December 21, 2017
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
REEDSVILLE – For the second month in a row, Reedsville Village Board Trustee Jerry Ries initiated conversation about the Reedsville Fire Department at last Thursday’s village board meeting. Except this time, potential discussion was already on the agenda under the president’s report.
Ries, as part of a statement he had prepared, suggested that the board bring in two retired firefighters to look at the Reedsville Fire Department for six months and report back on progress. He did not specify who the two retired firefighters could be.
“That’s why we have department heads, is it not?” Reedsville Village President Jesse Walt responded.
Ries went on to point out his concerns stemming from the three deficiencies in the fire department’s audit done by the state Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). That audit was conducted on April 12 of this year by DSPS Fire Protection Coordinator Carl Frisque who cited the fire department lacked the proper testing of ladders and pumps and lacked proper inspection records. He also recorded that there was an inability to determine compliance with the state’s two percent statutory requirements.
Ries also brought up the lack of background checks and physical exams for two new firefighters – Riley Kasper and Dan Kocourek – who had been allowed to work without them. The village’s legal counsel, Manitowoc attorney Katherine Reynolds, had previously confirmed that the two were allowed to participate without completing the conditions for employment.
Fire Chief Brad Busse said at Thursday’s meeting that he does not have the policy for hiring on-hand. “I asked for it. I was given minutes of a meeting. Copy of minutes of a meeting that took place several years ago,” he said. “This is the first I’ve ever known of it.
“I have no problem getting it done, but I can’t follow policy that I’m not privy to,” Busse continued, adding that if the board makes a change then the department heads need to know about them. “You can’t enforce a policy you don’t know anything about.”
Busse also said that he has a problem with the term allegations, especially after he had told the board of the deficiencies found in the audit after it happened.
Ries acknowledged that Busse told the board of the deficiencies in the audit, but said nothing had been done to improve the department since then. Busse argued that Ries was not giving the fire department the same treatment he does to others.
“Not to throw every department under the bus, but there’s other departments that have had these deficiency letters from other things and it’s not the same treatment. Be fair,” Busse told Ries.
That’s when tensions began to rise further.
Please see the complete story in the December 21, 2017 edition of The Brillion News.