Silver Lake president resets future of fire department process

After over a year of debate and decisions, the Silver Lake Village Board appears to be back to square one with the issue of the future of the village’s fire department.

Village President Sue Gerber addressed the issue at the Village Board meeting Wednesday night during president’s comments. She said she would be calling a meeting between Silver Lake Fire Department Chief Andrew McFarlane, Silver Lake Rescue Squad Chief Bob Johnson, the members of the Village Board Emergency Services Department and herself next week to kick-off discussions.

The action is prompted by the Salem Town Board’s lack of action on an agreement for Salem Fire/Rescue to provide emergency medical services to the village, with Silver Lake Fire Department firefighters acting as first responders. That arrangement, approved by the Silver Lake Village Board in March, was the result of  over a year’s worth of discussion of options. It also meant the village would not be contracting for EMS with Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc. for over 30 years. Money saved by not contracting with Silver Lake Rescue was earmarked to pay for staffing the fire department around the clock.

Since approval of the agreement between Salem and Silver Lake was taking longer than anticipated to approve, the village at its last meeting agreed to contract with Silver Lake Rescue for 60 days with an optional 30-day extension.

Gerber, in her comments Wednesday (video of her whole comments above) , said the issue began with the fire department and that’s where she feels the discussion of the future needs to start.

“We need to get proactive on working on some kind of solution on our emergency services,” Gerber said. “This all started with deficiencies in our fire services. We need to either re-evaluate, regroup or re-organize. In talking to both parties (fire and rescue) I think that perhaps  that we can wipe the slate clean and start over …  We spent 18 months only to get nowhere except to create animosity and ill feelings between both departments and residents of our community.”

Gerber also reintroduced the idea of participating in a regional study of fire and rescue services being organized by the Bristol village government. But trustees still lacked enthusiasm for joining the study — which would cost $1 per resident — just as they did last time the study was discussed.

“I don’t think it’s feasible or worth our while,” said Trustee Pat Dunn. He added that the ad hoc committee formed by former President Jeff Albrecht essentially did the same work from a Silver Lake perspective for free.

Former Trustee Al Bryner, during citizen’s comments, said another regional study was already done and might be worth revisiting. Gerber said she would look into the study. McFarlane said he thought it was completed around 2001.

Related posts

Salem decides to not move forward with Silver Lake EMS agreement; will stay in regional fire service study

Silver Lake Village Board not enthusiastic about regional fire/ems study

Municipalities hear presentation on fire department consolidation study



  1. Salem Resident says:

    I am encouraged that the president of the Silver Lake board is going to start over with this issue. From my view in Salem, we would be opening our own can of worms to sign on to this “Agreement” that is so different than the current ones we have in place with other communities.
    Good luck. Take all the time you need.

  2. Bernard Punsley says:

    One word can describe Sue Gerber’s resetting the future of the fire department:

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