First aid squads fight new administrative code provisions

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:16

    West Milford-Don't tell Robert Jirouschek you can't fight city hall. On Sept. 9, West Milford First Aid Squad president did just that, reversing the first aid squad provisions of the new township administrative code. Mayor Joseph Di Donato and council members immediately pulled out the white surrender flag after Jirouschek objected to changes in the new administrative code. Among a flurry of apologies from all those sitting on the dais, the mayor promised official action would be taken to change the code back to its original wording by the September 15 council meeting. Backed by two-dozen members of his squad and the Upper Greenwood Lake Ambulance Corps, Jirouschek called for an immediate repeal to the recently enacted changes in the code that set jurisdictional boundaries for the squads. In addition, under the code, both squads are under nominal supervision of the director of public safety, Police Chief James R. Dykstra. Jirouschek said the two squads are separate entities but their levels of cooperation make them "operate as one seamless, well run, efficient branch of the Department of Public Safety. Both go when and where they are needed, anyplace in or outside the boundaries of the township." He went on to say, "It is not uncommon to see a blue or orange striped rig manned by both squads on any given call. This does not, never did, and never will need legislation to make it work." He told council members the dedicated individuals who make up the organizations should be left to manage their own operations. "Emergency medical services deserve the same respect as other branches of Public Safety," said Jirouschek. "Allow those with the proper training to decide how best to serve the citizens and visitors of West Milford," he stated. Jirouschek wants such future proposals to be discussed with officers of the respective squads before action is taken. "Both squads have demonstrated repeatedly over the years that their system works, and it works well. As the old adage states," said Jirouschek, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." In other action, the council proposed cutting the number of council meetings by half, each month. "Will our township attorney fees reflect the change in meetings schedule?" That question was posed by Democrat council candidate Bob Nolan, who said he was referring to the $10,000 monthly retainer the township pays DeMarco for legal services. The question went unanswered. Officials want to cut the number of meetings from four, two workshop sessions and two regular meetings, to one of each meeting per month. Although the proposal was only announced Sept. 9, it was expected to come to a vote at the Sept. 15 council meeting. Acting Township Administrator Kevin Byrnes said the move came after he surveyed 20 towns regarding the number of monthly meetings. Fourteen of the 20 towns had fewer than four meetings per month, he said.