October 12, 2012 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
“We don’t have the money to hire more people, Besides, [he said], Supervisor Richard Reaume is in charge of day-to-day township operations.” Ron Edwards, Plymouth Township Treasurer.
Plymouth Observer, Oct. 14, 2012
As the race for Township Supervisor tightens before the Nov. 6 election, Township Supervisor and incumbent candidate Richard Reaume has decided to talk about his previously covert public safety plan for the police and fire departments.
Questions about public safety, downsizing of the fire department and plans to train the cops to become firefighters have gone unanswered or avoided at recent public meetings, and angered concerned residents.
This week, Reaume, under pressure, conceded his plan for training police officers to become firefighters.
In a news report* Reaume was quoted as saying Township officials are considering a modified public safety model, with police officers trained as basic emergency medical responders He admitted he is negotiating a PSO model with the police union.
For months Reaume has refused to openly discuss questions about his plans for the Plymouth Community Fire Department, the subject of several lawsuits against the Township launched by irate residents who felt manipulation by Township officials betrayed their trust and left them unsafe.
Last year, 4000 residents petitioned and asked Township officials to allow a vote on a millage to fund the fire department. Residents felt Reaume and the Board blatantly denied them and their community, the very people who elected them, the right to vote on the issue by hiking the millage amount on the ballot by tenfold to prevent a fair determination of the will of the people.
The case is still pending before the Michigan Court of Appeals.
This March, Reaume and Plymouth Township Board of Trustees gutted the fire department and medical emergency services staff. At a special board meeting, trustees voted 6-1 to lay off six firefighters, leaving a full-time staff of 14 to protect the community’s 28,000 residents. Against promises and pubic denials to the contrary, they closed the fire station that served the Township’s largest subdivision, Lake Pointe.
When the millage request failed at the polls, and the layoffs were finalized, Reaume claimed he “Right-Sized” the fire department, and hired additional police officers and 4 new clerical workers; assigning one clerk to his office and one to the Treasurers’ office.
It has long been rumored that the gutting of the fire department was rooted in political payback rather than fiscal responsibility. Some say, the City of Plymouth, who contributed $900,000 to the Township budget, acrimoniously ended the 15-year joint fire service agreement because of a spat between Plymouth City Manager, Paul Sincock and Township Treasurer, Ron Edwards. In most of the union negotiations during the past year, Edwards has taken the lead role over the Supervisor.
Informed sources say Edwards will manage the PSO model if the police union ratifies it.
* Plymouth Observer, Oct. 11, 2012