27 January 2009
Mayor Donel C. Smith
Town of Southern Shores
5375 Virginia Dare Trail
Southern Shores, NC 27949
Dear Mayor Smith:
The Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. Board of Directors, conducted an emergency meeting on January 26, 2009, in response to your seven day “deadline” for responding to a de novo proposed contract presented by the Town on January 20, 2009.
After a thorough review of your proposed contract and the facts surrounding the Town’s recent actions, the Board made the following findings:
1.The Town of Southern Shores has breached the Fire Services Contract dated July 1, 2008, by violating the terms of the contract, specifically paragraphs 1.(b), 2. and 9.
2.Further that the Town, by communicating its ultimatum to accept a contract without recourse, including public comments made by the Mayor to that effect, that further violates paragraphs 1(b), 2., 3(a& b), 4., 5., 6., 7., 8., and 9. has further breached the mutual promises and agreements upon which the contract is based.
3.That by refusing to negotiate after more than four requests and notices, while publicly asserting that it was negotiating, even to the extent of deceiving certain members of the Town Council, the Town has expressed its intent to extort a contract that is unfavorable to the Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., including provisions that would supersede the current contract thereby canceling the mutually agreed upon terms and conditions.
4.That the Town of Southern Shores has yet to respond to the proposed long-term contract submitted to the Town on October 28, 2008 through the Fire Service Advisory Board.
5.That through its actions, the Town appears to be engaged in an effort to seize the assets of a private not-for-profit corporation without compensation.
6.That the terms demanded by the Town in its proposed contract would cause grievous and irreparable harm to the corporation, its individual members and retirees, the residents of Martin’s Point who are served by the Corporation, Dare County and indeed the residents and taxpayers of the Town of Southern Shores.
7.That the ramifications of the Town’s actions will also negatively impact other communities including, but not limited to the Town’s of Duck and Kitty Hawk.
In consideration of these findings, the Board passed a resolution declaring the Town of Southern Shores to be in breach of the Fire Services Agreement dated July 1, 2008 and hereby terminates the Contract and Agreement for cause, effective immediately upon delivery of this letter. The Board empowers the Fire Chief to deliver this notice of termination at a time and place that is convenient. The Fire Chief is also instructed to deliver a proposed contract meeting the needs of the Fire Department and the citizens of its service area at the same time.
The Town is offered a period of seven (7) days from the effective date and time of this notice to accept the contract delivered with this notice or negotiate, in good faith, a mutually acceptable alternative. The Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. will continue to provide Fire and Rescue services during this period without compensation.
The Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. is composed largely of residents and taxpayers of it’s service area and remains committed to serving the communities of Southern Shores and Martin’s Point. The Department is frankly tired and disgusted with the continuing political games foisted upon it by the Mayor and representatives of the Town. In the interest of resolving this matter quickly in a manner that best serves the public interest, and because of the recent experience with administrative incompetence and dishonest posturing, we respectfully request an opportunity to negotiate with representatives of the Town other than the current Mayor or Town Manager.
If we are unable to negotiate a reasonable solution to this matter within the seven day period, The Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. will deliver notice to the office of the State Fire Marshal and Dare County that we no longer provide contracted fire service to the Town of Southern Shores.
To protect the interests of our friends and neighbors, we will continue to provide emergency and non-emergency responses to calls for assistance with in the Town as mutual aid, without contract at least through June 30, 2009.
We look forward to a timely resolution to this matter.
George Kowalski, Chairman
CC: Town Council