A contract is a contract

To the Editor:

There seems to be a basic lack of understanding regarding the process of a contract. First and foremost, Deputy Chief Art Reid is a good person. Actually, I supported him when he applied for the position over a number of other qualified candidates. We all make many decisions in our lives.

Fast forward to the years since that time. Deputy Chief Reid was concerned about getting in his 10 years of service to qualify for a pension from the town of Fairfield. He had already achieved pension status upon his years of service to another fire department in another state. At that time, we assured him that the numbers of years would add up to who reach his personal goal. And the Fire Commission honored that request.

The Fire Commission has been focusing on a plan of succession. At my last meeting, in November 2012, the Fire Commission instructed Chief Felner to gather information from other fire departments regarding this matter. A committee would be establish to prepare the Fairfield Fire Department for the future.

Back in April 2012, according to the Fairfield Citizen News article by G. Reilly, “the commission was split over renewing Reid’s contract. The pact was approved on a 5-2 vote. The vote extends Reid’s contract until 2014. Reid said “this is something I am in  agreement with and I’m extremely happy to serve the town for another two years and I will do so to the best of my ability.” I was one of the five votes to approve this pact.

Time marches on. Once again, the Fire Commission must notify the deputy chief by March 31 of the status of the contract. At present, the deputy chief’s contract ends in December 2014. According to the Fairfield Citizen News by G. Reilly, as of April 2014, “the commission voted 5-2 not to renew Reid’s contract.”

Back to a contract is a contract. The Fire Commission and the first selectman are the parties involved in this situation. Everyone seems to have their own opinion on this matter. They are names of friends, family and people in and out of state signing a petition. This is not a popularity contest. To be honest, it seems that Deputy Chief Reid has planned for his years ahead and is poised to qualify and to obtain two pensions. Granted he has earned them.

The Fire Commission is to be commended for making difficult decisions.  Each commissioner takes his or her votes very seriously. It is time for the fire department to focus on the future.


Susan P. Barrett

Former Fire Commissioner

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