Last week, the Brattleboro Selectboard voted to reveal the major issues with Rescue that board members have known about but have not shared with the public. At the time, Chair Ian Goodnow said “It will be a meeting prior to our decision with ample time for public participation,” and “We’ll have a new schedule with plenty of notice for everyone.”
The public meeting to tell the full story from Brattleboro’s point of view took place in the middle of Tuesday’s EMS Public Forum, in comments made by HR Director Sally Nix.
Nix said she had been asked to present the issues Brattleboro has had with Rescue.
I asked her to send her prepared notes about the Rescue and BFD interactions:
“There was one investigation that was due to a complaint by Rescue regarding BFD staff, as part of the resolution of that investigation, this led to the Universal Incident Form between the two agencies (BFD & Rescue).
The 3 Incident Form reports I mentioned last night were submitted by BFD staff regarding concerns with Rescue staff on scene between May 2021-May 2022; Rescue staff did not submit these forms; and the 3 forms led to investigations which were conducted jointly with Rescue & BFD staff.
This is what I read last night, below.
‘I’d like to take this opportunity to respond to the accusations, concerns, and negative comments regarding the past relationship between Fire and Rescue staff. On December 23, 2020, Rescue filed a complaint alleging gender discrimination, poor patient turnover, verbal abuse, and general lack of cooperation by our Fire staff.
The Town is obligated to investigate all complaints. The HR Director is advised and consults with a VLCT Attorney, sharing the summary of the findings with the Town Manager prior to the conclusion of an investigation.
These complaints made by Rescue were jointly investigated by Town and Rescue staff. In April 2021 the Town concluded they were unfounded. The findings were shared with Rescue and were not refuted.
As a result of the investigation, to assist with inter-organizational concerns, a universal Incident Feedback form was created in April 2021. Either agency could submit the form to report any concerns or incidents that may have occurred on scene.
The form was used on 3 occasions between May 2021 – May 2022.
The first incident led to a joint investigation and pertained to Incident Command, and safety for all on scene. In Rescues’ conclusion they clarified Incident Command and safety protocols for their staff to follow in the future. The Town agreed with their conclusion.
The second incident led to a joint investigation, pertaining to training and the clear understanding by newly hired Rescue staff of the Operational Letter of Agreement between BFD and Rescue, and transfer of care. BFD’s conclusion was not refuted by Rescue.
The third incident would have led to a joint investigation pertaining to a similar incident as the first. This investigation was not completed due to the end of the contract with Rescue.’ “
Was this what the board requested? Town Manager John Potter says yes. “We discussed the inter-organizational and transfer of care challenges that the BFD experienced in the past which was our understanding of the motion.”