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Let Us Not Be Penny-Wise & Pound-Foolish

Dear Selectmen & Selectwomen,

   No one appreciates volunteerism more than I do having served on a number of committees over the years. In your case, you were voted into office by your fellow townspeople, rising to an even higher level of service.  So I salute you for that service, but want to express my thoughts on, perhaps, going overboard to tackle issues within our town.  Specifically, I am referring to the needs of our fire department.  

   When the Groton went through the process of hiring a professional Fire Chief there were many candidates, and as subsequent interviews took place, a final selection was made to hire the best of the best. The Fire Chief has a job description and is paid to make decisions that will protect our town now and into the future. The Chief has asked for an increased level of manpower to handle what he deems necessary to provide a margin of safety for our community.

   Now for the second time in the past few years, the Board feels the need to question the professional judgment of one of its most important professionals by forming a committee to analyze his recommendations? If I were a professional hired to make these decisions only to have them questioned and assessed by an independent group, I would feel disrespected. We already lost a police chief to these kind of machinations and obviously have not learned from the experience.

   Over the years, this town has spent much more money on other projects than is being requested. Some of these programs have not worked out, but what could be more important than saving lives and property? Who better to assess the need than the professional you hired? Whether you make $20,000 a year or one million, the cost to fund saving even one life is well worth the price.

  At the meeting this week at the fire station, citizens and emergency personnel voiced their opinions. It was pretty unanimous that this audience supported the recommendations of our Fire Chief. Let us not be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Whether it is a ballot question for an override or a town meeting vote, the answer would be resounding support for the Chief’s proposal.

Sincerely,

Alexander Woodle

20 Highland Road

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