- Published on Wednesday, 16 November 2011 22:16
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Tim Trivett spoke out at Thursday’s Town Council Meeting as a private citizen airing concerns regarding activity by unnamed members of the Colonial Beach Rescue Squad. Holding leadership responsible, he raised concerns that vehicles with emergency tags were being driven at high speeds through town streets with no regard for public safety.
“For too long now, there have been a couple of vehicles that have emergency tags on them that’ve been flying up our streets, Bancroft and all into the town for emergencies and not showing any regard.” Trivett questioned whether the council would be liable for accidents resulting from a member responding to a call.
Trivett implied that some of these incidents were unwarranted, saying, “We have people that are untrained running to the scenes, to medical emergencies, it’s even after some of these scenes have already been secured and you have medical personnel there.”
Trivett also addressed the personal use of rescue squad saying, “these vehicles are being used for personal use, on a regular basis, on a daily basis!”
Trivett questioned personal use of these vehicles with the concern that taxpayers may be paying for the gas. “I don’t know whether you, in your budget, provide this money for them to drive these vehicles or how they pay for the fuel that’s in these vehicles, but I think whether it’s tax payer dollars or donations or whatever it is, it’s just not right.”
Town Manager, Val Foulds said in a phone interview Monday morning that the town does provide $30,000 a year for the Volunteer Rescue Squad as a contribution to help with operations but said that there are no restrictions on how the money is to be used by either department.
Trivett mentioned a special meeting concerning fuel bills for the rescue squad saying, “And you as the council, I know that you’re aware that you just recently called a special meeting because that organization owes you somewhere between ten and eighteen thousand dollars in fuel bills.”
Foulds stated that there was no special meeting called with regard to the CBVRS specifically. She said the only recent special meeting that may fit that description would be one that was scheduled for Oct. 6 and was for “the purpose of going into a closed meeting with legal counsel to discuss collections law as it relates to one or more delinquent accounts.” Foulds did not confirm which accounts and stated that the meeting was canceled because the “purpose became irrelevant.”
Trivett said “I have seen over the last few months where that organization has lost numerous members.
I think it’s very sad that ladies that I’ve known my whole life have basically been forced out of that organization as the ladies auxiliary.” Sandy Rodeheaver, President of the CBVRS Auxiliary confirmed Trivett’s statement.
Rodeheaver, who has been a member of the auxiliary for 10 years, said things weren’t always bad at the Colonial Beach Rescue Squad; in fact she said the problems only began recently, but she has noticed a gradual change over the last year and a half.
Rodeheaver said the auxiliary has been subjected to recently promoted members yelling, cursing and even accusing the auxiliary of stealing. Repeated verbal abuse, according to Sandy, has led to the auxiliary voting to disband because auxiliary members feel insulted by members of the Rescue Squad.
“We have been told we are not needed! The auxiliary raised $10,000 in 2010,” Rodeheaver said. “We have women in their 80’s who have been here over 40 years who feel they deserve an apology from these members.”
Rodeheaver said to date they have tried to have a meeting with Chief Ridgely but their request has been denied. Rodeheaver feels there has been a shift in the balance of power and the squad seems to be split by these problems.
The auxiliary had planned to continue operating until Dec. 31 when their term ends, but the women have tried to reenter the squad building and have been met with more verbal abuse leading to members reluctant to return until the situation is resolved.
Trivett, who is also the Colonial Beach School Board Chairman and an active member of the Colonial Beach Volunteer Fire Department, made it clear he was speaking as a citizen and not “for” or “as a part of” any other organization in town. “Mr. Mayor, Town Council, I want to make it clear that I’m speaking as a citizen and a taxpayer and not as a member of any organization that I belong to,” Trivett began his comments.
Trivett ended by saying, “I’m really worried about that organization folding because some of the best members that’ve ever been there have left and are leaving because of the poor leadership and I’m sorry that the whole council couldn’t be here tonight because I wanted to share my comments with all of them, because I think that everyone of you need to be aware if that vehicle hits somebody then it’s going to be a serious issue.” Trivett concluded by saying, “And there will be a lawsuit and there’s gonna be some people standing up to talk about this when it happens.”
Councilman Ronald “Sparky” Ridgely, Chief of the CBVRS, was out of town with other key rescue squad members at an awards conference and unable to attend the meeting. Councilwoman Karen Payne who is Chairwoman of the Budget Committee was also absent.
Ridgely said in a phone interview Sunday evening that he and some of his crew had just returned from a conference, and was not prepared to make an official statement until he could review the allegations and conduct meetings to investigate the matters of concern brought up by Trivett.
When pressed he said he would be prepared to make a statement by Friday at the latest.
CBVRS attended the EMS Symposium Governor’s Award Ceremony last week held in Norfolk and was awarded the Governor’s Award for Outstanding EMS Agency of the Year.
Carolyn Marsh of the Spotsylvania Volunteer Rescue Squad nominated Colonial Beach for the Rappahannock EMS Council Agency of the Year award early in 2011. After winning that award CBVRS was among 11 finalists who moved on to the Governor’s Award Program where it won. The criteria for the Governor’s Award requires a squad to strive for consistency in EMS excellence and exhibit exemplary performance when providing pre-hospital emergency medical care.
Ridgely credits their win to a great group of volunteers who helped secure the title of EMS Agency of the Year along with an award winning website, a unique retention program, a 100% response rate to emergencies during hours covered by volunteers, a growing Junior program, and a remarkable response time average for rural EMS.
In 2011 CBVRS also became the first agency in the Rappahannock EMS Council to carry an automatic CPR device.
Ridgely said, “Receiving this award is a great honor to each of our dedicated volunteers.”
Note: The complete video of Trivett’s statements can be viewed on the Journal’s website, journalpress.com.