Tuesday, October 16, 2018 Medina 44°
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Ad-hoc fire committee revamped

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The ad-hoc committee charged with formulating a fire district with Medina city and Medina and Montville townships hit a snag over appointments.

The hitch was over Medina Township naming two former township firefighters who don’t live in the township to the Fire District Advisory Committee. That is against the bylaws set up by Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell and township trustees.

The idea to form a fire district came after Medina Township voted July 13 to turn over its fire operations to the city. The move wasn’t without controversy. Montville also contracts with the city for fire coverage.

Two trustees who orchestrated the change no longer are in office: Ray Jarrett decided not to run again and Bill Ostmann lost his bid for re-election in November.

Newly elected trustees Mark Radice and Mike Stopa, former township firefighters, appointed Shawn Kasson and Scott Vargo to the committee. The third Medina Township appointee on the committee, Tim McGoldrick, lives in the township.

Radice bristled at the suggestion their township department association was the only reason they were selected.

“That’s not why I picked them,” he said. “They are top-notch individuals. I picked them because they will give us the right answers.

“That’s a big task for someone without familiarity (with fire department procedures).”

Vargo, who lives in Brunswick Hills Township, has an EMS background, was on the Life Support Team in Medina for a short time and worked for Carlson ambulance service.

Kasson, of Medina, has a firefighting background.

Radice had asked the committee to change the rules to keep the two men on the committee.

Medina Law Director Greg Huber looked over the agreement and said in a letter to Hanwell that since Kasson and Vargo didn’t live in the township, they are “not in compliance” with the committee’s rules.

Hanwell said he was not in favor of changing the rules to allow nonresident voting members on the committee.

Montville trustees also told Radice they favor keeping the rules intact.

“We should just leave it as it is,” Hanwell said Monday at City Council’s Finance Committee meeting. “I don’t think we have to do anything.”

The mayor said he would welcome Vargo and Kasson attending the committee meetings and taking part in discussions. They just won’t be able to vote.

Radice and Stopa are in the process of replacing Vargo and Kasson on the committee. They hope to have their appointments in place by the tentatively scheduled committee meeting Feb. 27 at city hall.

Radice said he has no animosity over what transpired.

“I wanted to make sure the township was represented,” he said. “They were good selections. They have asked to remain with (the committee) in some capacity.

“It didn’t work out. We’ll move on.”

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.



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