Big Decisions Ahead For Grand Traverse Rural Fire Department

“They’re trying to get a handle on where do they go for the future,” says Thomas Wieczorek

A fire department has some big decisions on the table, trying to keep the department in one piece.

Grand Traverse Rural Fire covers six townships in Grand Traverse County and two of those six are threatening to leave.

Green Lake and Grant Townships think the money they pay each year to Grand Traverse Rural Fire Department can be used in a better way.

That’s why a consultant was hired to dig into Grand Traverse Rural Fire and Tuesday night they gave forty two recommendations for improvement.

In continuing coverage, 9&10’s Megan Atwood looked at some of the possible changes.

“We started discussions, we came in, and our team of experts began looking at their performance,” says Thomas Wieczorek, the Director for Center for Public Safety Management.

The Center for Public Safety Management began looking at GT Rural in April. They made 42 recommendations for improvement with one idea to train firefighters to also work as EMS to save money. That’s one of the six recommendations they think are critical for the future of GT Rural.

“They’re up against a time line. It’s a real tight time line, they’re looking at a January 1st kind of drop dead date that if Grant and Green Lake pull out, a lot of policies and a lot of procedures and a number of operational changes all have to take place,” continues Thomas Wieczorek.

The Grand Traverse Rural Board couldn’t agree on extending the current chief’s contract, instead board members will work to rewrite his contract, while the threat of Green Lake and Grant Townships leaving still looms.

“To do basically a whole new department is what you’re going to end up if grant and green lake leave, if they stay. You’re rewriting all the policies and procedures of an organization in about 20 to 25 days,” says Wieczorek.

If the two townships leave, it will all but shut down GT Rural Fire.

“We have got to get our boards together and I really like the idea of bringing all the boards together in my opinion all those boards should have been at this meeting so they can really get a good idea of what needs to happen to make the changes we need to move forward,” says a concerned community member at the meeting.

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