There has been much criticism of the Board of Supervisor’s recent unanimous decision regarding the Township’s Fire Department and parade. We do not believe the public is aware of the considerations made in arriving at that decision and we wish to make all the facts regarding that decision known.
On Wednesday, April 29th at approximately 4:20 in the afternoon the Supervisors were informed by the Police Chief that the Fire Department was planning to conduct a parade for that Friday. He had been informed by one of his officers who had seen information about the parade posted on Facebook. Neither the Supervisors nor the Police Chief had been directly informed of any plans of a parade. The Fire Chief, who attended the Supervisors Township Monday meeting, April 27th via Skype and presented her report as usual, provided no information at that time regarding any parade.
The five Supervisors met with the Township Solicitor Wednesday evening and discussed all considerations regarding the parade. In the Supervisor’s letter to the Fire Chief (attached) we expressed our support for a parade, but explained that we could not approve one at this time with the Governor’s stay at home order still in place, and with an ordinance in place requiring permits that protect the Township in such events. While the ordinance does not apply to a fire department responding to an emergency call, a parade is not an emergency response. Furthermore, everything that we are told by medical and science professionals in regard to the best way we can honor our front-line Heroes at this time is three actions: wash your hands often, wear a mask and stay home.
On her own accord, Chief Young posted on April 1st to the Mahoning Township Fire Department Facebook page (attached), “Due to the Governor’s stay at home order, the birthday parades that were scheduled in April in Mahoning Township have been canceled. We will re-evaluate the situation at a later date which will not be until at least May 1st at the earliest. Sorry kids but we need to do our part and listen to the direction of the Officials, so we can flatten the curve and get back to normal sooner, rather than later.” This decision by the Fire Chief was met with no criticism. The fact is in 27 days since the Fire Chief made that posting and then proceeded with this parade, the only thing that changed, despite the Supervisor’s lack of approval was that the number of Americans infected with Covid19 climbed to over 1 Million and the number of deaths of Covid19 exceeded 60,000.
In our letter we asked that the Fire Chief reschedule the parade at a later date after the County moved into a green status and we offered that at that time, we would assist with securing all necessary permits, etc. Furthermore, on Thursday morning Supervisor Chair Bill Lynn spoke with Fire Chief Young and again expressed the Supervisor’s unanimous support for a parade, but at a later and more appropriate date. That offer was refused as coming too late, but the fact is we could not have offered it any sooner than we did because we were never informed of the parade by the Fire Chief in the first place.
Much of the criticism leveled against the Supervisors has been that we do not care about our Front-Line Workers, or First Responders. The fact is we were the first municipality to sign off on the contract with the County for new radios for our Fire Fighters and Police Officers. Furthermore, we are the only municipality in the County to have provided 7 weeks paid leave to the Township Street Department during the Pandemic; three of whom are Township Fire Fighters and one is a Borough Fire Fighter. Additionally, we are the only municipality in the County to have instituted a policy of paid quarantined leave for the Township’s Police Officers during the Coronavirus Pandemic. An action for which we were recently lauded as leading the way and setting an example others should follow. As well, we are the only municipality in the County to have passed a resolution in support of Senator Regan’s legislation to amend the Heart and Lung portion of the Worker’s Compensation Act for First Responders in response to the Covid19 Pandemic; which has now been passed and signed by the Governor.
In this challenging time, we will continue to seek new and innovative ways to get the business of the Township done; all the while, taking every appropriate precaution to ensure the safety of our Citizens, Employees and First Responders.
Your Board of Supervisors
Please below Facebook Notice on April 1, 2020 from the East End Fire Department:
See below attachment from Mahoning Township’s Solicitor to Mahoning Township’s Fire Chief:
Letter to Leslie Young