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Tue., Oct. 21
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Members of the West Carthage Volunteer Fire Department wisely refrained from moving forward with a proposal to place a residency requirement on those who serve as chief as well as first and second assistant chiefs.

Some members of the department believed it wouldn’t be appropriate for someone who lives outside the fire district deciding how taxpayers’ money was spent. They proposed the residency rule to the village’s Board of Trustees, which would need to approve the new bylaw.

But most board members weren’t convinced this was a good idea. As the chief and two assistant positions are elective, any member of the department should be allowed to run for them, Trustee David Z. Rounds said. Trustees expressed their opposition to the plan at their meeting last week, and so members of the fire district voted against it Monday at their meeting.

Members of the department vote on a slate of candidates for the top positions in the fire district once every several years. This slate then has to be approved by the village’s Board of Trustees.

It’s understandable that members of the department want to ensure those at the top have the best interests of the residents of West Carthage in mind. But Trustee Rounds was correct when he said that any member of the department should be free to run for any of these positions.

This person has already made a commitment to the village by joining the department to ensure its public safety needs are met. The people of West Carthage have been well served by this process so far, and there’s no reason to believe this will change if the village continues using the current system.

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