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Mark Schwager Appointed Fire District Commissioner

The former town councilor replaces Jim Harris, who resigned in June to take job in North Carolina.

Mark Schwager, who served two terms on the Town Council, has taken a seat on the Fire District Board after a unanimous vote from the other four commissioners.

Schwager was the only applicant for the vacant position. He had been approved by the district’s nominating committee.

Schwager, who stepped down from the Town Council for an unsuccessful run for state Senate last fall, said he likes municipal government service and became interested in the Fire District while serving on its planning committee. As a physician he said he was especially interested in the EMS and Fire Rescue components of the department which are public health services.

In other business Chief Peter Henrikson told the commissioners he was holding a conference call Tuesday with representatives of the company building a new rescue vehicle for the department. It was due in September of last year, but has been delayed by federal changes in emission requirements and a company move from Wisconsin to Florida. 

When the district’s lawyer asked if he should be involved, Henrikson said the company had been notified that legal action was an option and he would make a decision on whether it is necessary following the conference call.

Henrikson also told the commissioners that by using the state purchasing program he had a price for a new command vehicle of just over $34,000, well below the $45,000 budgeted. However that was not a bid price and the commission instructed him to issue an RFP (request for proposals) to include other possible bidders.

The merging of the central dispatch function with Warwick is some six to eight weeks away from having equipment in place. The command staffs of the two departments met this week. When complete, the merger will free one person for full time duty as a fire fighter.

The town has done an internal posting for a mechanic, who would work on town and fire department vehicles. The fire department is participating in the program on an experimental basis for one year to determine it is workable. If no current town employee is interested in the job, it will be advertised to the public.

In an Odeum update, Henrikson said he had received a request to extend the date of a proposed September opening. He told the commissioners the theater’s board of directors is doing the best they can with the project, but there is nothing more the department can do now as they have not received a seating plan.

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