Opinion: Let’s drop the charade, Boulay and Coutu

Sep 23, 2022

To the editor:

As a long-time resident of Fire District #2 (44+ years), I have never seen such unprofessional behavior by the Prudential Committee. 

There appears to be some hidden agenda that is being kept from the people who voted two new members into office last April, and then who voiced their approval or disapproval of warrant items at the Annual District meeting in May.

Since that time, the Prudential Committee has apparently disregarded the voices that were heard and voted at the May meeting. 

The two newly elected Prudential Committee members, Bob Boulay and Bill Coutu, claim that offering the active chief, Greg Edgcomb, a permanent position would be fiscally irresponsible at a salary of $115,000, a salary maximum that the voters approved. It should also be noted that when an amended motion was made at the annual meeting for a lower salary cap of $100,000, the voters rejected the amendment.

Boulay and Coutu keep claiming the salary is too high and are advertising the position for $20,000 - $30,000 less than the approved maximum of $115,000 and lower than the rejected maximum amended amount of $100,000. Boulay and Coutu are continuously claiming that it will be a burden on the district’s taxpayers. Yet, they haven’t hesitated to seek legal advice incurring costs of at least $6,000 in funding that was never in the warrant.  

It also appears that Acting Chief Edgcomb has bent over backwards to assist the two new Prudential Committee members to understand the workings of the department, leading the Prudential Committee in writing an appropriate job description and performing the day to day responsibilities of leading the Department and all that it demands. Edgecomb brings a special talent to the position which is the ability to write and obtain grant monies, something that has never been done by any previous chief in District #2. I believe he has been responsible for negotiating grants in excess of $45,000. Seems to me that the extra money Edgcomb has brought in exceeds the budget difference that Boulay and Coutu are contesting is too high.

The Department is currently running at its highest efficiency ever. The equipment is all in running order, which it was apparently not when Edgecomb took over in November 2021; the data and reporting are up-to-date which was also not the case when he took over; and morale among the Department has eclipsed itself with now more than 22 members, up almost 200% since last fall.

My question is how can Mr. Boulay and Mr. Coutu keep falling back on the excuse that Mr. Edgecomb is too expensive for the District. The figures prove this is not true, so what is this really all about?  What is the hidden agenda when these two won’t even second a motion for a compromise offered by Mr. Ralph Medeiros, the third Prudential Committee member? The taxpayers deserve to know why their votes from May don’t seem to matter and this stonewalling continues which is unfair to the District residents and Mr. Edgecomb.  

Let’s drop the charade, Boulay and Coutu, and be honest and transparent with the District.

Katherine B. Dabney,