Smoke and Mirrors

The other night at the regularly scheduled board meeting, Kent Crider, Alderman/Self-Appointed Chair of the Lumberton Fire Department Board, gave a report that 19 firefighters responded to a recent fire in the City of Lumberton. A police officer in the audience also chimed in saying "that was the quickest response he ever witnessed." Kudos to the volunteers that responded to the fire. Now for the rest of the story. The ones responding to the fire were from surrounding counties. Also, the fire happened during a training session and the fire fighters were already at the fire station when the call came in regarding the fire. I'm sure Crider wanted to use the incident to show that the fire department is doing well without the assistance of the former members of the fire department, but if you're going to give kudos; provide the audience with the rest of the story.

In other fire department related news, there was a meeting of the fire board last night. From what I was told, the members of the fire board includes Kent Crider, Johnny Buckley, Jerry Brown, and a Lumberton Police Officer (the officer was on duty at the time of the meeting and arrived in a LPD patrol car but I am still trying to get the name of the officer.) In my opinion, this is a problem. It was noted at a special called meeting that Crider was in violation of a state law by serving on the fire board and the board of aldermen. I would think it would be a conflict for a police officer to serve on the board and equally problematic for that officer to attend a fire board meeting while on patrol. I also think there's some conflict having Buckley on the board as well. He's the city inspector/code enforcer and serves on the airport committee. I know Lumberton is small but it's not so small that we have a handful of individuals serving on almost every board within the city. I will follow up on this matter and see if I can get the name of the officer. But in the meantime, I will be forwarding my concerns via an ethics complaint to the State Auditor's office.

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