Interim fire chief resigns at rowdy board meeting

CREATED May 21, 2014

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SILVER LAKE - Residents yelled at the village board.  Board members argued with each other.  The interim fire chief resigned after a controversial vote. 

Wednesday's meeting is the latest tussle over the future of the dysfunctional Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Department.
 
"It seems like fixing a paper cut when there's a bullet wound right next to it," one resident said.
 
The meeting started with a few passionate, yet civil public comments.
 
"It is a danger to our citizens," another resident told the board.
 
Tension in the school gym escalated quickly.  Firefighters and their supporters stood while the issue was discussed.  Rules of order were largely ignored by everyone in the room.  

The fire department is low on volunteers.  Trucks with aging tires are said to be unfit for service.  Firefighters asked the board to enter into a short-term contract with neighboring Salem to handle emergency calls while the department regroups.

When the board turned down the proposal, Interim Chief Roger Pattie stepped to the microphone and resigned his leadership post.  
 
Pattie told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray he would "definitely" be concerned about who would respond if a fire broke out in Silver Lake.
 
Village President Sue Gerber said the community is now dependent on fire departments in surrounding communities.
 
"We would be because of what happened here tonight," Gerber said.
 
The meeting adjourned with no plan in place.