Egg Harbor Township Mayor James “Sonny” McCullough has appointed an ad-hoc commission to “consider concerns with the fire department and review current ordinances,” however McCullough and fire officials declined to specify what those concerns may be.
Representatives from the Bargaintown and Scullville fire companies have attended several meetings of the Township Committee in recent months, speaking cryptically about issues with township code and policy.
“They’re going to create a problem if we don’t get them resolved,” said Wallace Shields, a former chief of Scullville and the township, at a meeting last week.
After the ad-hoc commission was announced Tuesday, Shields said the concerns had to do with both “personnel and policy,” but declined to comment further.
“You’re looking at 10-plus years since we looked into these ordinances to upgrade these things,” he said. “That may be what’s needed.”
The Egg Harbor Township Fire Department is an all-volunteer organization consisting of five companies that hold a joint meeting each October to nominate a township fire chief from among their ranks. According to township code, which was last amended in 2002, the chief has “full command at a fire or alarm of fire” and must inspect all companies annually.
McCullough said he’s asked five former chiefs — including Shields — to review the ordinances and come up with recommendations for the Township Committee. He said some issues may have stemmed from possible actions taken by Township Chief William Danz.
“The only recourse they have is to appeal to the Township Committee, which they declined to do, or ask the governing body or myself to form an ad-hoc commission.”
McCullough said he doesn’t know all of the issues at hand but is confident in the ability of the newly-formed group.
“When a former chief of the Egg Harbor Township fire department comes in and says he feels there’s some problems . . . I think it’s something that needs to be addressed,” he said.
Bargaintown Fire Chief Robert Dube and Scullville Fire Chief Mike Fiedor, who have both attended Township Committee meetings, did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday. Danz also did not respond to a request for comment.
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