On Tuesday November 14 th , the Sumter County Board of Commissioners, (BOCC) is expected to appoint the first 5 members of the Dependent Fire Board. Those members subject to staggered elections in 2024 and 2026 will be responsible for defining both Villages Fire Services and EMS and creating a budget and funding source. It is important to understand that historically the vast majority of calls by the Villages Public Safety Department involve EMS and non-fire related incidents.

In September, the District Government presented to the BOCC a slate of 5 very well qualified individuals developed solely in consultation with an ad hoc committee of VHA leadership to serve as the initial Board. They include Dr Maryanne Scott, Dr Kathleen Gowin, Fred Briggs, John Dean and Chris Christopolus. Traditionally the BOCC adopts such recommendations as presented by District Government. This time the BOCC chose to delay the decision for two months.

Our first class community deserves a first class Public Safety Department. A first class Public Safety Department deserves a first class Public Safety Board.

Please contact the members of the BOCC, and urge them to follow their time proven practice and appoint the 5 individuals submitted by the District Government. Fire service and EMS are far too important to be decided by “politics”.

District 1 Roberta Ulrich [email protected]
District 2 Andrew Bilardello [email protected]
District 3 Craig Estep [email protected]
District 4 Jeff Bogue [email protected]
District 5 Don Wiley [email protected]

Let your voice be heard, email all of them today and attend the BOCC meeting on November 14 th 6 pm at Everglades REC.

Rich Cole
Roger Kass
The VHA Editorial Board