In a release, Fred Gralinksi of the Central Coventry Citizens Taskforce, said the meeting was an opportunity for officials to talk about carving up the CCFD responsibilities and spreading them to the other three fire districts in town.
Gralinski, also chairman of the CCFD, and vice-chairman Marie Baker were present to represent the CCFD taxpayers and fire district residents, but were told by Town Council President Gary Cote and State Representative Scott Guthrie that they “are not permitted to represent the District in this meeting,” the release stated.
Gralinski and Baker were two of seven new CCFD board members elected in Coventry in June. Gralinski was subsequently elected chairman, and Baker vice –chairman.
“CCFD taxpayers voted four times in the last year to reject excessive fire district budgets, and now, despite a court-ordered liquidation, Council president Cote and State Representative Guthrie are trying to find a way to extend the status quo, and eliminate anyone with an opposing view.
“This is simply a case of certain interests in Coventry out to pick over the bones,” Gralinski said. “There is no intention to consider the voice of CCFD taxpayers, or consider alternatives to carving up the district.
“Carving up the CCFD and assigning parts of its geographic responsibility will only pass on to other Coventry taxpayers the horrific expenses this fire district committed itself to.
“Instead of embracing the opportunity to bring CCFD’s exorbitant costs under control, the Town Council under Mr. Cote is looking to spread the expense among other fire districts in town, with the taxpayers having no say in the process.
“We know costs can be brought down, but at every turn, taxpayers face off against firefighter union leadership unwilling to accept the fact that there is no money left.
“Safety can be assured through a new charter which provides the ability for more efficient emergency services, and more efficient fire services. But as it is right now, the only voice the Town Council is listening to is that of firefighter leadership. So long as that continues, fire services in Coventry will continue to lead the state,” Gralinski said.