From the Editor: Empire Builders


Empire Builders

It is just silly of the county supervisors not to allow their paid firefighters to volunteer at their local firehouses in their off-duty hours if these are not the stations they are normally assigned to. The practice is common in nearby counties.

This policy only make sense in the context of the county fire and rescue department’s relentless bureaucratic empire building and its insidious “who, me?” efforts to undermine the volunteer civic organizations, notably the Crozet Volunteer Fire Department and the Western Albemarle Rescue Squad, who provide these services over wide sections of the county at high standards of dedication, virtual professionalism, and enormously lower cost to taxpayers.

WARS for instance is under steady pressure to start charging the people it carries to hospitals, a practice which will destroy its community support because folks will assume that its expenses are being covered. It will become a client of the county, all so the county can tap a new way to raise money, this time from insurance companies who will simply raise their charges on us. Expect the volunteers in both organizations to quit if that stage is reached. Already both CVFD and WARS are demoralized by the years of sniping and guerilla warfare from county officials.

These organizations are built literally on generations of community support and the volunteers’ personal sacrifices. They embody the ideal civic culture that Jefferson envisioned for America. We have achieved it.

But, no. County policy seems determined to exterminate them and apparently only out of local government’s lust for control, control, control. Empire building is rampant all through county offices.

It’s time for the supervisors to start representing us and not their employees. Those employees work for us, and just because we hire them does not mean they get to rule us.


  1. As a paid firefighter for Albemarle County, I wonder if you sought out any of our opinions before just believing everything Kostis and Preston had to report. Maybe Preston Gentry forgot to mention that the Department he retired from, Charlottesville FD, does not allow their firefighters to volunteer in the City due to FLSA laws. Seemed like a good policy to him while he worked there. The leaders at WARS and CVFD are extremely anti-County and will take every opportunity to make the County look like the devil. As a responsible reporter, maybe next time try getting both sides of the story before believing what you hear at the BP.

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