New fire agreement could benefit entire area
Wayne-Westland Fire Chief Michael Reddy, Jr. announcing details of fire department merger in Inkster this January
Jan. 29, 2014 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
By: Susan Willett, Publisher
Associated Newspapers of Michigan
Other attempts, in other communities, have failed miserably due to the immature, power- hungry and ego driven personalities involved. It is also no secret that those failures have resulted in a threat to the safety of residents in those communities.
This week, local officials announced that the City of Inkster would be joining the recently merged Wayne-Westland Fire Department.
We think this is probably a very good thing, particularly for the residents of Inkster and probably for the Wayne-Westland Department.
It is no secret that the City of Inkster has severe and ongoing problems in all aspects of governance. The financial condition of the community makes the appointment of an emergency manager a near certainty, unless Richard Marsh, the new guy in the city manager’s office, is able to make some significant changes. We wish him well in that Herculean task, but if the past truly is prologue, he has a very slim chance of success.
The financial crisis in the housing market hit Inkster harder than many other communities and tax revenue, which is based on home values, took a steep drop in a community already operating way beyond their financial means. The misguided effort of the city council members and mayor to load part of the financial burden onto residents with an outrageous water rate increase was recently struck down in court.
We give Marsh credit, however. His recent efforts to come to an amicable and workable agreement with the police department may prove financially sound, although we do worry about depending on Michigan State Police and the Wayne County Sheriff for local police protection and enforcement. It is no secret that the sheriff’s office has serious budget problems and should there be a shift in priorities, they will be long gone. That is the case, too, with the state troopers, who will put the state needs above local patrols and investigations.
Marsh deserves praise, too, for this fire agreement, which is more a courtship than a marriage. The three communities have agreed to have Wayne-Westland Fire Chief Michael Reddy, Jr. manage the combined department for six months. Reddy said at a recent council meeting that he felt that time would give him the opportunity to take a look at the operational levels and needs of the Inkster community and determine if a permanent intergovernmental arrangement was a good fit.
We are impressed with that logic and commend Marsh, Reddy, Westland Mayor William Wild and Wayne Mayor Al Haidous for the approach taken to the new arrangement. Wild, especially, has been a promoter and activist for these kinds of shared governmental services. The merger of the Wayne Fire Department with Westland has proven a serious cost savings for both those communities at an increased efficiency level. With the very public financial problems in Wayne, it was a step in the right direction for that community.
We are well aware that this success story could have a completely different result were it not for the professional conduct of those involved in this merger. Other attempts, in other communities, have failed miserably due to the immature, power- hungry and ego driven personalities involved. It is also no secret that those failures have resulted in a threat to the safety of residents in those communities.
Wild and Haidous have proven, however, that shared services of this type can work, and work more efficiently, providing better service at a lower cost to the public. They have each put the welfare of their community and their residents ahead of their own parochial or political interests which would appear to be the real key to the success of these agreements. Wild has entered into other agreements, one with Canton Township for water employees, that is also proving beneficial for both communities.
We hope this latest arrangement with Inkster works as well. Residents of that community deserve no less.
|News Plymouth Michigan