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King George supervisor asks former fire and rescue volunteers if they'd come back, if changes were made
By CATHY DYSON
King George County Supervisor John LoBuglio is asking former fire and rescue volunteers why they left the service and if they'd be willing to come back, if changes are made.
Among the changes listed in the five-page questionnaire are: firing Fire and Rescue Chief David Moody, severely limiting his authority and abolishing a 2008 ordinance that put him in charge of both career staff and volunteers.
"This was not done to attack anyone," LoBuglio said Monday. "Some of the questions may be taken that way, OK, but they need to be asked."
LoBuglio said the questionnaire, which also asks about the operation of the department, its policies and the creation of a fire, rescue and EMS advisory commission, was his idea.
Two former volunteers, whom he wouldn't name, sent out the forms and came up with the 16 questions, which LoBuglio tweaked.
LoBuglio's name is not on the form, which went to about 35 county residents who are volunteering with fire and rescue departments in other localities or not volunteering at all.
LoBuglio did not tell fellow supervisors of his plans. He said he wanted to wait and see what responses he got.
"I didn't want to make this an issue for the entire board unless it comes back with significant information," LoBuglio said.
But the issue of fire and rescue coverage has been discussed regularly among board members all year. During a March town-hall meeting hosted by Supervisor Ruby Brabo, Chief Moody and Volunteer Chief Ted Lovell said the department had "serious issues," including inadequate staffing.
Brabo, LoBuglio and Chairman Cedell Brooks Jr. seemed poised in April to raise real-estate taxes to fund the budget and hire three more paid fire and rescue workers.
But that plan failed when LoBuglio was influenced by a group of residents and decided he couldn't support a tax increase at all.
Meanwhile, supervisors just received a strategic plan from Moody and others about future staffing needs of the fire and rescue department. The board is supposed to set a time to discuss that plan, probably in June.
Chairman Brooks, who's the liaison between the supervisors and the fire and rescue department, didn't know until Monday that LoBuglio was behind the questionnaires.