Falmouth’s town government likely took quite a hit this week after residents discovered that the West Falmouth fire station was closed Wednesday, July 1, despite assurances that it would remain open.
To his credit, Town Manager Julian M. Suso said in late February that the station would remain operational as long as firefighters are willing to work overtime to staff it. He said he was “cautiously optimistic” that volunteers would take overtime shifts.
That was a long time ago. In the meantime it appears that either no one asked the fire department staff if they were willing to work overtime or no one bothered to apprise the public of the situation. Either way, our town government dropped the ball.
We learned Wednesday that town officials met with some West Falmouth residents but it was too little, too late. A number of residents called or emailed the Enterprise to let us know that the station was closed. They were not happy about it.
The administration said the station is not closed, it’s just not staffed. That is an absurd statement.
Imagine going to a store on Main Street to find the doors locked and the lights out. If the manager later tried to say the store was in fact open but no employees were there, he or she would be the laughingstock of the business community. Imagine a store advertising that it was open 24/7 but only staffed from 8 AM to 5 PM. There would be a lot of confused customers.
The West Falmouth fire station might not be closed around the clock, but it was closed Wednesday morning. There can be no denying it.
If our town government aspires to have any credibility, officials have to be open and honest. Residents will not brook doublespeak.
Now the question is whether our town officials are able and willing to restore what credibility they have lost.