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Voices / Letters from readers

How can we not repeat this decision-making process?

RE: “Brattleboro breaks ties with Rescue” [News, Apr. 20]:

I am not commenting about the merits of the decision on EMS but solely on the decision-making process.

Many problems with the process bear repeating and beg for further analysis and reflection ... hopefully, this board and administration agrees:

It appears a position was articulated at the Feb. 9 meeting. That decision resulted in frustration.

Now information is being disclosed via the media.

I invite the board to reflect on what happened and even bring in a neutral third party to help with a debriefing to avoid having a recurrence of this process in a future decision.

Secondly, the public was first given notice of what was going on on April 11; some details were provided on Friday, April 15, an info session was held Monday, April 18, and a decision was made the very next day. Two information sessions followed the decision.

On April 19, this board heard several requests from community members to pause the decision-making.

A former Selectboard member also wrote in the media that the decision needs to be revisited [“Brattleboro needs to revisit the Rescue Inc. decision,” Voices, April 27].

In the future, should similar situations arise, it would seem reasonable to have a “second reading” procedure in place, as is done with ordinances, as defined in the town charter. The Selectboard itself, if so inclined, could place this option on the ballot for voters this year.

Lastly, the information provided on April 15 included a draft budget for a fire/EMS service. This budget needs further analysis.

Does it shortchange the resources actually needed? Should we rely on refurbished and/or used ambulances?

The budget should not assume the receipt of a SAVER grant from the Department of Homeland Security. After the first three years, the costs will become part of the ongoing budget.

Nor should we count on one-time American Rescue Plan Act monies to fund an ongoing program.

Robert A. Oeser
Brattleboro

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Originally published in The Commons issue #663 (Wednesday, May 11, 2022). This story appeared on page C2.

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