|Calls For Service|
Richard M. Braslow
Attorney at Law
|Richard M. Braslow, Esq.*||
516 Fielders Lane
|Neil D. Braslow, Esq.*|
Toms River, NJ 08755
February 15, 2017
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
Please be advised that I represent Lambertville Fire District No. 1 and at the request of the Fire District this letter is written in response to the Facebook posting of Cindy Ege of February 13, 2017 relative to the Lambertville Fire District. The posting contained numerous allegations which are blatantly false and without any basis in truth. The allegations are addressed as follows:
- Theft of Public Money - This allegation it is assumed related to Cindy Tillett. The theft involved Fire Company monies and was investigated and addressed by the County Prosecutor. The individual provided reimbursement of any monies involved in the theft and received appropriate punishment as determined by the Prosecutor. The Fire District upon learning of this incident immediately notified the Lambertville Police Department and County Prosecutor in order that it be addressed. This individual does not provide any services on behalf of the Fire District and the Fire District did not have any monetary loss as a result of the actions of this individual.
- Downsized Equipment - The allegation it is assumed relates to the vehicles purchased and utilized by the Fire District in providing firematic services. The Fire District has always and will continue to provide the necessary equipment to allow the volunteer and career firefighters to provide the necessary fire protection services. The Commissioners in coordination with the Chief determined the appropriate equipment needed and purchased that equipment. Cost was considered and it was determined that the purchase was the best approach to addressing the needs of the Fire Department.
- Meeting Dates and Time Changes - The regular meeting of the Fire District is the third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. Notice of the meeting schedule is published in two newspapers and provided to the City Clerk in accordance with law and specifically the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Act. The notices are published in the newspapers and posted by the City Clerk in compliance with the timeframe set forth in the New Jersey statutes. When it is necessary to change the date and time of a meeting the same procedure is engaged in.
- Fire District Election - The Fire District election in accordance with New Jersey statute Title 40A is the third Saturday in February between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. This has been the date of the election for numerous years. The Fire District publishes the appropriate notices relative to the election as required by New Jersey statute. The Fire District has no right to change the election date or time. One of the notices published by the Fire District is a mail in notice that is published a minimum of 55 days prior to the election in a newspaper as required by law.
- Fire Commissioners - The Commissioners responsibility is to insure that fire protection is provided on behalf of the taxpayers and residents of the City of Lambertville. The Commissioners have always insured that this service is provided. The Commissioners have also always respected all the volunteer firefighters in Lambertville and the invaluable service they provide. The Fire District has always supported the volunteers relative to training, equipment purchases, and other needs as raised by the volunteers. There has never been a harassment or hazing of the volunteers by the Fire District and there is no evidence supporting the blatant allegations.
- Purchases Made Without Bidding - The Fire District is subject to the Local Public Contract law which applies to all municipal entities. All provisions of this law relative to purchases have been adhered to by the Fire District. The Fire District is subject to an annual audit each year and the audit is a comprehensive review of the purchases engaged in by the Fire District. No audit has ever stated that the bidding laws were not being followed.
- Employee Works for Pierce - It is openly acknowledged that one of the Fire District employees works for Pierce. This individual is allowed to work for this company but cannot have any involvement with this company in relation to Fire District purchases. This was to insure that no conflicts resulted. Any purchase from Pierce that this Fire District undertook was in compliance with law. There are specific statutes relating to capital purchases, specifically, N.J.S.A. 40A:14-84 and 85. These statutes were adhered to by the Fire District. In addition the law allows the purchase of a firetruck without the requirement of competitive bidding through either state contract or a cooperative purchasing program. These requirements were followed by the Fire District or permitted by law.
It is therefore apparent that the allegations of Cindy Ege in her Facebook posting are blatantly false. If there were any concerns this or any other concerned individual could attend a Fire District meeting to address these concerns and allow the Fire District to discuss and address these issues. The public is welcome as the Fire District meetings are public meetings.
The posting of allegations which are clearly untrue is a disservice to the Fire District, the volunteers and career staff of the Fire District and the public.
Very truly yours,
Richard M. Braslow