Robert Tansey and Desiree Smith; Marlboro Fire District 3 Election Candidates
Robert Tansey and Desiree Smith are seeking election to the Board of Fire Commissioners of Fire District No. 3, Township of Marlboro. Both candidates have lengthy, dedicated experience in volunteering their time to the emergency services within the Township.
Mr. Tansey is a past member and Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners and has been a volunteer member of the Morganville Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 and Marlboro Fire Company for a combined total of 37 years, serving as a firefighter, President and Chief.
Ms. Smith is a Morganville native who has served for over 40 years as a volunteer with the Morganville First Aid Squad, and has held the positions of President and Trustee.
Ms. Smith’s decision to run for office stems from her concern about the financial future of the fire service as
she feels the present Board is doing a “grave disservice” to the community and taxpayers by failing to follow the recommendations of a municipal fire protection consultant relative to the merger of the two fire companies
serving the District.
She states that in 2010 the Board paid a consultant eighteen thousand dollars ($18,000) to perform a study of the delivery of fire protection within the District.
The consultant recommended a merger of the
two companies and consolidation of apparatus, equipment, personnel and operations to the Morganville Volunteer Fire Company on Tennent Road, until such time that a new building could be constructed on a neutral piece of property.
Mr. Tansey, who was Chairman of the Board at that time, states that the Board “unanimously resolved to follow the recommendations of the consultant”. From 2010 through August of 2012, the two (2) companies relocated all apparatus, equipment and personnel to the Morganville Volunteer Firehouse on Tennent Road and effectively delivered fire protection to the District.
Ms. Smith states that “while the merger had its ups and downs for the past two years, they were heading in the right direction”. The current Board “disregarded the consultant’s recommendations” and reinstituted emergency response from the two (2) stations. Ms. Smith attributes the Board’s action to a composition change in its membership.
She states that “the majority of the present Board are members of the Morganville Independent Fire Company” and that their decision, in her opinion, “is not one made in good faith and with disinterest”.
Instead of focusing on finding a new location, the Independent Fire Company, with the support of the present Board, is proposing to spend a lot of money to renovate their building and add an addition to accommodate the equipment.
She looks at the merger much like a marriage in which there needs to be open dialog and compromise. One fire station, as recommended by the consultant, would increase efficiency, decrease costs and duplication of equipment, and help to solidify morale by creating a single Fire Department with all personnel working together for the benefit of the community. Without any additional cost to the taxpayer the Morganville Volunteer Fire Company can accommodate that goal. Mr. Tansey adds that “the decision to disband the merger is not in the public’s interest”.
Both Mr. Tansey and Ms. Smith oppose the Board’s decision to purchase a six hundred thousand dollar ($600,000) engine/pumper as the hired consultant concluded that the District had “too much equipment” and “apparatus” and did not function effectively or economically, thus requiring merger and downsizing of its fire apparatus fleet.
Such a large expenditure should be placed on the annual Fire District election ballot for the taxpayers to approve or reject.
Instead the current Board held a special meeting just two (2) months before the annual election to approve the purchase from the surplus account. Decisions like these are why they have chosen to run for Fire Commissioner.
Mr. Tansey pledges with Ms. Smith “to continue the merger and consolidation”. Ms. Smith states that “unless this occurs, unnecessary and duplicative spending will continue”.
The Fire District election will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2013, at the Morganville Fire House, 78 Tennent Road, between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Both candidates request the support of all registered voters.