Democrat Angel Valentin, appointed trustee, will face Republican Eric Hoppenjans to be trustee for the next four years.
Eric: “WTFD, at its core, is a volunteer department and my plan focuses on recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters first.”
Eric is wrong. WTFD isn’t and hasn’t been a volunteer fire dept for several years. This is a combination fire dept, we have a volunteer and career firefighters that work together closely.
The career FFs aren’t “supplementing” the volunteers and the volunteers aren’t “supplementing” the careers.
Back when we initially hired our 1st paid FF in 2010 and then our 2nd paid FF in 2015, WTFD as a volunteer dept supplemented by paid staff would have likely been an correct statement.
But by investing in those paid firefighters (and hire more) with benefits like; insurance, retirement, training, better pay, we went from just having “paid firefighters” to having “career firefighters”.
There is a difference and Eric doesn’t seem to understand that difference.
His constant “volunteer FFs supplemented by career FFs” statements are demeaning to the career firefighters we currently have and discouraging to any future potential hires.
EDIT: corrected some grammar. Had to delete initial comment and repost as I couldn’t figure out how to edit my original comment.
Eric, the department has had a station resident program since the early 1990’s. Resident quarters were built into the expansion of the old station 1 and currently exist in both stations. I can send you a complete list of the many station residents over the years including the current one. This is certainly not a new idea that you seem to be giving yourself credit for.
For over 10 years, I have been helping Wabash Twp Fire. Back when the first full-time firefighter started, I figured out how to finance the position. Over the years, I provided financial guidance to grow the full-time staff. When the township board needed help to attempt to keep the firemen, I provided the guidance to the board to transfer $500,000 to operating. Those funds were used to bring back the staff. I spent two months fixing the financial records of the past trustee so the state would permit putting the township back together.
Eric is the absolutely the most impressive trustee candidate that I have met in the 40 years I have been involved with township government. Please review all of his ideas. He supports both the paid staff and a strong volunteer department. He was raised in the volunteer fire department family. His knowledge is superior to any candidate I have ever know. Please review his research, you will find he takes the time to review how other departments across the county have been successful.
I helped your township get the major increase in the fire maximum levy. But I would have never imagined that your leadership would increase fire property taxes by 340% in one year. The taxpayers of your township will find out next April when their taxes increase. They are paying for the increase and don’t even know it will happen …
Eric's approach of cutting funding, not investing, etc. sounds like Jennifer Teising 2.0. Angel Valentin has done an incredible job with a township left in shambles by Teising. Eric isn't qualified for this position, and I don't think everyone in Wabash township is interested in reliving the Teising days.