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Carthage fire district earns good marks in finances, recruitment numbers

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CARTHAGE — The Carthage/Wilna Fire District learned at a recent meeting that it earned good marks in terms of recruitment and financial viability after reports from its auditor and fire chief.

The district received an excellent annual audit by Crowley & Halloran Certified Public Accountants, Auditors and Consultants, Watertown. “The district received an unqualified opinion, which is the highest,” Michael W. Crowley said.

Pamela J. Halloran said the district’s net position numbers had increased, which is “a sign of good financial strength.”

Fire Chief Sean P. McHale reported recruitment and participation continue to go well. He said the department has 42 active members and applications are still coming in.

“We are averaging 13 to 14 people turning out for calls — a lot of helping hands,” he said.

He also reported that volunteers had participated in two winter training sessions — cold water rescue and snowmobile rescue — in which LifeNet, the helicopter emergency service, was involved.

The training was conducted with the Harrisville and Croghan departments.

“We have developed a great relationship with Croghan,” Mr. McHale said. “They have versatility of equipment. Using their Ranger (utility vehicle) has opened our eyes to its functionality and versatility.”

The chief suggested the apparatus committee, which was formed to purchase the pumper truck, stay in place to research future purchases. He also strongly recommended the purchase of an automated external defibrillator.

Continuing its discussion of employee evaluations, Chairman Jon W. Storms presented a 15-point review, which included items such as attitude, attendance, dependability and quality of work. He asked the commissioners to review the list and rate the importance of the items. They then can determine how much each item is worth and designate scores to correlate to a percentage of pay increase.

“I want to put this to bed at the next meeting,” Mr. Storms said.

In other business, the commissioners agreed to allow the department’s aerial truck to be used as part of a memorial service at the 2014 Northern New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association annual convention, which is to be hosted by the West Carthage Fire Department.

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