No smoke without fire.
At last, county residents are going to have something to call their own. Something that is not controlled by the boys in the City of Cleveland but has it's separate and unique identity... the Bradley County Volunteer Fire Department.
After years of being second rated the department has an opportunity to prove it's real worth. The County Commission voted to remove administrative duties from the Emergency Management Agency and Director Jeff Young and place them under the administrative control of County Fire Chief Dewey Woody and the County Executive. The volunteer fire department has come a long way since a group of concerned citizen sat around a table and worked to make it happen. Apart from this insightful group, two men have been instigational in molding the department into the well trained and cost effective service it is today. Jeff Young and administrator before him, Carl Shrewsbury, can proudly take the lions share for it's administrative success.
A good fire department is more than a group of dedicated men dashing around the county putting out fires. Although the experience of these men can't be underrated, the work away from the fire is just as important. There are countless tasks, most required by law that make for a truly successful department that most citizens are unaware of. The records that need to be kept, certification paperwork, inventory control, training programs, maintenance, budgeting, safety equipment, arson investigation, the list goes on.
When Shewsbury handed over to Young I'm sure he suffered a loss, likewise Jeff Young was outwardly emotionally saddened at being replaced. Young said he was unaware of a move to make the change and likened it to a European coup while he was out of town but said he was proud of the department and the men who unselfishly give of their time day or night without pay. He said they were all great people and he enjoyed working with them and he would do everything in his power to make the transition as smooth and timely as possible. He said Chief Woody was an experienced and dedicated firefighter who is more than capable of leading the department in it's new future.
The county now has an autonomous fire department with the benefit of public support, a healthy budget and well trained and dedicated volunteers. It will not be an easy task to take it to the next level, reduce ISO fire rating and make it the best in Tennessee.
But I have a hunch they will do it.
What do you think?
You are a terrorist
This next piece also involves Jeff Young but this time in his role as Director of the Bradley County Emergency Management Agency. At a recent Homeland Security, Security Strategy Program meeting reported in the Cleveland Daily Banner, Young said that the biggest terrorist threat facing Bradley County is domestic. He said, "these are folks who are anti-government, anti-taxes, anti-everything." "The Militia are real, and they are here."
I don't know about you folks but this sounds like scary stuff and smacks a little bit of Homeland Security being used by government employees to target tax protesters. The meeting was attended by representatives of law enforcement, fire and emergency personnel, elected officials and a reporter from the Cleveland Daily Banner. Apparently the reporter was invited by Mayor Rowland but The People News knew nothing of the meeting.
Although Young said that his quote was supposed to be off the record he said that the militia he mentioned were in Polk County and Murphy NC and not Bradley. Correction noted, but folks, you can see where this type of thinking could lead, can't you. We have the people's government meeting to plot action against anyone who threatens their source of revenue through taxation.
This mind-set is developing among many of our security agencies and is becoming a bigger threat to the nation's well-being than any terrorist group. A number of recent surveys conducted locally show that a large majority, over 60%, favor holding the line on taxes and reducing the size of government, which translated into security strategy language means nearly all Bradley Countians are a potential terrorist threat.
While we are endowing emergency service personnel with more and more powers to protect us, they are plotting to target us for investigation as terrorists. This latest revelation highlights the need for stricter controls on these strategy meetings and the harsh punishment of any official who misuses their intended purpose.
When government at the local level views it's major threat as the people itself, then the real terrorists can be found in government.
What do you think?