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Is Saving Money More Important Than Public Safety

To the Editor:

Again, we see the emergency dispatch regionalization issue being reviewed.  This time by the Newtown’s Board of Fire Commissioners.  Again I urge all Newtown residents to take notice and let your voices be heard.

In the April 3, 2014 article by Andrew Gorosko, “Regional Dispatching Plan Raises Concerns,” Mr Gorosko certainly shows Maureen Will, the director of the Newtown Emergency Communications Center (NECC), as the major proponent of the plan to regionalize using the services of Northwest Connecticut Public Safety Communication Center, Inc. (NCPSCC).  In Mr Gorosko’s May 22 article, “Fire Officials Pose Questions About Proposed Dispatching Change,” Ms. Will is quoted “I do not believe it’s a conflict [of interest].  Every time something comes up on Newtown [while serving on the board], I recuse myself, I leave the room. I don’t believe it’s a conflict.” Ms. Will has been  pushing the issue of regionalization and whether or not she is actively sitting on the board of directors, she has ties to this company. A definite conflict of interest as Lisa Goosman of the Board of Fire commissioners pointed out.

In another Gorosko article, “Regionalized Radio Dispatching Under Review By Fire Officials,” May 1, 2014:  “Ms Will said she would rather have the town join a regional dispatch center in Prospect now, rather than be eventually ordered by the state to have regionalized dispatching done elsewhere.” Rob Manna, Newtown Hook & Ladder, asked whether a regionalization plan requires police, fire and ambulance to regionalize. Ms Will said that all three services would need to regionalize with, NCPSCC and yet the Middlebury Police Department is the only police department listed as being serviced by NCPSCC! 

And why with NCPSCC?  Sandy Hook Fire Chief Bill Halstead made a good point when he questioned why the municipal bidding process hasn’t been discussed. Aren’t there other companies out there who provide the same service?  The May 22 article says there is no current mandate to regionalize.  The state is encouraging regionalization for efficiency.  Newtown Emergency Communications Center is quite efficient.  A proven fact.  I believe properly stated it should say, “The state is encouraging regionalization in order for municipalities to save money.”  Is saving money more important than public safety?  Regionalization is undoubtedly the lobbying effort of the Connecticut Council of Municipalities to which Newtown (Mrs Llodra) is a member.  Are Ms Will and Mrs Llodra in cahoots?

Citizens of Newtown:  public safety is priority.   Don’t stand idly by and allow First Selectman Llodra to disband the Newtown Emergency Communications Center and enter into a contract with Northwest Connecticut Public Safety Communication Center, Inc. or any other organization as such.  Newtown’s team of first responders – police, fire and ambulance – need the best to give you their best.

Mrs Llodra is the person who ultimately makes this decision.  Please contact Mrs Llodra’s office and voice your opinion to save NECC.  Her e-mail address is:    first.selectman@newtown-ct.gov.  The phone number is:  203-270-4201.

Linda M. Haas

767 Old Waterbury Road, Southbury    May 27, 2014

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