Silver Lake Rescue Squad president airs concerns about possible merger process

The president of the Silver Lake Rescue Squad said his organization has concerns about the process being spearheaded by the Silver Lake village president to explore the long-term futures of the rescue squad and Silver Lake Fire Department.

Late last year, village President Jeff Albrecht formed an ad hoc committee to formulate long term plans for the departments. Out of early meetings of that group, made up mostly of experienced firefighters from various area municipalities, a consensus to recommend exploring a consolidation of the fire and rescue departments quickly developed.

Wednesday night, Dan Gerber, president of the rescue squad, made a statement expressing the squad’s dissatisfaction, disappointment and even confusion about the process so far.

“I’m very confused at this time,” Gerber said.

It appears to recue squad representatives that they will only be able to be part of the process if they pre-agree to go ahead with a merger.

“We don’t even get to talk about it or discuss it,” Gerber said.

Gerber said rescue squad representatives have been open to the discussion, but they would also like to be able to seek answers from the Village Board to some key questions before committing to a merger such as:

  • Will a merger really increase manpower?
  • Will a merger really be more economical?

“We’re open to discussion on this … But we’ve been shut out,” Gerber said.

Albrecht did not respond extensively, but did say he felt an email message that he sent to Gerber was misunderstood.

“The tenor of what was read tonight is incorrect,” Albrecht.

He also invited everyone to attend the next ad hoc committee meeting, which is scheduled for Feb. 22 starting at 6:30 p.m.

“We’re exploring every option,” Albrecht said. “Everyone is invited. It’s a very big tent.”

The Silver Lake Fire Department is in effect owned by the village. The Silver Lake Rescue Squad is a separate private corporation that the village contracts with for emergency medical services. It also serves parts of Brighton, Salem and Randall.



  1. It is time for says:

    It is time for Silver Lake Rescue to become a Village entity, not an adhoc, private club that just happens to have a great montra. Or, for Silver Lake to contract out the work where the village leaders have control over the entity. I saw for the first time just what a club mindset can do against helping a person in need during the program at the Legion Hall after Memorial Day Parade last year. A kid from the band unit preparing to perform in the parking lot there collapsed. I dont know the specifics but I do know that Salem Rescue was within 100 ft of the kid, truck and qualified personnel and they had to wait for Silver Lake Rescue to arrive. They had to wait! Something is wrong when this kind of thing occurs. I have to wonder why Salem was there in the first place if they were hogtied from rescuing a kid, a person, in need. The procedure that Salem had to follow seemed petty and I wonder what the parents thought about this after the kid was back to normal. I would rather than Silver just contract with Salem for Fire and Rescue both. Albrecht has the right idea even tho it means stepping on toes of the club. The club members are entitled to grow and become an official entity. Maybe it is time to do that.It isnt the job of the Rescue squad to GROW or ECONOMICS of our village. That is the job of the trustees and I would like the trustees to be able to monitor, measure and make a department that works and is dependable – either as a village department or a subcontractor – and that can be measured and adjusted based on the needs and knowledge of the village direction. I think that those at Wilmot Mountain see some of what I saw at the parade on a regular basis. “IT’s OURS” “It’s OURS”. It is time for this MINE mindset to stop.

  2. It is NOT time for says:

    It response to the person that left the first comment. Silver Lake Rescue is not a CLUB. It is a not-for-profit corporation that is CONTRACTED, (JUST LIKE SALEM WOULD BE) to provide 911 services to Silver Lake and several of the surrounding communities such as Wheatland, Randall, Salem and Brighton. Silver Lake Rescue has over 20 employees that provide 24 hour a day coverage for the Village of Silver Lake. They have a paid 12 hour day shift and everyone has an assigned 12 hour duty night that they volunteer their time to cover. When they were asking how the merger would impact the village, many of the members live in the village and pay taxes to Silver Lake. Right now the cost to the village is $27,000 dollars a year, that’s all!! They maintain and purchase the ambulances, own the building, pay for all the up keep for said building, and ask nothing more from the village. That $27,000 dollars doesn’t even cover the costs of their insurance bill. You talk about Salem coming in and covering the village, well Paddock Lake is almost the same size as Silver Lake and it costs them $147,000 to provide fire and rescue services. Regarding the call at the Legion, if it was an immediate life threat and Salem Rescue was there, they would have treated that person without hesitation. Likewise if Silver Lake Rescue was at the Salem parade and a person passed out, they would also provide first responder care until Salem Rescue arrived on scene and Salem would be the ones to transport. I just happened to be at the Legion that day, and that is exactly what happened. Salem Rescue provided first responder care until Silver Lake Rescue arrived 3 minutes later. The bottom line is that Silver Lake Rescue sounds like they are willing to discuss merger with the village, but they also want to make sure that it truly is going to be beneficial to the village and to the people they employ. I’m sure you would have questions too if the village wanted to take over your private company, you would be lying if you didn’t. Maybe you should go and talk to them; I see them at Scully’s several times a week and talk to their people all the time. They are very nice and they have always answered my questions. I live in the village, maybe they should try and fix the fire department first, before trying to combine the two…..

  3. Ricki says:

    I was at the meeting. As with all government meetings, items cannot be discussed by the board or it’s president unless it is on the posted agenda. President of the Rescue Squad, Dan Gerber, vented his concerns during the Citizens Comments portion of the meeting. If he really wanted answers or guidance, he should have asked one of the trustees (perhaps his mother) to put him on the agenda for discussion of merger concerns. Instead he stood and complained knowing that neither the village president or the trustees could respond, leaving them looking indifferent when that was not the case. I haven’t been interested in following the recommendations of the ad hoc committee, but would like to give one bit of advise to Mr. Gerber. It seems like the Rescue Squad is the 20 year old rich girl contemplating an engagement with a 35 year old ne’er-do-well. You hold all the negotiating cards, the answers to all your questions are whatever your membership determines they should be in your pre-nuptual agreement, should you accept the marriage proposal. The bottom line is both sides should be more concerned with the health, safety and welfare of the village residents now and in the future than protecting your fiefdoms.

  4. DG says:

    Good Day,
    First off lets clear up some stuff. I first would like to talk about comment #1.
    Dear “It’s time for” I would like to address that Silver Lake Rescue is not a club, we are a private corporation that contracts it services to the village.
    What you saw the first time at the program at the legion was your interpitation of what happened, let me give you the real story as I was one of to people of duty the day for the rescue squad, Salem was there as they were enjoying the program and when the patient colapsed they acted in a proffesional manner as they are well trained, they asked for Silver Lake Rescue to the scene which we were three blocks down the street, No one was hogtied, proper protocol was followed and the patient turned out to be fine, there was no procedure that was dictated to Salem Rescue, they acted in a very professional manner and the patient was well attended to – again we were three blocks away. You also go on to ask “what his parents must have thought” well let me inform you I personally know his father who was with him, and guess what his father has MD after his name and he was very pleased with the service he recieved. As for grow or economics, these items have been discussed by the ad hoc committee – look in the minutes of the meeting from Tuesday January 10th, its stated in the “pros” that it will do this. I also do not quit understand what your talking about in as to Wilmot Mountain, “Its ours” – “Its ours, well it is in our contracted response area so yes you are right “it’s ours” just as any other area that is contracted by Silver Lake Rescue – So I don’t really understand what your saying there.
    On Comment #2
    Dear “It’s not time for” – Thank you for understanding.
    On Comment #3
    Dear “Ricki” Thank you for pointing out the fact about the agenda and such, I do understand that – the reasons for venting my concerns at the meeting were very simple, We provided a list of questions to the Village President as stated in the January 10th meeting of the Ad Hoc committee, those questions in my opinion were dismissed, I was not wanting answers or guidance – I wanted the village board to know we are open to discussion, the reason for Silver Lake Rescue not being on the agenda was unfortunatly due to timing, my reason again for bringing it up at the citizens portion was again to inform the board and make it clear we are open for discussion, we wanted everyone to know we are open to discussions, I also did not stand and complain knowing that the Village President or Trustees respond, here is the law on open meetings.
    Although it is not required, the open meetings law does permit a governmental body to set aside a portion
    of an open meeting as a public comment period. Wis. Stat. §§ 19.83(2) and 19.84(2). Such a period must be
    included on the meeting notice. During such a period, the body may receive information from the public and may
    discuss any matter raised by the public. If a member of the public raises a subject that does not appear on the
    meeting notice, however, it is advisable to limit the discussion of that subject and to defer any extensive deliberation
    to a later meeting for which more specific notice can be given. In addition, the body may not take formal action on a
    subject raised in the public comment period, unless that subject is also identified in the meeting notice.
    They were able to discuss it if they so choosed, my intent was not to engage them, and President Albrect did state that this will be discussed further at the next Ad Hoc meeting.
    Im not quite sure what the 20 year old rich girl – 35 year old ne’er do well, is supposed to mean.
    The Rescue Squad is very dedicated and concerned about the welfare, health and safety of the village resident as is the Fire Department and the Village Board. I also do not like the fiefdom reference, we are not a dominant person or group – we are a coporation that is looking for answers and open for discussion.
    Thank you all for your comments.

  5. mike says:

    a couple more things to consider.

    Both fire and rescue exist to serve the citizens of Silver Lake and some surrounding area. Both are good organizations with what seems like some pretty good dedicated people. But it is wrong for Rescue to consider themselves a private corporation that is totally independent of the desire of the community.

    The Village of Silver Lake owns the building/land that The Silver Lake Rescue Squad uses and leases it back to them for just $1/year. The Village of Silver Lake subsidizes rescue an additional $27,000 per year. The Rescue Squad charges for their services – the fire department does not.

    It seems to me that both departments would be stronger in many ways by working with one another as one unit, rather than two. Aren’t there already many members who already work and volunteer for both?

    Let’s ask this – what plan benefits the citizens of Silver Lake the most? In the end isn’t that what really matters?

  6. Robert says:

    mr gerber get used to it this is silver lake the less you express yourself the better off you are..

  7. Couple more things to consider says:

    To Mike: You are ABSOLUTELY correct sir! The people that are served are the most important item on the list. Silver Lake Rescue has been serving those people for over 50 years and has done a great job.

    The Village of Silver Lake contracts them for $27,000 dollars a year, and yes, they did sign a 99 year lease for the land they are currently on, but the village does NOT own the building. Silver Lake Rescue paid to have the building built and they OWN it. They also pay for all the utilities and upkeep of the building, the ambulances, fuel, supplies, training, equipment, payroll and land that they use.

    Silver Lake Rescue has many questions that need to be answered and has submitted several questions to Mr. Albrecht only to get a reply that we can’t answer these questions unless you commit to a merger. I was at the meeting and talked with Mr. Gerber and saw the email that was sent to him the day of the board meeting. The questions were submitted to Mr. Albrecht 5 days before the village meeting and he waited till the day of the meeting to tell Mr. Gerber that it would be inappropriate to answer these questions unless you agree to a merger and if “you decide not to participate, the committee will proceed with whatever options remain to be considered.” It was too late for Mr. Gerber to get on the agenda for the meeting to respond to the letter, so he brought it up in the citizen’s comments section of the meeting.

    Silver Lake Rescue will be on the next agenda so the best thing is for everybody who is interested and concerned about the merger process is to attend the next several village board meetings and hear for themselves what is going on and be involved in the process. Like you said Mike, the community deserves the BEST level of care and service possible. If people have questions I’m sure they will have a chance to get them answered at this time. However if this merger process was just a ploy by Mr. Albrecht, like the building inspector, to get Salem Fire and Rescue to take over the village, that too I’m sure will come out as well in these merger discussions.

  • Follow us on

  • Archives