January 25, 2018
By David Nordby The Brillion News
REEDSVILLE – Reedsville firefighter Craig Anhalt let his voice be heard earlier this month at the Reedsville Village Board meeting. Anhalt read a letter he had prepared directed to Trustee Jerry Reis. The bottom line was simple. Anhalt believes that Reis needs to support the fire department or resign from his position.
“After witnessing that outrage, I’d prefer you don’t represent me,” Anhalt said.
The letter came one month after a tense situation at the December meeting where Reis and Reedsville Fire Chief Brad Busse were locked in a combat of words. Anhalt said that Reis became “emotionally unraveled and caught up in, what I perceived, as his own personal vendetta against [Busse].”
Reis had voiced concerns about the Reedsville Fire Department at multiple meetings in the final months of 2017. Reis was concerned over deficiencies in the fire department’s audit done by the state Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).
DSPS Fire Protection Coordinator Carl Frisque cited the fire department lacked the proper testing of ladders and pumps and lacked proper inspection records when he audited them last April. Another concern of Reis’ was the lack of background checks and physical exams for two new firefighters later in the year.
Busse said at the December village meeting that he was not privy to protocol. “You can’t enforce a policy you don’t know anything about,” Busse said in December. He also argued that Reis does not treat the fire department the same way he does other departments.
“I support the fire department 100 percent,” Reis told The Brillion News after the meeting where Anhalt read his letter. “A great fireman will not be dedicated to one person, but to the fire department and to the community.”
He also told the newspaper that he refuses to resign. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” Reis said. “These are things that matter, and I’m not going to be silent.”
Anhalt has served on the fire department for seven years.
“We don’t work shifts like a regular firehouse does,” Anhalt said. “We don’t know when our pager will go off or where we will be.”
Many members of the fire department were in attendance for January’s meeting, like they were for the December meeting. Anhalt voiced strong support for Busse, including detailing how Busse does his job. Reis had told Busse “do your job” in December, a statement Anhalt rejected.
Please see the complete story in the January 25, 2018 edition of The Brillion News.