After months of deliberation, the Boston Town Board carried a motion to approve the service award points for the Boston Volunteer Fire Company and the North Boston Volunteer Fire Company.
The vote was taken moments after Bob Pollinger, president of the NBVFC, addressed the board at is meeting on Wednesday, July 18.
The awarding of the points for these two companies had been on hold due to the incomplete audit of the Patchin Volunteer Company, which was left off the motion in a previous meeting.
“Two months ago, the board turned down the motion to pass [BVFC’s and NBVFC’s] service awards for 2011,” Pollinger said. “It was explained that Patchin was left out of the motion because, as stated, ‘their 2011 audit for 2010 service awards program was incomplete,’ the rationale being that all three companies had issues – and they certainly did – and also the volunteers are a band of brothers, which I took as a compliment.”
Pollinger said he “welcomed” the audit, seeing it as “an opportunity to look at our own operation, how we did business in this regard [and] ... to make some improvements.
“The documents were sent within two weeks to Penflex, and they audited,” he continued. “After the audit was complete, we both agreed that some changes were necessary to bolster the integrity of the program within North Boston, all of which was done immediately, as stated in the post-audit review. I don’t think that’s disputed whatsoever.”
Pollinger said that, after the process was completed, he “felt great” about the way the North Boston company handled itself through the audit. “I personally was proud being as involved as I was at how we did,” he said, but added that he grew frustrated when the award points were initially declined.
“It’s incredible to me how the board collectively could turn down this audit, which I have said all along is a positive thing. The board has turned it into a negative thing to us and it has been a negative thing for our fire company and it’s been talked about a lot,” he said. “We did everything that was asked and we feel like we should be moving ahead.
Commenting on the company’s being called a “band of brothers,” Pollinger said, “We’re absolutely a band of brothers. We train together so that we can protect our town together. We put ourselves in harm’s way with each other with an implied trust that I’ve got your back and you’ve got my back regardless of what company you’re from. That’s extremely important in the volunteer business.
“But to ask us to get involved in each other’s business, like an audit, is not our business. We don’t want to do it; we shouldn’t be doing it. And I would stand in front of you today and say we won’t do it – it’s not our place to get involved in another fire company’s business.”
Boston Councilman Larry Murtha said, “My vote, particularly, is intended to keep the fire companies together as a band of brothers and I still feel that way.” But his motion to award points to all three companies was denied by a three-to-two vote.
“As of today ... everything was pretty much sent in,” said Supervisor Martin Ballowe, regarding Patchin’s audit, saying that company is missing just “three pieces of paper.” Board members said that, once those documents are received, they expect the audit to be closed.
“The audit still has to be closed for us to approve their points,” Ballowe said. “The town has paid for an audit. They tweaked things and I think everybody said it helped each other, what the audit represented. Nevertheless, the audit still has to be closed on [Patchin’s] part to approve points. You cannot approve points for a fire company that the audit isn’t closed. The other two companies were finished and closed.”
Ballowe’s motion to approve the other two companies’ service award points was carried by a majority vote.
In other board matters:
• Due to the closing of The Orchard Park Press, The Sun was appointed as Boston’s official newspaper.
• Two bids were received to replace the town hall’s roof. Sahlem’s Roofing and Siding offered a bid of $39,824, but Pat White Construction came in with a lower total of $35,400. The board approved PWC’s bid, as it “met all the criteria,” according to Ballowe.
• The board resolved to “designate the Town of Cheektowaga as the lead agency for the purposes of submitting grant application and administering the grant award.” Cheektowaga Supervisor Mary Holtz was “authorized to execute all financial and/or administrative processes relating to the implementation of the program on behalf of the Town of Boston.” Ballowe was “authorized to execute any and all documents to effectuate the terms of the grant.”
• Tuesday, Aug. 21 was scheduled as the bid opening for the Mill Street Storm Drain Project, as approved by the board. The bid will open at 10 a.m. on that day.
• The board carried a motion to issue the license for Boston Hills Homes and Estates. “As a result of the inspection, no violations of the Boston town code were present,” said William Ferguson, code enforcement officer.
• The planning board has an agenda set for its next meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 7:30 p.m. “We’re always looking for quality members for any of our boards,” said Councilman Jeffrey Genzel, planning board liaison. “Please submit a letter of interest to our town clerk, and we will forward that to the appropriate board for recommendation.”
The next Boston Town Board meeting will be held Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 7:30 p.m. All board meetings are held at the Boston Town Hall, located at 8500 Boston State Road in Boston.