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Internal strife leads to upheaval at two volunteer fire companies

2013-01-05T14:30:00Z 2014-05-21T09:50:27Z Internal strife leads to upheaval at two volunteer fire companiesBy JON ALEXANDER--jalexander@poststar.com and DON LEHMAN--dlehman@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star

Internal politics apparently instigated the upheaval of a pair of Warren County volunteer fire departments this week, but local fire officials don’t expect an impact on emergency response.

At least six members of the Stony Creek Volunteer Fire Company — nearly one-third of the department’s total muster — resigned Thursday night after new officers were elected, multiple members have confirmed.

Town and department officials cited a power struggle that had been building among members hoping to succeed outgoing Chief Stan Ross, who was retiring from the company after three decades because of a health condition.

“We had a little coup,” said Stony Creek Supervisor Frank Thomas.

Ross was planning on stepping aside before Thursday’s vote, he said.

But after months of jockeying for the leadership post resulted in longtime member John Thomas being elected chief, angered many of Ross’s supporters, members and town officials said.

“I guess I went out with a bang,” Ross said Friday.

Internal political strife is not uncommon in small volunteer departments and sometimes results in the departure of scorned members following a contentious election of officers or amid power struggles.

Chief Thomas said Friday the resignations resulted from a “difference in personalities,” noting two new members were also added Thursday night and fire service in Stony Creek shouldn’t be impacted.

“As far as fire protection, everything is as good as it was before,” Thomas said.

A number of South Queensbury Fire Department leaders also resigned this week. Warren County Fire Coordinator Brian LaFlure said he was aware of a leadership shuffle in South Queensbury’s ranks.

“As long as they’re doing their job, it doesn’t matter to me who the chief or president is,” he said.

Calls to South Queensbury’s station and the home of the acting chief were not answered this week.

Copyright 2016 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(14) Comments

  1. zemkarlos
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    zemkarlos - June 15, 2013 11:21 pm
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  2. countrygirl1928
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    countrygirl1928 - January 08, 2013 2:50 am
    It's very sad to see that a company lost six members espcialy such a small one. Even prior to the loss of the six members stony creek often struggled to get a rig or truck off the floor. Many times...Luzerne, Thurman or warrensburg were mutual aided...With the loss of six members I honestly don't see stony creek fire an ems doing very much in the future you lost a dedicated chief a very dedicated driver, a decicated emt and firefighters.....This is only going to hurt stony creek as a community and it will stretch surronding communities as far as the fire an ems agencies.....All I can really say is I hope y'all are happy you're now down to a roster of what 18? In reality 15 or less because a few "members" do very very little if anything? I hope nothimg serioius happens in Stony creek due to the fact that Luzerne is about 15 minutes away, warrensburg is around 20 and not sure about Thurman...I don't see anything postive in this, you only hurt yourselves and screwed surronding agencies
  3. smalltownnews
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    smalltownnews - January 08, 2013 12:22 am
    Actually as I have heard, the Company had no problems in the past, well except for those that wanted to be a member of the Company and not do anything or go to anything and then once they were kicked out it seemed unfair. I have heard all these people that left were very active and it appears now traded for a few there now that play no role. There was no favoritism in the Company, there were officers in charge enforcing the rules and when people got pinched by them, they squirmed and tried to wiggle away from being thrown out. If you want to be a member be active and participate, if not, why bother joining. As far as posts after the election, well my goal is to get the right story and have that posted and so far I have seen lots of hearsay and bad information. So I believe once the truth is said and remains, then things can be let go.
  4. therealtownnews
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    therealtownnews - January 07, 2013 5:06 pm
    I'm sorry you feel the way you feel. But any kind of change is good, things should have been changed years ago, but nobody took the action to do so. And the actions they did take were mindless and made nothing better, but now things will be on the up look on how a department should be run, and how all members should be and will be treated equally with NO favoritism. This is a VOLUNTEER fire company, not a political building. I'm not trying to start anything, but all of the posts that are being made about The Stony Creek fire company all started after the election, that goes to show how immature people really can be. If the people were dedicated like they should have been, they wouldn't have walked out and made a big "affray" like they did. It's done and over with, let it GO!.
  5. smalltownnews
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    smalltownnews - January 07, 2013 12:43 pm
    Change where the majority of the Company violates rules and decisions is good? Change where officers elected in and not been around the previous year is good? Change where the officers in there now have possibly no clue what to do is good? I agree members should dedicate themselves to their Company and those that left did. On another note, I believe 3 or 4 of the members that resigned that night wrote their letters at the meeting, thus they were not pre-written. It sounds to me like they saw exactly what the Company was turning into and wanted no part of it. Time will tell how these officers lead and maybe they will do good and maybe they will do poorly. However, because of too many ego's the Company may have lost integral parts to help it function. PS, seeing you were there "realtownnews", were you a rule follower or rule breaker that night?
  6. therealtownnews
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    therealtownnews - January 07, 2013 10:27 am
    What the Stony Creek fire company needed was a change, and with the election finally OVER, the change will begin. The people who resigned took it upon themselves to do so. In any fire company the members should dedicate themselves to their company, members, the town and the towns people. With that being said, those people who again took it upon themselves already had a pre-written letter stating their recognition of resigning as it was presented to the secretary of the company. With the amount of years that a few may have had in the Stony Creek fire company, it was their own actions the night of the election that made themselves look unfaithful to the company, town and the towns people. On several occurrences of conversations and actions I would say were very unprofessional, and those unprofessional behaviors were made from those who resigned. I know, I was there!
  7. Stony creek
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    Stony creek - January 06, 2013 5:24 pm
    Stanley Ross gave this town 30 years of his life and this is your gratitude? He is a great man and he is the one who made the 2 am calls to most of our families and some of you decide to post negative statements about this man. if you are going to post defamatory statements then post with your name so that everyone knows who you are. be proud of the negative words you are speaking about Mr. Ross. The fire company is supposed to be a brotherhood or in your quest for control did you forget all of what you are supposed to be? You should thank him for his dedication and devotion to your families and leave it at that. Show some respect. In addition, I do believe there were quite a few members that joined e fire company in an effort to support Mr. Thomas. I hope the existing fire company members can figure out how to work like an actual team because someday they may need to depend on each other in an effort to save a life.
  8. GeT_A_LiFe
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    GeT_A_LiFe - January 06, 2013 1:15 am
    And there are only about 14 members left and 4 which are interior firefighters and 3 which are emts..so how can u run a company with only about 8 people who are active. 1 emt and 1 firefighter are always on vacation, i works for empire and never around, the captain never takes any calls, and one paramedic who works and is a busy guy. and your chiefs are always at the bar drinking? whos protecting our town... you lost a 30 + year chief who took every single call along with a driver who was very active and got that ambulance off the floor every single time, and a driver for the rescue who also was very dedicated and a few emts and u will soon be loosing even more from if they still decide to
  9. smalltownnews
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    smalltownnews - January 05, 2013 8:41 pm
    Well I know no one is implying that I did no homework before posting information, as any information I post has been confirmed by several members of the Company. So did you know of those 24 members, 5 have no firefighter training and 3 are auxiliary only. That leaves only 16 trained people, when they decide to show up, to be helping the community. And I know this other person that posted is not implying Mr. Ross is any less of a person for resigning. It sounds like what Mr. Ross and the 5 others did was quite commendable. Quitting a Company where half the membership wishes not to follow the rules and drive out good people...sounds like a Company not many would want to even be a part of.
  10. 10scemt
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    10scemt - January 05, 2013 8:27 pm
    As I read this article as a member of the stony creek volunteer fire company I know that politics have been an ongoing problem 1 year ago poor chief ross had to stoop so low as to get members of his family into the fire company inviting them to join in time to make sure they could continue his reign as chief. I lost a lot of respect for my chief that year. These new members all soon resigned after the voting was over. As far as the members we lost they all left on their own we didn’t ask them to leave, those of us that have stayed hope to continue our serve to our community so maybe the information the post star received from the victims the outcasts can now be seen from the point of view of an active member to the community you need us call us you want to come see what we do our meetings are Thursday nights stop up
  11. Stumpjumper26
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    Stumpjumper26 - January 05, 2013 6:38 pm
    There are a couple of things wrong in this article, firstly is that there are still 24 active members of the Stony Creek company, which leads me to believe someone didn't do their homework before tossing numbers into a story. And secondly, Stan Ross handed his resignation to the secretary just before the closing of the meeting, after he lost the election, I know this because I attended the meeting.
  12. smalltownnews
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    smalltownnews - January 05, 2013 6:09 pm
    What this article lacks: It doesn't indicate how the loss of six members will impact the community they served, as I am sure they were very dedicated. It fails to note that of the two new members added that night, as stated by Chief Thomas, one will no longer be there because of these issues. It doesn't point out that as many as 2-5 more members may also leave because of Company issues. It doesn't explain how members left because of bad politics that were played by those now in power. It fails to note that those in power refuse to follow the rules of the Company. And where are the questions? Can these new officers lead well? Do they have the training and experience? And no where does it commend those members that left for the time they served. Seems to me reporters need to do more research before deciding to print news. Chief Ross was an integral part of that Company and his forced departure, along with his supporters, will show how this Company will suffer.
  13. beyond - belief
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    beyond - belief - January 05, 2013 4:51 pm
    As Fire Coordinator Mr.Laflure may need to know who is in charge, however none of the fire depts. in Warren county answer to him or any of his under lings.
  14. RonChi518
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    RonChi518 - January 05, 2013 4:32 pm
    Uh oh... No one to man the waaaaambulance now.

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