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Forward thinking Chief vs. the "good ol boy system" … who has Public Safety's best interest in mind for Botetourt County?

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Botetourt County’s Emergency Services has made our local news again. Just over a year ago, the County hired Carr Boyd to serve as their Emergency Services Coordinator. It was a HUGE debate and met with a lot of criticism.

Several of the County’s Volunteer Chiefs ( two, more so than others ) were very out spoken and did not support the hiring of this position. At the time, it seemed as if their main argument against the position was that the Coordinator would have the authority to assume command of an emergency incident if necessary. One Chief (now former) was even quoted as saying ….

if an emergency services director assumes control of a scene “there are going to be a lot of hurt feelings and busted noses.”

 They were using terms like “my scene” and saying things like they didn’t need anyone coming in “here” and telling them how or what to do. There were a lot of egos flying around and it seemed to me that the only people who could get hurt were the ones whom Botetourt’s Emergency Services were there to protect … it’s citizens and visitors.

Here’s a quote from an article I posted back when this all started … “This job is NOT ABOUT YOU or being in “CONTROL”. It’s not YOUR fire. It’s about the people we have sworn to serve and protect. There is no shame in asking for or accepting help. If supplemental paid positions will decrease response times and  increase the level of Public Safety in Botetourt County, then I’m all for it and any Chief in his right mind should be as well. Drop the egos and do the right thing guys. DO YOUR JOB … I have family who lives there and I’m depending on you!  ALL OF YOU !” Read that entire article in the link below …

VOLUNTEER VS. PAID …RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH !!!

Well, it took just over a year for them to accomplish their goal. I hope they’re happy.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Carr Boyd will resign from the position effective at the end of the month. Some local coverage and video in the links below …

From WDBJ 7

From Roanoke.com

Above, I said it took “them” just over a year to accomplish their goal. By that, I meant the group that opposed the position in the first place…. YEA …. they never went away (well … one of em did). Some are actually still serving as Volunteers within the County (some being Chief and/or Company Officers).

More “hurt feelings and busted noses” for Botetourt County’s Emergency Services.

First off, I’m EMBARRASSED. I’m embarrassed and ASHAMED. There’s a WHOLE lot more to this story than is being told (in the “main stream” media anyway).

I’m embarrassed and ashamed because it seems as if Chief Boyd has been hung out to dry. The only person stepping out in support of him is, the newly appointed (and former) Buchanan Volunteer Fire Chief; John Manspile. In an article on Roanoke.com Cheif Manspile said …

“He’s been exactly what this county needed,” Buchanan Volunteer Fire Chief John Manspile said. “He’s been doing what was practical, what needs to be done. … I can’t see where he’s done anything wrong.”

Chief Boyd has yet to comment publicly on the issue. He’s showing a level of tact and restraint I don’t think I myself possess.

I’ve been looking (waiting) for someone to EXPLAIN. To tell us the details. Why would Chief Carr relocate his family all the way from NC to work a single year and then retire? Because he was FORCED OUT … that’s why (or that’s my opinion anyway).

I’m getting reports (off the record) that some members of the group that initially opposed the position and Boyd’s hiring never gave up their fight.

Reportedly lead by one of the Volunteer Fire Chiefs, who is himself a convicted felon; this group set out to rid the County of Boyd and apparently they have succeeded … BUT AT WHO’S COST?

It’s rumored that the group discovered an issue with Boyd’s training. I say “rumored” because I haven’t confirmed it as of yet. We know he was a Captain (and “Acting” Battalion Chief) in Charlotte, NC before coming to Botetourt County. He must have had some training.

 The rumor continues that the group took the issue to the Board of Supervisors and gave the option … Boyd’s resignation or the resignation of several of the volunteers. If that is indeed the case, and how it “went down”; then the Board made the WRONG decision.

Read “Volunteer Leadership” Click HERE

Is this a “paid vs volunteer” or a “good ol boy club” issue? The County has already said that they plan to fill the position. I wonder if the same group opposes that? Or maybe it was just Chief Boyd they opposed? I wonder who they would support for the position …. one of their own?

Someone who wouldn’t have to make the tough decisions. Someone who wouldn’t have to enforce policy? Ahhhhh ….. the ol 2 steps forward, 6 steps back game!

Read some of the comments from Roanoke.com Click HERE 

 Just recently, the Botetourt’s Board of Supervisors heard the story of Volunteer Companies being unable to staff units while citizens were on scene performing CPR for extended period of time.

Like many other Departments across the Country, Botetourt needs to find new ways to meet the needs of their citizens. They need to find a new way of doing business in relation to providing Emergency Services. Carr Boyd was doing just that.

I’m not sure if the answer is through a Combination ,  Career or all Volunteer System but I do know they need to become “forward thinking” rather than taking leaps backwards (like it appears they just have). I also feel that whatever direction they decide to go, convicted felons and those who place personal gain over Public Safety shouldn’t be a part of it. The past Buchanan “issues” in Botetourt should have proven that point to the Supervisors.

I have spoken to Carr Boyd recently. Although he would not comment on the current issues, he did share that his main concern at this point is assuring that the members of Botetourt’s Emergency Services are taken care of (career and volunteer members) through this ordeal.

I’m sure he could have “thrown some stones” …. he didn’t. Instead, he took the road of a good Officer … of a good Leader … even after all this, he’s “looking after the men” (and women). Carr Boyd is a CLASS ACT. I wish some of remaining Officers in Botetourt County were more like him.

I wrote this post a couple days ago and have had it awaiting publishing in my que. Apparently, someone was looking over my shoulder as I was typing. I say this because of a comment I received last night. If you missed it, I posted it in a short stand alone post late last night.

Use the link below and take a look… it may help you understand just a little more of some of the challenges (and types of people) Carr Boyd faced over the past year…

Read CHRISTINE PADERICK … STOP READING THIS SITE!

I say instead of the Director of Emergency Services, Botetourt should rid their Department of Felons and allow the professionals (volunteer and career) to do their jobs and perform their duties.

I have a LOT more to say on this issue and will continue to gather the facts for a follow up post.

Stay Safe and in House!

Captain Wines

Comments - Add Yours

  • Pingback: Botetourt, VA heats up again. Ego vs. Progress… Ego Wins | The Fire Critic()

  • Gerald

    This is a shame. what is worse is all the rumors flying around about what caused it. It sounds like a couple of vipers went crying and threatening until they got their way for some rather selfish reasons. To make it worse, some members of the board of supervisors must have lost their spines and allowed these vipers to bully them. Only one way to get snakes out of the woodpile, set it on fire. Here is the gasoline and your words are the matches. If you are a taxpaying citizen of Botetourt county, you should have questions about this, and those in power are obligated to answer those questions.

    Steve Clinton- steveclinton1111@gmail.com
    Billy Martin Jr.- bilbec1@juno.com
    Terry Austin- terrylaustin@verizon.net
    Jack Leffel- jleffel@botetourt.org
    Mac Scothorn- macscothorn@yahoo.com

    County administrator Kathleen Guzi- kguzi@botetourt.org.

  • Cheap seat veiwer

    Did his resignation really coming as some sort of a shock? Make a list of combination departments where the first director or chief lasted long term. It will be a short list. Change is hard and in this case made even harder by poor communications.

    You asked for someone to explain the whole story, well here are a few tidbits that caused some of the issues and distrust. For the most part it was not the “forward thinking” ideas he brought to the table. It was the way he presented them.
    While moving apparatus from station to station is common place in career departments it is not in most volunteer systems. While it is true the county did flip the bill for the trucks, the volunteers have a vested interest in them. With the current economic atmosphere and the every present fluctuation in membership levels moving a truck that could be used better in a different station while retiring an older piece is not a bad idea. But the department losing the truck should not hear it through the grapevine from the receiving department. A meeting between the two departments and the Carr with the pros spelled out is all that was needed.

    Secondly, the decision was made to change the fire crews work hours from five twelves to five twenty-fours. Not a bad change, increase hours of coverage without increasing costs. This was known to the career staff for over a month before it happened, the volunteers found out about it 72 hours before it started, even the volunteer station that houses them did not know the change was coming. Once again, if it was such a good thing why not explain it to everyone well in advance?
    Lastly, at more than one working fire instead of being a leader when he arrived and meeting with the IC to offer help or dealing with other “chief” level issues or even just standing back and accessing how everything was going to be able to offer suggestion and make improvements Carr would bottle up and go fight fire. The county hired a director not another firefighter.

    I think most now agree the county needs one leader for all emergency services (paid and volunteer) but the person must be a leader not a dictator and be able to communicate with everyone not just a select few. As I said it wasn’t the changes he proposed, it was the way he did or in most cases did not communicate them.

    It is clear Willie and most of the readers here have taken the side of Carr without knowing half of what was going on. There were multiple issues brought to light by numerous people who were involved. Carr may be a great leader in a career department but leading volunteers is a totally different animal, one that will turn on you quickly and take a bite every now and then.

  • http://lasart.es/ Susie Kent

    When the new position’s duties and authorities were drafted one item in particular elicited concern among some volunteer firefighters. Specifically volunteer chiefs for both the Troutville and Buchanan volunteer fire departments expressed concern that the new director of emergency services would have the authority to appear at an emergency scene and take over running the scene.