Grand Traverse Metro Fire Dept. Reaches Agreement With Townships

“A little lighter in the step to keep moving forward knowing we’re going to stay together.”

A scheduled mediation session, canceled.

It’s no longer necessary because a Northern Michigan Fire Department came to an agreement with the three townships it serves.

Grand Traverse Metro Fire has been at the center of the months-long dispute involving the governing policies with the three townships it serves.

Metro fire responds to calls in Garfield, East Bay, and Acme townships.

But back in November Garfield Township voted to withdraw from Metro Fire unless a new agreement could be reached.

“I think it is good news. Mediation was kind of the final step. The fact that we can work together and get an agreement that everybody can live with is a positive thing,” said Garfield Township supervisor Chuck Korn.

All sides have come to agreement in the months-long Metro Fire Department dispute.

“Everybody’s relieved and I think it’s a burden off everybody’s shoulders now,” says assistant chief for Grand Traverse Metro Fire, Steve Apostal.

Garfield, East Bay, and Acme townships have all signed off on changes. It’s a deal keeping Metro fire fully intact.

“This should not affect standard operations throughout the department. It’s more of for board governance. There’s been talk about adding bylaws and adjusting our original articles of incorporation,” Apostal said.

The major change in the agreement requires that all three townships must have at least one “yes” vote for an issue to move forward, instead of allowing a simple majority on all issues. It was a sticking point for Garfield Township.

“It means all three townships have a voice. That the other two townships can’t gang up just run over the third one. Whether it’s Acme who’s the dissenter or East Bay or Garfield,” Korn said.

A review of the Metro Fire bylaws could happen every five years, but for now the issue is considered put to rest.

“I think it’s something we need to look at every so often to make sure that as things change in the area and growth changes that everybody’s needs and our service delivery is keeping up with the demands of the community,” Apostal said.

“I am glad to have it behind me yeah. It’s been difficult. It took a lot of time and energy away from other projects. I’m glad we can settle down and move forward,” Korn said.