MFPD residents at risk because of employee turnover, Zelle claims

To the editor:

This letter is in response to your comments regarding the hostility toward Mehlville Fire Protection District Chief Brian Hendricks at the March meeting of the Oakville Democratic Organization.

As you stated, one of our members invited the chief to address concerns about the department’s ability to address fire and medical emergencies.

You also correctly noted that some of those present had never attended one of our meetings. Any actual hostility directed at Chief Hendricks was from this group of non-members.

However, our members are concerned about the staffing levels and the experience level of the fire department.

Before Aaron Hilmer’s takeover of the department, Mehlville was a destination, not a feeder district. When a firefighter was hired, they were always fully trained and certified, and often with prior experience.

Now, the Mehlville district hires un-trained employees with no experience, and often once a firefighter gains experience, he or she looks for a position somewhere else. We think this puts us all at risk.

We are also concerned with how the district is spending money, such as a questionable land purchase and political ads paid for with our tax dollars.

When asked about these items, Chief Hendricks responded that he didn’t know the answer or it wasn’t his decision to make.

Asking pointed questions was not disrespectful, but an attempt to dispel our concerns. The chief’s answers did not do that.