KEGELMAN: Fire Commissioner Campaign Questioned

Letter from Joan Kegelman

Fire Commissioner
Campaign Questioned

It is our opinion that the residents of the Fly Creek Fire District were misled during the campaign regarding the recent election. It is unfortunate that there are people who continue to jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of our residents by insisting the district doesn’t have to follow state-mandated guidelines because “we do things differently in Fly Creek.”

I understand that when the town clerk/district treasurer was asked by several residents inquiring about the resolutions regarding capital reserve funds, she suggested that if they didn’t know what they were, to vote “NO,” rather than explaining that the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York suggests and uses reserve accounts for responsible fiscal planning and the Office of the State Comptroller has set the guidelines for these accounts authorized by the General Municipal Law.

The resolutions were on the ballot because the audit conducted throughout this past summer by the Office of the State Comptroller found the treasurer needed more oversight and the district needed to also implement a procurement policy. Four of the resolutions were to create individual accounts to provide specific funds for capital improvement for the building, for new apparatus, new equipment (“first due” truck keeps breaking down) and ongoing repairs.

None of these capital reserves are nefarious, they only represent sound financial planning and would provide complete transparency regarding spending of the taxpayers money. The fifth resolution was to transition the role of treasurer from an elected position to an appointed role, which would give the commissioners the ability to hire a treasurer who meets the requirements of the Office of the State Comptroller.

Following the election, it was brought to our attention that a flyer was circulated stating that the resolutions would prevent the commissioners from having the flexibility in spending the district funds. The “flexibility for spending the funds” is much like “we do things differently in Fly Creek,” which is not in line with the intentions of the General Municipal Law of New York State.

The community needs to become informed and more actively aware of the infrastructure of their district.
This is not a game, lives are at stake.

Joan C. Kegelman
Chair of Board of Commissioners,
Fly Creek Fire District and The Fire Chief
and The Assistant Fire Chiefs of Fly Creek

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