Silver Lake rescue squad contract extended for a month

SLB Meeting - 02 20 13 002_opt

The Silver Lake Village Board met in the Riverview Grade School cafeteria earlier this evening to discuss two controversial issues.  About fifty people gathered to hear the discussions.  Board President Jeff Albrecht altered the order of the agenda and said that the discussion on the two items could be combined.

The first issue had to do with the Town of Salem emergency agreement, whereby the town would provide medical transport services to Silver Lake.  Albrecht’s motion to have Silver Lake Fire provide first response, with paramedic-level service and transport provided by Salem Rescue, thus ending the village’s contract with the private Silver Lake Rescue, Inc., was defeated by a vote of 3 to 4.  Those voting for were Albrecht, Cyndy Schwebke, and Patrick Dunn.  Those voting against contracting with Salem were David Snow, Michael Decker, Sotiria Wilber, and Sue Gerber.

The second issue had to do with the Silver Lake Rescue Squad contract.  The motion made by Snow was to extend the contract for one month starting on March 1st and ending on March 31st.  The reason for the extension was so that a contract to extend the services on a long-term basis could be negotiated.  The vote was unanimous, with Gerber abstaining from the vote.

Several citizens spoke during their portion of the meeting.  Ramona Andre thanked the Silver Lake Fire Department, the Silver Lake Board, and the Silver Lake Rescue Department for their services.   She stated that she has every confidence that the groups will work together and resolve the issue, “putting their egos and personalities aside.”  Roger Clark wondered how the board was able to make an informed decision without reviewing any budget numbers.  Colleen Dykstra stated that she had wanted to be placed on tonight’s agenda in order to get her questions answered, but found that effort thwarted.  She was, however, promised to be placed on a future agenda.

Chris Willkomm wanted to know what the board intended to achieve with the consolidation.  He urged the board to “honor the people’s wants.”  Lori Starkey said that she felt like she was living in a town of Hatfields and McCoys.  “This is immature and ridiculous,” she said.  Starkey continued, “If you don’t like the board, vote someone else in, and then trust them to do the job.”  Dave Faber called for a referendum to let the people vote on it.  Andrew McFarland, the fire chief, spoke with eight of his fire fighters standing up behind him to show their support.  He mentioned the lack of not working together, and that there was no unity between the two departments.  Gary Faber said that there were 1,600 people in the village to listen to.  “These people put you in office.  You need to explain the reasons why and show your facts and figures.”

Frank Gagliardi, representing Silver Lake Rescue Squad, Inc., spoke of extending the olive branch and trying to work together.  He mentioned the reduced retainer from $27,000 to $7,500, allowing $19,500 to go to the Fire Department.  “This will allow them the opportunity to succeed.”  They offered to match the contract of Salem.  “Whatever the vote is, vote for Salem or the Silver Lake contract, it still needs approval by the Salem board.  After the election, you may be dealing with the Salem Rescue.  If you don’t win the election, it will need to be reviewed again.”  He urged the board to listen to the people, and wished them good luck.

Greg Galich described an incident a few days ago whereby the Silver Lake Fire Department arrived on the scene in less than five minutes and provided life support to an injured person.   They worked together with the Salem Fire Department.  “This was team work at its best,” he stated.  He said that he supported the Town of Salem providing paramedic services to Silver Lake.   Kimberly Gerber commended Gagliardi for making definite strides in getting the people to work together.  “Haven’t all of you seen the ‘Save Silver Lake Rescue’ red signs all over your lawns?” she asked.  She urged the board to start over.  “Or, are your egos too big?”

Roger Patty wanted to know why Silver Lake Rescue was not interested in the process from the very beginning.  Andrew Burns, assistant chief of the Fire Department, said that “this whole process has given the fire department a black eye.”  He stated that he’s been a volunteer fire fighter for eight years without pay.  He said that he didn’t want pay; he just wanted to help.

SLB Meeting - 02 20 13 003_opt

The board discussion then ensued.  Snow gave some statistics for 2012.  There were 188 calls, five were cancelled, five were deceased at the scene, etc.  In all, there were 19 basic life support calls, 89 intermediate life support calls, and two paramedic intercepts. He urged for the neighboring communities “to have each other’s backs.”  He said that he was the most vocal supporter until he saw the three-page letter from an outsider’s perspective.

Albrecht said that before the rescue contract renewal/fire department future issue arose, he wasn’t aware that there were five levels of care.  “Once the community understands this, if they have the ability to step up in care, they should do it.” (Note: I added the context to the lead-in to the above quote concerning when Albrecht bceame aware of the levels of care. He felt our original presentation was misleading. As he explained in an email to “My reference was that at the start of the process I was unaware that there was a difference in ambulance and EMS care, and theorized that most citizens are also unaware that there are differences. That referred to Dr. Ancharya’s comment (your quoted comment above) stating the same, and that once citizens are aware of the differences, that they then tend to request higher levels of care. Out of context it appears that I am currently unaware that there are five levels of care, which is incorrect.” — DH) This was what was stated in the three-page letter from the two Wheatland representatives.  A quote was read, “Budget concerns dictate the level of care received.”  He also felt that Silver Lake needed help from their neighbors.

Decker said that his biggest concern was what would happen two years from now.  He felt that they “were kicking the can down the road.  What happens two years from now, when we no longer have Silver Lake Rescue?  What happens when Salem says to us, ‘It’s not working for us financially any more’?”  He said that there’s a reason why there is a meeting scheduled in March with the west of the I communities.  He stated that he was worried that the board would find out later that they did the wrong thing, and then be stuck.

Wilber said that she had several items she wanted addressed in the Silver Lake Rescue Squad contract, such as the reference of the wording of the contract with Salem written out completely.  That’s when Albrecht suggested a ninety-day contract with Silver Lake Rescue until after the board election, but Wilber said that she didn’t want to do that.  She was hoping that a meeting with Gagliardi could be scheduled and that a contract could be negotiated before the second board meeting in March.  Gagliardi recommended sixty days; he said that he thought thirty days would be too tight of a time frame.  He said that the month-to-month contract could be severed and that they could move to a pro-rated annual contract.  What was approved was the cost for the month of March at $625, and the one-month contract extension to negotiate longer term services.


Other items unanimously approved at the meeting included:

  • The annual audit engagement letter with Andrea & Orendorff for a reduced rate of $18,500 (from $21,500 last year).  This will entail an audit of the entire village.  A public presentation would be given, as well as a letter of their findings, probably in May or June.  This should satisfy Clark’s concerns.  He said that he will review last year’s audit findings.
  • The second reading and adoption of Ordinance 501 amending Ordinance 490, Purchasing Policy.
  • The second reading and adoption of Ordinance 502 amending Ordinance 294, Vehicle Code.
  • The issue of the insurance coverage for the Fire Department Association under the village’s insurance was tabled.  Schwebke said that there was one more phone call that needed to be made.
  • The issue of the approval of the Fire Department salaries was also tabled.  Linda Gray, the attorney, concurred that both this issue and the draft ordinance for salaries should both be tabled.
  • The liquor license for the Silver Lake Fire Fighters Association for the Baggo Tournament on March 2nd, 2013, was approved.
  • The board also authorized Crispell-Snyder to process the municipal storm water permit annual report form.  Albrecht said that a company by the name of GAI acquired Crispell-Snyder, and that any changes would be transparent.

None of the committees had any reports to share.



  1. Care? or lack of it? says:

    There are specific levels of care.
    EMT Basic
    EMT Intermediate Tech
    EMT Intermediate
    Critical Care Paramedic

    Silver Lake Rescue is at the Tech level.

    As a citizen, I would want a Paramedic level at my side from the first response.
    Silver Lake Rescue isn’t staffed fully with Paramedic level employees.

    It appears that I will get Tech level help if I am in Silver Lake unless Salem Rescue Service comes to my aide.

    Vote **for** the three Albrecht, Cyndy Schwebke, Patrick Dunn each in their turn
    Kick the others **out*** David Snow, Michael Decker, Sotiria Wilber, Sue Gerber because they don’t appreciate Paramedic level care for us.

  2. Dying N. Silverlake says:

    The Silver Lake village board appointed an ad hoc committee to address the long term viability of Silver Lake Fire Dept. The committee proposed 5 options with the first option of having Silver Lake Fire and Silver Lake Rescue combine forces into one department. Silver Lake Rescue was not interested in this option and wanted nothing to do with the process. The second option was for Salem Fire/Rescue to provide paramedic service and transport to the village in exchange for Silver Lake Fire covering certain areas of the Salem Fire response area.

    When it appeared that there was going to be a deal made with Salem, then all of the sudden, Silver Lake Rescue wanted to be involved in the process. Silver Lake Rescue began a campaign of half-truths and outright lies in order to “plead their case.”

    In the end, the Silver Lake village board forgot why they had appointed the ad hoc committee and disregarded the recommendations made by the committee. So, now the village is left in the same sinking boat that it was in a year and a half ago, unable to continue to fund both departments into the forseeable future.

    Dave Snow should be commended for his skill with a knife, for not only was he able to stab Silver Lake Fire in the back, he also killed the chances for the people of Silver Lake to ensure the highest level of care, on every call, in the shortest amount of time, and without a “competing agency” being able recognize the need, be willing to make the call, and do it in a timely manner.

  3. Neither Sider says:

    I attended the Wednesday night meeting. The crowd was like a wedding of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. During citizens comments the Hatfield side sat quietly allowing the McCoy’s to say their peace. The McCoy side, on the other hand, chatted among themselves and chortled when a Hatfield spoke. They applauded wildly when they agreed with what was being said. They came not only to influence, but to intimidate. The one thing they repeatedly called for was a referendum on the issue. On this point I agree. Silver Lake has a population of 2,411 people of which approximately 1,950 are of voting age. The facebook page ‘Save Silver Lake Rescue’ in the months it has been up has gotten 83 likes. The same 83 vociferous folks who keep showing up and interfering with progress in the village, I assume. Even a non-binding referendum would give the board a clear view of what the majority of the citizens really want and not just what those who have a vested interest in the outcome are touting or shouting as it were.

  4. Its a dump says:

    Silver Lake is a dump. I’ve lived here 36 years, and I haven’t seen ANY improvement. Silver Lake should just shut down and let Salem take over completely. Its small town politics that’s ruining this fine village. Its too bad…Silver Lake could have alot of potential!

  5. its a dump says:

    It is a highly TAXED dump, I thought for sure that the new board had every thing going on the straight and narrow,and was looking forward to new things to happen. The SLR and SLFD or SLFD and Salem would have been a step in the right direction. It is to bad that Wilber, Snow, and Decker were builled into making this decision,two of the three are seeking another term in office this April mabe they are looking for the votes.

  6. My Side in Silver Lake says:

    Hey is Linda Valentine moving into the Village of Silver Lake as “neither sider” she seems to be very interested in the status of the Village of Silver Lake, I only ask because I know that in the Town of Salem she was only in office as Town Chairperson for 1 term till the people of Salem booted her out of there.
    Then her husband would go to the meetings and yap, yap, yap about something.
    IDK maybe she is going to run for Village President as she is so concerned with what happens in the Village and maybe Jeff Albrecht is going to run for Salem Town Chair?
    Remeber it’s the people who choose, maybe if you would have listened to your constituents more instead of you and your husband running your mouths maybe you would still be in office.
    “The problem with close minded people is that their mouths are always open”.

  7. Daniel Gerber says:

    Bullied, really!!!! I think a group of talented an inspiring group of board members looked at the entire issue, again I cannot believe that they actually looked at all the options and voted….. you know what boooo hoooo!
    Now if you want to talk about being bullied, persuaded, an actually told to look in the eyes of all the firefighters an tell them why you voted against this……it was even better when he “BO” or whatever he wants to be called from the AD HOC committee made a fool of himself stating “the vote was 6 to 1 what happened? Seems to draw attention to the fact AD HOC committee had an agenda that Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc was not involved from the start.
    Plus why was the AD HOC committee so involved at the board meetings as of late.
    I thought they were to make recommendations to the village, and let them decide?
    Why is the AD HOC committee getting involved now? Was Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc. never involved from the beginning?

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