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King George supervisors finally get a report on their fire and rescue department's strategic plan-but don't make a single comment about it
By CATHY DYSON
For more than six months, members of the King George Board of Supervisors have waited for a report that addresses the needs of the county's fire and rescue system.
The supervisors got a presentation of the long-awaited report Tuesday night--and didn't have a single question or comment.
Instead, a member of the team that helped prepare the Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services' five-year strategic plan talked about the way it was put together. Willie Howlett, a consultant from Chesterfield County who has a background in emergency services and as a county administrator, gave the supervisors a brief overview.
He encouraged them to take the document home and study it--even though they'd had the draft since May 15 and had waited until July 10 to schedule a work session to talk about it.
Then Howlett praised the Fire and Rescue Department.
"I can tell you without reservation that King George is ahead of very small and large organizations with this plan," said Howlett, who has worked with more than 40 local governments, as well as the state. "I think you'll see without a doubt how far advanced King George County is."
Howlett's presentation didn't address the heart of the matter: the needs of the county's Fire and Rescue Department.
He didn't mention the executive summary, which said the county needs at least seven people at each of its fire and rescue stations to meet safety standards.
That's a total of 21 paid workers, and the county has only 11 in place. What's more, it doesn't have anyone stationed at Fairview Beach.
Howlett pointed out the No. 1 concern cited in the report: that there's no way to track how the department actually performs.
The current computer system doesn't capture the necessary information, the report stated, so it's not possible to track how quickly units get to the scene, complete their mission and are back in service again.
The report the supervisors got Tuesday night sounded eerily similar to a presentation in December that first mentioned that county officials would be working on a strategic plan.
The December presentation was given by County Administrator Travis Quesenberry. It addressed a state audit of the county's fire and rescue system.