Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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UPDATED: Resumes for most Fire and Rescue Commission members

Kevin Dillard

Wanda Gardner

Mark Kuechler

Jeffrey Bailey

Dr. Travis Jasper

Dr. Raymond Bell

Fred Messing

Jason Irby (NEW)

I am trying to get the resumes for Jason Irby, president of Career Firefighters Union and the Mary Washington representative.


  • ramshead89

    Why is there a pastor on the board? I didn’t see a mention of fire/ems systems in his resume. I don’t doubt that he could learn about it because again they seem highly qualified to do whatever they want with their lives. But what time has he spent with firefighters and EMT’s? same with jasper… thats great if we are trying to upgrade our protocols to something more progressive, however what is their agenda with the fire rescue system, what goals do they have in mind. I am not doing this as an attack, i really don’t know. I have never met them or heard their plans, so it would be nice to have their letter of intent or something along those lines.

  • dtelvock

    Ramshead, Mr/ Bell’s resume shows he has a lot of experience in consensus building and faith, motivation etc. If the combined system is as truly broken as some of the comments we’ve seen portray, then maybe Mr Bell, as a citizen representative, will help bring everyone together?

    That was my own guess when I saw his resume. He can also do a pretty darn good prayer, as I have seen!

    But Fred Messing, the other citizen rep, has no F-R experience either.

    Does that help answer your question?

  • dtelvock

    Also, from experience Ramshead, Fire and Rescue Commissions in larger localities, and even ones similar in size to Spotsy, have medical people on the commission. Some require it in the bylaws.

  • Sam

    I had the same gut feeling. Seriously, seems like a sham to me. But I still scratch my head at Fred Messing on the board, he really seems like basically a politician oh thats right Committee…-500. Whatever, they got what they want. Give it time to sink or swim.

    Oh and Mr.Barnes, not everyone shares your religious faith and views. Please be mindful of that.

  • opiniontoshare

    In theory, I would think people on the commission without fire/rescue experience are supposed to represent the customers/taxpayers voices.

  • LarryG

    I would agree with opiniontoshare on the rationale for citizens to be represented and I would hope in areas like what the geographic response times are and are they representative of a community our size, etc.

    A commission alone though is problematical in taking leadership on some of these issues.

    If the FEMS folks line up on one side and the citizens on the other side – someone is going to have to step in and make a decision or we’re going to end up drifting like we did before.

    I think someone has to define work products and milestones and insure that the commission acts in a timely manner as opposed to what happened before with the State’s Recommendations that at some point – ( looking from the outside), there was no intention of dealing with them.

    we cannot fall back to that kind of process.

  • ramshead89

    I understand the need for them. Believe me to have people who are untrained that you have to persuade them by presenting your argument is better than having all fire rescue people. sometimes they need to prove justification for certain things. I’m more about separation of church and state because not all religions will say the same thing and look out for the greater good instead of their agenda. That is why having a pastor on the board kinda shakes me a little, but if he can be a politician and support what he says without the “will of God” argument I see nothing wrong with that.

    Any word on why though? I would really just like a statement of purpose, even if it was as small as “to look out for the greater good.”

    Does Jasper even live in Spotsylvania? Last I heard he was still back and forth with here and Hotlanta(formerly known as Atlanta, Georgia).

  • ramshead89

    maybe we should just get an outside person who doesn’t have an agenda to promote and just sits down and says heres what you need and here are ways to do it, pick one. One that doesn’t live in Spotsy so they don’t care if it gets run into the ground. We have people representing a volunteer agenda, people representing a Union agenda, and people representing a business, and another representing God (I guess thats what I’ll classify him as). It’s not their fault that they have an agenda to promote, thats what politicians are for. I think the least bias person on that panel is Wanda. She is a wonderful nurse and person in general. I do not talk to her on a regular basis, but i feel comfortable saying she has the least to lose or gain and truly has the public in mind.

  • ramshead89

    (that was me agreeing with you Larry)

  • Dan Telvock

    I could interview all new members for some profile stories if you all want me to do that. I’m your local reporter. Just say you want it and I will get to it.

  • SteveThomas

    Dan, is that a new policy? Because if so, I have a few ideas!

  • Dan Telvock

    Steve, there is no policy. I’m asking if those commenting would like to read some profiles from the commission members. Reporters take tips from the public all the time. If you have a tip or a good feature story idea, send me an e-mail.

    But, don’t misconstrue what I meant.

  • LarryG

    When we talk about transparency and accountability … like when Steve talks about tax increases – people who pay taxes don’t need to be experts in Govt administration or Law Enforcement or Teaching to be “represented”.

    Because they do pay taxes and they do receive the services, then they not only deserve representation but it is mandatory.

    The folks who deliver the services – no matter how good they are or how professional they are or how complicated or difficult their work is – at the end of the day – would not have jobs if it were not for the folks who pay and that needs to be part ad parcel of any system that is said to be “accountable”.

    So.. viewing county citizens as folks with an “agenda” is mixed up reasoning.

    They are, in fact, customers and tax payers – those who pay for the services.

  • SteveThomas

    No worries Dan, just tweaking you a little bit. Have a great weekend.

  • Sam

    Dan, how bout you request emailed questions, choose a few and let incorp. into a story.

  • Dan Telvock

    Sam et al,

    Why are Mr Bell and Mr. Jasper on the commission? After a night’s rest and a chat with some county officials, there are various reasons why they were chosen. Here are the key reasons.

    1. NAACP demanded more minority representation in county government. They got it.

    2. Mr. Jasper is the director of the emergency room at the county’s new hospital. What happens to every person on an ambulance? They go to a hospital. The two come together at some point, and most F-R Commissions have hospital representatives serving. Now the county has two hospital reps. The thought is that the county’s combined system can benefit from the knowledge of these hospital reps and vice versa.

  • Sam

    I am ok with the minority status these two bring to the table. But I am not so certain you see the bigger picture with the Hospitals. Sure any angle that shows working in conjuction with the big/only two in the area can’t hurt the EMS cause. But is this the only place we could work with the hospital staff???
    And you must keep in mind one thing that WILL ring true in time…
    Hospitals are FOR PROFIT institutions. Fire and EMS aren’t, a little bit of ‘the fox guarding the chickens’ IMO. I’ll leave it at that.

  • bhaas

    You know folks, most of us raised holy h*** on these blogs and elsewhere after the fatal incident in February. We all had our opinions about what should be done with Spotsy’s F&EMS service. However, I think it is fair to say that we all wanted the BOS and CA to TAKE ACTION.

    Well, they DID take action. In fact, IMHO “they” went further than I thought them capable of going. Now we are nit-picking the details of what has been done. Personally, I would have far rather have seen a “real” chief hired (or promoted from within), put in charge of the whole service, and the Commission “done away with.” Even Mr. Barnes has admitted that the County needs a chief in charge. However, I suspect that that step is one that will take more time.

    Do you not all think it might be a good idea to “take a rest” and let the “system” adjust itself before we continue complaining?

  • Fredtastic

    I’m in complete agreement with Bill. Mr. Barnes and his staff (and the BOS) have done a tremendous job pursuing the facts (as hard as they were to hear) and making appropriate (not knee-jerk) changes. Give them time to make it work.

    And Dr. Bell is a well-respected member of our community who has a place on that commission, despite his lack of experience on this issue. Pastors run into all different people and situations in their line of work and I believe he can lend great perspective to the experts on that commission.

  • Sam

    You’re right Bill. It’s easy to get lost in nit-picking so-much you rebreak the problem.

  • LarryG

    what Bill says about having a “strong” Chief – I fully support. And the BOS needs to hold him fully accountable.

    Whatever the commission does – needs to be in the form of recommendations to the Chief, his superior the CA and his superior the BOS.

    We need to have a top-down hierarchical structure that holds each level accountable to the level above it.

    That’s a big culture change perhaps but time and events have proven that the more autonomous way of operating simply has not worked and has spawned all manner of issues.

    I’m not sure exactly what finally spurred the BOS and the County Administrator to action – probably all these things coming together at the same time – but I am much relieved … and understanding that we’ve got lots of challenges still ahead.

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    DAN; just a reminder. When you obtain the resumes of those Commission members that were not provided here, please post them as soon as received.Thanks

  • Sams fire protection

    He can have as many qualifications and certificates as he likes, but nothing can account for real experience.

  • Sam

    The other Sam…

    Who are you referring to?

    I see your point but the point of this Board is a cross section of the Community as a whole.

    If they wanted experienced firefighters or lawyers I am sure you would have seen that on this Board.

  • Lookin

    How can you tell he has no experience. I am sure what they need is to get ride of the whole board in general and seek out one fire chief.

  • opiniontoshare

    I keep seeing “get rid of the board/commission and have one fire chief.” If there is one chief, who serves as a check and balance for the chief? One chief without a commission works fine as long as the chief is making all the right decisions, but not so great if the chief isn’t doing a good job. Should we also get rid of the school board and let the school superintendent run the schools however he/she likes, without oversight and input from board members focused on education? I wouldn’t count on the BOS to provide the needed oversight for the fire chief, because they have other fish to fry. The commission however is focused on fire/EMS.

  • bhaas

    Opiniontoshare makes an excellent point. However, at the present time our “chief” does not even have a vote. In the past he was one of five and at least three consistently outvoted the other two. Was that a reasonable “check and balance?” Not in my opinion.

    I have advocated a single chief and doing away with the commission. The commission I was familiar with was the former five member group. That system was NOT working.

    At this time, I am quite willing to have both; with the “chief,” FULLY qualified, and absolutely in charge of the operational aspects of the service AND with a vote on the “commission.”

    Now, as before, I further advocate that “we” sit back and observe while our dedicated members of F&EMS work through “this” reorganization. I predict further “fine tuning” as time passes.

  • Sam

    Ok so what Board does the Sheriff bargain and negotiate with?, my point is: It’s the Fire Chiefs job to run the entire department.
    They aren’t needed but I think this is a plan-A of sorts to keep as much as we currently have without drastic change.

  • LarryG

    Just FYI – the Sheriff is elected and the BOS can effectively decide what functions to fund or not so there is quite a bit more accountability present than there has been with FEMS who have had their supporters claim here and in other places that because they are a C3(501)c organization that they are autonomous.

    that attitude says a lot to me and it had to change.

  • Sam

    Well LarryG, I know this. And if you recall back when Dan broke the story of the Feb.5 fatal fire. I had posted open questions to Kevin Dillard based on his outrageous claims that his Volunteer Fire Company had made corrective actions (prior to any report being sent out).
    I as a citizen wanted to know exactly what they were/ what was corrected.
    Again, what was changed at CVFRD since Feb 5. and mid May 2010.
    To my knowledge he is aware of my posts. And refuses to validate his outrageous snake oil claims.

  • Lookin

    I am sure the county on both sides is sitting back and hoping it all passes over and that nothing more is brought back up. Sam you will never hear a response they want it all to blow over and go back to poor service to the county. Why do the ones that pay the same taxes in the country part of the county get less service as the citizens who live in the popular part of the county. I have looked into the way other counties have handled there fire and ems service and we are sub standard and we pay less to get the payed people to work for the county why do i want the people that the counties north and west didn’t want. From what I see as the county goes from there job advertisement they pay far less than any other counties around that doesn’t make me feel like I am getting the best service. It might be the wrong way to look at it, but I can only assume that we will pull in the wrong people at this current rate if I go to the doctor I don’t want the left over I want the first pick. I can’t help but think that if the employees that cut the grass for the county makes more than the person who is supposed to save my life or put out my house there is a problem.Why can’t we cut the money to the vol. and give it to one chief to divide up how he sees it should go to provide the best appropriate coverage!