Supervisor pushes aid for volunteer fire stations

Cindy Bailey

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County leaders on Tuesday rejected a supervisor’s effort to help a volunteer fire and rescue agency regain its state license.

District 4 Supervisor Cindy Bailey made a motion at the board’s regular meeting to direct County Administrator Mary T. Price to continue to work with Gary Yew, chief of the Department of Fire and Rescue and of New Market Fire and Rescue; Dr. Nazir Adam, operational medical director; the volunteers and the state’s emergency management services in an effort to regain the volunteer agency’s emergency medical services license. The volunteer group lost its license last year. Bailey has spoken out about the issue and has been critical of county officials for not doing more to help the agency.

The board never got around to voting on Bailey’s motion itself. County Attorney Jason Ham advised Bailey that in order for the board to act on her motion members first needed to vote to amend the meeting agenda. Bailey later made a motion to amend the agenda with the request as well as another to ask Price to move a roving ambulance unit from Edinburg to a volunteer station in Conicville. Bailey’s motion failed in a 3-3 vote. Vice Chairman Richard Walker, District 5 Supervisor Marsha Shruntz and Bailey voted for the motion. Chairman Conrad Helsley, District 1 Supervisor John R. “Dick” Neese and District 2 Supervisor Steve Baker voted against the motion.

Before voting took place, Helsley said the local officials mentioned in Bailey’s first motion along with Assistant County Administrator Evan Vass are working together with the volunteers on the matter.

“I would think that we’re doing that already,” Helsley said. “I mean I sure hope Mr. Yew and Mary Beth (Price) and Evan are working with everybody to move in that direction.”

Price recalled that a meeting on the subject was held in September and Adam followed up with correspondence to the chief at the time. Price said that correspondence might need to be shared with the new leadership of the volunteer agency so they know what is expected of them.

“And you all have been working with them, haven’t you,” Helsley asked Yew, who said he spent three hours with volunteers on Monday.

Walker said he’s asked Yew to provide a list of requirements the volunteer agency must fulfill, per Adam, to retain its EMS license and a status report on those items. Yew said he received the request last week and would send that information soon.

After Ham advised Bailey that the board needed to amend the meeting agenda in order for members to consider her motion regarding New Market Fire and Rescue, the supervisor requested that they add the items to the agenda. Walker questioned Ham’s suggestion, saying he thought a member could bring a motion before the board during a meeting. The board changed its rules to allow any member to add an item to agendas before the meetings, Ham said. However, a member still must make a motion to amend the meeting agenda to add an item. The board must vote on such a motion in order for the change to take effect, Ham said. The board did just that earlier in the meeting to add two items to the agenda.

Bailey reiterated her motion to add both items to the agenda: to direct Price and other officials to work with the volunteer agency to reinstate its EMS license and to reassign the roving ambulance unit to the station in Conicville. Bailey argued that the board already discussed both items at an earlier work session. Bailey recalled that she had asked Baker at that work session if he would support her on the second item. Baker had commented at an earlier meeting that the volunteers at Conicville needed the county’s help and wanted paid responders.

“I’m not going to micromanage,” Baker chimed in.

Bailey’s motion to amend the agenda failed. She then asked Price to add the two items to the board’s next meeting agenda.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com