Written by D.F. Karppi Friday, 03 June 2011 00:00
As the Oyster Bay Fire Company and the Atlantic Steamer Fire Company discuss a possible merger, it would appear that both companies are on the same page, just agreeing to get there using different routes. The OBFD voted unanimously to merge and to begin discussions on the details, the ASFD voted unanimously not to merge but to form a committee to look into the details of a merger.
Atlantic Steamer Fire Company Chief Ty Jimenez said on Friday, May 27, that his company voted the first week of May, “unanimously against the merger. There was not one vote for it at this time. Part of the motion was to put forth a merger committee to explore the options.” He said they don’t want to be forced by outside voices to merge. “We want a cost analysis. We have a merger committee that will sit down with OBFD in the next 10 days, and come together – so we are not just forced to act.”
He said it was a good vote in that there is now a committee formed. “It’s got to be all worked out. I’m a taxpayer and I understand what people want - to save money - and I don’t disagree. But we need to sit down and talk. There are a few variables involved.”
Chief Jimenez said, “I’m chief until December, and I’m a businessman, and I see what happened with the school budget being voted down and I don’t take that lightly. I didn’t vote – as a chief, but there was a unanimous vote not to merge under pressure.”
Chief Jimenez said they are already working on things to save money – “We combined our family day outing,” he said. When asked about a combined installation, he indicated it can be something down the line.
“There are ways to cut corners and save costs that need to be discussed so we’ll see where we go from here. But be sure, we want to continue the discussions,” he said.
On Thursday, May 26, the Oyster Bay Fire Department had announced, “By an overwhelming majority, The Oyster Bay Fire Department has approved a motion to formulate an appropriate merger plan and to merge with the Atlantic Steamer Fire Company. Although finalizing the merger process involves approving a plan and both companies approving it by at least a two-thirds majority, the Oyster Bay Fire Department remains clearly committed to go forward.
“The membership of the Oyster Bay Fire Department maintains the highest level of respect for the traditions and legacy of both our department and the Atlantic Steamer Fire Co. It is that respect and dedication that causes us to work closely and effectively together every day to provide the high quality emergency services which the public has come to expect. The officers and members of the department look forward to meeting with the Atlantic Steamer Fire Company and to work together to consummate this merger,” they concluded.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto had asked the companies to tell him their decision by June 1. That was after the concept of a merger was first brought up at a town hearing by Peter MacKinnon, the attorney for both Cove Neck and Oyster Bay Cove.
At that time, Rosemary Bourne, the Oyster Bay Cove mayor said the it was about time for the merger.