Friday, November 30, 2007

Score another boner for Kenosha's rookie fire chief

In the latest chapter of How Not to Win Friends and Influence People, Kenosha's rookie fire chief, John Thomsen, wants to figuratively put a moat around the city and not share the city's hazardous materials unit with other fire departments in the county.

To be fair, Thomsen has some legitimate concerns. As Pleasant Prairie Fire Chief Paul Guilbert pointed out, the HazMat unit's costs have increased while contributions to defray the tab for assisting neighborhood departments have remained flat.

Thomsen's response, however, was bizarre: He simply wrote that expense out of his proposed 2008 budget.

Making sure everyone pays their fair share isn't wrong but it would seem much more prudent and progressive had Thomsen and Mayor John Antaramian worked in good faith to negotiate a solution. A smart fire chief certainly would realize that the day may come when he may have to seek help from neighboring communities and it's wise to keep friendships in good repair.

Perhaps the page that defines "intergovernmental relations" is missing from Thomsen's dictionary and, then again, maybe he just never read it. After all, Thomsen is the brain child behind the myopic and idiotic plan to close and relocate some city fire stations while at the same time defending the indefensible decision to keep the downtown fire station mothballed.

At the rate Thomsen is going, maybe the only fire trucks he should be allowed to play with are the ones made by Tonka.

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