We, 聽the members of the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department, 聽dedicate our efforts to the safety and welfare of the citizens of Leonia through preservation of life, 聽property, 聽and the environment., We will accomplish our goal by taking pride in our commitment to professional service by maintaining our skills, 聽knowledge, 聽and abilities., We will actively participate in our community, 聽serve as role models, 聽and strive to use all the resources at our command to provide the highest level of service to our fellow citizens.聽
 

Fire Department Ordinance Changes

Saturday, October 26, 2013  October 22, 2013



To Our Fellow Leonians,



In light of what has transpired over the past two weeks, it has become evident that the opportunity for constructive amicable discussion between Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, Inc. and the fire committee has all but evaporated. What remains is an ordinance that was created under a cloud of mistrust and retribution. Please understand that prior to June 13, both parties were in agreement that the existing ordinance was outdated and needed to be addressed. There were several areas where the ordinance and the By-Laws of Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 conflicted, and others that were simply outdated. We at the volunteer fire department have tried to make it clear that what happened on that June evening should have no bearing on an ordinance that governs the operations of the department for the foreseeable future. In fact, Article 29-5 of the present code states, " It shall be the duty of said [Fire] Committee to adopt regulations and rules for the use and manner of use of its property and appliances". Such rules did not, and never have existed. If the borough's liability was the primary concern of the Administration when closing the firehouse and disbanding the department, then the non existent rules and regulations should have been their focus in an attempt to limit it in the future. A new ordinance is not necessary to accomplish this.



With this in mind, the members of Leonia Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, Inc. feel that the residents (including members of the Fire Committee) need know exactly why we believe the new ordinance (2013-8) does not reflect the best interests of the Volunteer Fire Department, or most importantly, the residents of Leonia. Since this cannot be done in private meetings with the committee, we have no choice but to present our views in public.



Doing so all at once would require multiple pages and most likely would lose the reader's interest so we will present it in increments. We will be posting on several social media venues including Leonia Talks, Facebook and our website, http://www.leoniafire.org .



We thank you all in advance for your indulgence and hope this will give everyone a better understanding of our position.



Sincerely,



Leonia Volunteer Fire Department, Company No.1, Inc.



Legal Liaison Committee



John Dunn



Gregg Goldman



Robert P. Pawlick



Brendan Reilly



Brian Yeandle





Section 1. Establishment of a Leonia Volunteer Fire Department



There is hereby established a Leonia Volunteer Fire Department as a Department of the



Borough of Leonia.









Fire Department's Opinion:



Apparently, this is Chapter 29, Article 1, Section 1, Sub-Chapter 29-1. This Sub-chapter is mislabeled on the "Notice of Introduction".







While this sub-chapter does establish a Fire Department, it lends no authority to the Fire Company itself. The Fire Company (Leonia Volunteer Fire Co. #1 Inc.) is a not-for-profit (in NJ, 15A:1-1, et seq.) entity, and pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-7, a municipality has the authority to name a not-for-profit volunteer Fire Company as its official Fire Department. This has not been done. The relevance of this will be made clearer as we go on.







The Fire Company, as a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit entity, embodies the membership for civic, charitable, and non-firematic purposes. This includes our ability to conduct a fund drive or solicit funds to maintain our day-to-day non-firematic operations which include but are not limited to:



Sponsorships of local youth recreation teams and programs

Acknowledgements of the illness or death of one of our members or other community members

Support of other local charitable organizations, such as the American Legion and the Leonia Community Chest, local Leonia sports teams (other than Leonia Recreation teams mentioned above)

Providing food and refreshments for our members after fires, training, and meetings

Acknowledgement of special achievements of our members and local residents who have assisted the Fire Department, Fire Co. or our Borough

Our annual Officers Installation Dinner, which in many other towns, is funded by the municipality

Purchase of furniture and other amenities for the firehouse meeting room



The Fire Company also made significant donations (with tremendous support from Leonia residents) including money, clothing and toys to shore communities in response to Superstorm Sandy. Without recognition of Leonia Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, all of these activities will either be funded by the borough, or discontinued altogether.















搂29-3 - Membership





Any new interested person who desires to apply for membership after enactment of this



ordinance shall make application, in writing, to the Mayor and Council in order to be admitted to membership in the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department. All members shall meet the requirements for continued membership as set forth below:



(a) All applicants must be 18 years of age or older and shall be subject to a physical



examination, drug test and criminal background check. Applicants shall be either a



resident of Leonia or a resident of Bergen County residing within ten miles of Leonia.



(b) Shall hold a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate.



(c) Shall hold a valid New Jersey Driver鈥檚 License which is subject to verification each



January.



(d) Shall not have been convicted of any crime of the first, second, third, or fourth



degree or any felony or indictable level crimes in any State.



(e) Shall not have been convicted for any criminal or quasi-criminal offense that relates



to fires, setting fires, false fire alarms, false alarms or any sex-related offense.



(f) Shall not have been convicted of any criminal or quasi-criminal offense touching upon the member鈥檚 ability to properly and adequately serve as a member of the



Leonia Fire Department.



The Mayor and Council shall, upon successful review of the application and required criteria, by Resolution act upon such application. If approved, applicants shall become members of said Leonia Volunteer Fire Department and shall have their names entered upon a register to be kept for that purpose by the Borough Clerk and a personnel file created for that member by the Borough Personnel Officer. Appointees must complete a firefighter training program as approved by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety, within one (1) year of appointment. Appointees are not permitted to participate in firefighting activities prior to the completion of this training.







Fire Department's Opinion:



Section (f) requires clarification, especially following remarks made in an email sent by Councilman Knott last week. He wrote "It is also my understanding that in [fire department] discussions with the Mayor that he told you that going forward, there will be zero tolerance for conduct unbecoming for members of the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department". Section (f) combined with this statement would allow for an applicant to be disqualified based on a traffic violation or even a parking ticket! This concept also applies to long standing members as stated in Sub-Section 29-12- Additional condition of membership. Paragraph (c) states;



"If for any reason the member becomes ineligible or fails to meet the qualifications of membership, it shall be the responsibility of that member to notify the Chief who shall thereupon immediately notify the Chair of the Fire Committee and the Borough Personnel Officer of any arrest or conviction for any crime committed in any State. Conviction of any offense may result in disqualification from membership as outlined in section 29-3 herein. Every member shall submit to a background check every two years to be conducted by the Leonia Police Department and to be completed in January of every even-numbered year hereafter."

more ]

   


 

Ordinance 29-4 Fire Committee

Thursday, October 24, 2013  搂29-4 - Fire Committee.



Subject to the control of the Mayor and Council, the management of the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department and of the lands, buildings, property and apparatus assigned to the use of the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department and the management and direction of the officers and fire fighters belonging to the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department, be and are hereby vested in a Committee of the Mayor and Council to be known as the "Fire Committee" to consist of three members of the Council, who shall be appointed annually by the Mayor at the time of the appointment of the standing committees now provided for by the by-laws of the Council. The first appointment however, is to be made at the first regular meeting after this article shall take effect and for a term to expire at the time of the next annual appointment. It shall be the duty of said Committee to adopt regulations and rules for the use and manner of use of its property



and appliances, which rules and regulations, unless abrogated by the Mayor and Council, shall be binding upon all officers and members of the Department. To report the conditions of the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department, the apparatus and fire houses within the Borough, together with the amount of moneys deemed necessary to properly conduct the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department for the following year, to the Mayor and Council at its regular meeting in February of each year, and also that it shall be the duty of said Committee to meet at least once each month to receive reports as to the condition of the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department, to receive and check all bills for expenses of said Leonia Volunteer Fire Department, and to transact such other business as may come before it and to report the proceedings of each of its meetings at the next meeting of the Borough Council.











Fire Department's Opinion:



This sub-section is the same as in the old ordinance with the exception of the fact that mention of the "company" has been removed. This in itself makes it quite obvious that this is a conscious effort to remove any authority from Company No.1.



As written, this section appears to vest in the Fire Committee, oversight and control of day to day operations as well as emergency conditions which violates N.J.S.A. 40A14-68. The recent Court opinion in Gloucester County, Newfield Fire Company No. 1 vs. The Borough of Newfield, holds that day to day operations are left to the members of the company as is firefighting protocol at the scene of a fire. Furthermore, members of the Fire Committee have no specialized fire training that we are required to have. Putting aside the fact that it would create liability for the municipality to have lay persons advise as to emergency operations and direction of first responders, this violates N.J.S.A. 40A:14-54.1.

   


 

29-5 Life insurance members in good standing.

Thursday, October 24, 2013  搂29-5 - Life insurance for members in good standing.



The Governing Body shall provide each member in good standing of the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department with $25,000 of life insurance up until age 70. In addition, the Governing Body shall provide accidental death and dismemberment benefits as set forth in the accident and sickness coverage for emergency service personnel. The Governing Body shall provide the same insurance coverage to members of the Junior Firemen's Auxiliary. Each voluntary retiring member of the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department in good standing who is over the age of 70 or who has served at least 25 years shall be provided with $12,500 of life insurance upon retirement.













Fire Department's Opinion:



The purpose of this sub-section is to encourage members over the age of 70 to retire.



At this time, there are several members who have reached the age of 70. They have been dedicated volunteers for decades, with 2 members approaching 50 years of service to our community! Other municipalities would celebrate these men. (http://www.northjersey.com/community/111174774_Honored_for_50_years_of_service.html ) In Leonia, their thank-you is to show them the door, and cut their life insurance in half! If they so choose to stay, (as we expect they will) upon their death, their families would receive in recognition for their service......ZERO!



It's understood that at the age of 70, these members cannot perform the duties that they could in their prime. There are still many useful functions they can perform at an emergency. They also share their knowledge and experience with younger members.



To cast them aside is unconscionable.

   


 

Ordinance section f

Wednesday, October 23, 2013  搂29-3 - Membership



Any new interested person who desires to apply for membership after enactment of this



ordinance shall make application, in writing, to the Mayor and Council in order to be admitted to membership in the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department. All members shall meet the requirements for continued membership as set forth below:



(a) All applicants must be 18 years of age or older and shall be subject to a physical



examination, drug test and criminal background check. Applicants shall be either a



resident of Leonia or a resident of Bergen County residing within ten miles of Leonia.



(b) Shall hold a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate.



(c) Shall hold a valid New Jersey Driver鈥檚 License which is subject to verification each



January.



(d) Shall not have been convicted of any crime of the first, second, third, or fourth



degree or any felony or indictable level crimes in any State.



(e) Shall not have been convicted for any criminal or quasi-criminal offense that relates



to fires, setting fires, false fire alarms, false alarms or any sex-related offense.



(f) Shall not have been convicted of any criminal or quasi-criminal offense touching upon the member鈥檚 ability to properly and adequately serve as a member of the



Leonia Fire Department.



The Mayor and Council shall, upon successful review of the application and required criteria, by Resolution act upon such application. If approved, applicants shall become members of said Leonia Volunteer Fire Department and shall have their names entered upon a register to be kept for that purpose by the Borough Clerk and a personnel file created for that member by the Borough Personnel Officer. Appointees must complete a firefighter training program as approved by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety, within one (1) year of appointment. Appointees are not permitted to participate in firefighting activities prior to the completion of this training.







Fire Department's Opinion:



Section (f) requires clarification, especially following remarks made in an email sent by Councilman Knott last week. He wrote "It is also my understanding that in [fire department] discussions with the Mayor that he told you that going forward, there will be zero tolerance for conduct unbecoming for members of the Leonia Volunteer Fire Department". Section (f) combined with this statement would allow for an applicant to be disqualified based on a traffic violation or even a parking ticket! This concept also applies to long standing members as stated in Sub-Section 29-12- Additional condition of membership. Paragraph (c) states;



"If for any reason the member becomes ineligible or fails to meet the qualifications of membership, it shall be the responsibility of that member to notify the Chief who shall thereupon immediately notify the Chair of the Fire Committee and the Borough Personnel Officer of any arrest or conviction for any crime committed in any State. Conviction of any offense may result in disqualification from membership as outlined in section 29-3 herein. Every member shall submit to a background check every two years

   


 

Ordinance Section 1

Wednesday, October 23, 2013  Section 1. Establishment of a Leonia Volunteer Fire Department

Fire Department's Opinion:

Apparently, this is Chapter 29, Article 1, Section 1, Sub-Chapter 29-1. This Sub-chapter is mislabeled on the "Notice of Introduction".

 

While this sub-chapter does establish a Fire Department, it lends no authority to the Fire Company itself. The Fire Company (Leonia Volunteer Fire Co. #1 Inc.) is a not-for-profit (in NJ, 15A:1-1, et seq.) entity, and pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-7, a municipality has the authority to name a not-for-profit volunteer Fire Company as its official Fire Department. This has not been done. The relevance of this will be made clearer as we go on.

 

The Fire Company, as a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit entity, embodies the membership for civic, charitable, and non-firematic purposes. This includes our ability to conduct a fund drive or solicit funds to maintain our day-to-day non-firematic operations which include but are not limited to:

Sponsorships of local youth recreation teams and programs

Acknowledgements of the illness or death of one of our members or other community members

Support of other local charitable organizations, such as the American Legion and the Leonia Community Chest, local Leonia sports teams (other than Leonia Recreation teams mentioned above)

Providing food and refreshments for our members after fires, training, and meetings

Acknowledgement of special achievements of our members and local residents who have assisted the Fire Department, Fire Co. or our Borough

Our annual Officers Installation Dinner, which in many other towns, is funded by the municipality

Purchase of furniture and other amenities for the firehouse meeting room

The Fire Company also made significant donations (with tremendous support from Leonia residents) including money, clothing and toys to shore communities in response to Superstorm Sandy. Without recognition of Leonia Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, all of these activities will either be funded by the borough, or discontinued altogether.



 

There is hereby established a Leonia Volunteer Fire Department as a Department of the

Borough of Leonia.





   


 

Never Forget 9/11/01

Wednesday, September 11, 2013   

     



 

Rt 95 North Car fire

Tuesday, April 2, 2013   

     

 

341 Sylvan Ave Working Fire

Monday, April 1, 2013   

     

 

Structure Fire

Monday, June 4, 2012  At 09:08 hours the Fire Department was dispatched for smoke coming from a building at the intersection of Broad Ave and Elm Pl. County Communications quickly re dispatched the Fire Department, confirming a structure fire at 300 Elm Place, a 3 story occupied multiple dwelling. Engine 1, staffed with only 3 firefighters, quickly responded and stretched an attack line to the 2nd floor where one apartment's kitchen was on fire. The aggressive actions of these firefighters quickly extinguished the fire. In addition to Engine 1, Ladder 1 and Rescue 1 also responded. Mutual aid assistance was received from Fort Lee Ladder 1 and Englewood Engine 1. The Fire Department operated for approximately 4 hours.
 

     

 

MVC Jones Rd. and Grandview

Friday, April 13, 2012  At 17:06 the Fire department was dispatched to at motor vehicle crash. Engine 1, Rescue 1 arrived on scene to find that a small dump truck had struck a utility pole and was leaking fluids in the roadway. Companies went to work securing the trucks battery and cleaning the fluid spill. No injuries were reported.

     

 
 
 

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