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Council Won't Approve Money For Review of Fire Stations, Despite Appeal From Chief

Giliberti appears before council, but stalemate continues.

Medford Fire Chief Frank Giliberti appeared before the Medford City Council last night, but that wasn't enough to persuade the council to approve $53,000 to fund a preliminary study on renovations to the city's six fire stations.

By a vote of 3-3, with one absent member, a motion to approve a transfer of funds from an insurance account to the Fire Department failed last night. The funds would be used to fund a feasibility study, the first phase in renovating the city's fire stations.

Councillors Breanna Lungo-Koehn, Robert Penta and Michael Marks all said they couldn't support the funding, at least for now.

The council should tour all of the city's fire stations and prioritize necessary repairs before approving the funding, Marks said.

"I refuse to sit here and be a rubber stamp," he said.

Marks also said he believed the city needs a capital improvements plan to provide better oversight to facilities maintenance in all municipal buildings.

Prior to the council's regular meeting, Giliberti appeared before the councillors in a committee of the whole meeting, where he told them the needs for all the stations will likely cost millions of dollars, and maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars for only minimal improvements.

Fire captains from the city's stations drafted lists of everything from minor repairs, like replacing door knobs, do major structural issues at stations, Giliberti said.

The station for Engine 5, for example, cannot handle the shifty seasons of New England.

"That building belongs down in a warm climate," Giliberti said.

Lungo-Koehn said she didn't know what Mayor Michael McGlynn planned to do with the feasibility study after it was finished. , it was tabled at the time because the council members wanted to speak to Giliberti first. .

Camuso and Frederick Dello Russo both voiced support to approve the funding on Tuesday night. They both voted in favor of a resolution to approve the funding, along with council President Robert Maiocco.

Robert Penta, the other councillor to vote against the resolution, did not attend the meeting of the whole, but said he couldn't support the proposed transfer of funds because it wasn't specific enough.

"I don’t see how you can vote on something when you don’t even know what buildings you are talking about," Penta said.

Councillor Stephanie Burke did not attend last night's meeting, so the motion to transfer funds was locked in a 3-3-1 vote and failed.

samantha fleishman January 20, 2011 at 04:36 AM
How is it councilor Penta does not even know what fire stations we have in our city? Unbeliveable! And after all his complaining about the Mayor not going to council meetings he does not even attend the committee of the whole meeting? Its understandable why he does not know what buildings the Chief was talking about! And councilor Lungo said "all we got was answers at the committee meeting?" isnt that what you asked for? answers! Marks also voted to defeat this even though in his opinion these repairs are Emergency in nature! Ok councilors, you voted this down.....what is your solution? The people would like to know! Lets look at this....just do nothing! and let the stations fall deeper into dis-repair and leave the Fire Chief with no Master plan to guide him in his efforts to remedy the situations! Where is the other department heads? Why havent they come forward with plans? The fire department should commended for bringing this matter forward not punished.

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