There is an interesting story from the Borough of Hillsdale, New Jersey (Bergen County) where around noon today freshman Councilman Joseph “Rod” Capawana, who was also the borough fire commissioner, resigned over a comment he made during a council meeting last week. His comment on May 1 about the drinking habits of firefighters from the Hillsdale Volunteer Fire Department angered members of the department.
According to (Mayor Max) Arnowitz, during Capawana’s monthly fire department report, the councilman remarked, “They’re [firefighters] doing a lot of training and a lot of drinking” at the firehouse.”
Jerry Demarco’s article in the Cliffview Pilot last Wednesday had the same quote (recorded from the council TV broadcast) and talked to firefighters who made it clear that this was not over:
“Out of thousands or man hours we put in, that’s what they say about us?” one firefighter told CLIFFVIEW PILOT Wednesday morning.
“We depend on donations from the public,” he said, “and the public is being told by its fire commissioner [Capawana] that we’re drunks?”
I am dissapointed in both reporters, because while they talked to ranking officials of the department, they never told their readers anything about the Hillsdale VFD’s alcohol policy. Seems like an obvious question after the topic is brought up by the councilmember who is the liasison to the fire department. Also, wouldn’t the fire department want to make that crystal clear so there is no future misunderstanding?
In the coverage from both papers it does give the impression that alcohol is allowed. More from NorthJersey.com:
Arnowitz said he is unsure of what prompted Capawana, the council liaison to the fire department, to make the remark, but pointed out that the councilman’s comment was preceded by a discussion on a Joint Insurance Fund (JIF) training session on “civility, harassment and liability” for all borough personnel, including the mayor and council.
“When it came up, I said ‘Let’s have it in the Borough Hall instead of across the street [at the firehouse] where there’s alcohol’,” Arnowitz recalled.
Does that mean there’s alcohol for events in the social hall or is this a firehouse with a bar for its members?
The other question I have is if you allow alcohol at the firehouse, can you really be that upset about the impression or misimpression it leaves on political leaders and the public?
Is that a fair question or do I just not get it?
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