Manor mayor, councilman leave fire department
Manor Mayor Jeremy Dixon and Councilman Brian Woy insist there is no smokescreen hiding deeper reasons for why they quit the Manor Volunteer Fire Department for the company in neighboring Westmoreland City.
Dixon and Woy have been responding to calls for three months with the North Huntingdon company, which is based in a station just outside of Manor. Its fire hall is about half a mile from the Manor station.
Dixon, a former president of the Manor fire department who has 20 years of service with it, serves as Manor's emergency-management coordinator. Woy, who had been a captain with the department, is the deputy emergency-management coordinator.
Both said no ill will is behind their departures, and both said they think leaving the Manor department means they will be able to concentrate more on the borough's needs during an emergency instead of feeling conflicted about whether they should be heading out on a ladder truck for Manor.
Dixon, whose wife remains an auxiliary member of the Manor department, said he thinks his elected role as mayor and appointed role as emergency-management coordinator are more significant than serving as a Manor firefighter.
“It just doesn't make sense, to me, for how I can best serve the community,” Dixon, who took office in January, said of wearing three hats in Manor during emergencies.
Woy said the Westmoreland City department, which responds to about twice as many emergency calls as Manor does, provides an opportunity to continue learning.
Though Manor fire Chief Jeff Shoaf conceded that losing two experienced firefighters is a blow to the department, he said he understands their reasons.
“We have no qualms with either of them,” Shoaf said.
Because Westmoreland City's station is so close to Manor, and manpower is an issue for all volunteer departments, Westmoreland City firefighters end up helping out for the main calls in Manor, anyway, Woy said.
“I'm still helping out and doing what I can for Manor Borough, but I'm also helping out in North Huntingdon and Hempfield Township,” said Woy, who was named the Manor department's 2012 Firefighter of the Year.
Being with Westmoreland City also eliminates any potential conflict of interest that Woy, the Manor Council vice president, might have regarding the fire department, which receives some funding from the borough. He previously received an advisory opinion from the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission stating he could vote on department-related matters because he was not a member of the company's executive board.
“Not being associated with (the department) anymore, that takes that perception (of a conflict) that might be there away,” Woy said.
An Allegheny County consultant for ambulance services and fire companies — who also is an elected official and first-responder — said it can be difficult for some people to serve in multiple roles in a community.
J.R. Henry is the mayor of West View in the North Hills, but in his day job, he's the executive director of the Valley Ambulance Authority, which serves 16 communities in Pittsburgh's western suburbs.
In some communities, it's hard to find enough people willing to serve in public office, let alone risk their safety to be in emergency services, Henry said.
“I, personally, could understand that there could be times where there could be some divided loyalties, like wanting to go out on a ladder truck, but serving in a leadership role takes precedence,” he said.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Up to 12 Penn-Trafford students might be charged in ‘sexting’ case
- Penn Twp. officials task zoning board with handling drilling permits
- Apex Energy CEO discusses Penn Township plans
- Penn Township inks deal with clerical workers
- Trafford aims to quickly tackle drilling ordinance
- Penn Township commissioners hear from supporters of shale drilling