develop an asset management plan.
 
Article 12, which allocates $66,500, for the Master Plan passed as well as Article 13 that puts $24,000 aside for an Emergency Action Plan.
 
The majority of district members accepted Article 14, which appropriates $15,500 for an emergency response plan, and Article 15, which allocates $21,500 to update the operations and maintenance manual.
 
Article 16, the last budgetary vote of the night, asked the district to place $25,000 in the stabilization fund.
 
Almost 60 district members were present at the meeting that adjourned at 7:15 once the warrant was voted on and again a little after 7:30 once the ballot votes were completely tallied.

Tags: annual meeting,   fire chief,   fire district,   

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