Regionalization - What's holding it up?

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Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Timeout on Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:21 am

In my opinion, the town leaders have never been fully invested in regionalization. Although the selectmen have scheduled meetings and have touched the tip of the iceberg by sharing a fire chief, no effort has been put forth to establish a committee to explore other regionalization possibilities.

We are and have been regionalized in schools, waste board & school board. We now share a part-time fire chief. Much more could be done with town managers, town officers, public works, police, tax collectors, efforts in attracting business, etc., etc., etc. This board has been extremely slow-moving in making any cooperative efforts. Additionally, lack of information to the public, for instance why we decided not to share town managers, has contributed greatly to the public's general sense of wandering management.

Len Greaney, an outspoken proponent of regionalization, has been given few opportunities to forward this cause. The door is still open at this point, yet it appears the selectmen are blocking that door. Cooperative efforts need some kind of unified vision. Maybe it would be a good idea for the board to appoint a board or committee to explore all the possibilities of regionalization. Former Chairman Buccina, along with Selectman DiConzo, initiated discussions on regionalization with Mexico. With the change of board members and appointment of an interim town manager, it appears these efforts have fallen by the wayside. What would it take for these efforts to be revitalized, especially with the new budget season looming just ahead?

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Timeout on Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:32 am

Another thought and probably one I should have included intitially: The primary focus of regionalization should be efficiency and improved services. If the primary focus is purely financial savings, the effort will likely fail. The benefit of savings is an outcome of efficient and improved services.

Before you jump on that, think about it. The approach I suggest is in line with a sustainable model that considers human resources, natural resources and financial resources...all three for the best possible outcome.

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Timeout on Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:52 am

I would further contend that board members might better serve the community if they chose to define themselves as stewards or caretakers of the area's resources. More or less like the often heard about servant-leaders rather than the authority figures...a paradigm shift that is challenging but not impossible.

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Z on Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:17 am

If a model of regionalization is needed to look at, then all anyone needs to do is look at Med-Care. Med-care is a regionalized service.

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Timeout on Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:24 am

Excellent example about Med-care, Z - and the outcome is there to back up what I believe: improved efficiency (natural resource management) and improved services (human benefits) results in profitability. (financial benefit)

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Thank God People are starting to see the big picture

Post by public slave on Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:26 pm

Med-Care has been regionalized for 20 years and has afforded all of we taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings since their inception. Look at their subsidy figures which are less than 15% of their overall operational expenses. The Town of Rumford pays less than $100,000.00 annually for 24 hour coverage. Look at that compared to the expenses of the other town services. Trash costs more than Med-Care. Our supposed leaders continue to increase the distance between us and our neighbors by their ineptness and their lack of leadership and vision. Why would anyone around us want to regionalize with Rumford when they are all doing a better job individually than they ever would by getting involved in Rumford's mess. Rumford is on an island and the other towns aren't going to be the shuttle ferry to bail them out! The lack of leaders, selectmen, in town don't have the capability to understand regionalization to begin with. They have had it with Med-Care and look what they are doing and saying to them. I think the river valley towns should tell Rumford to cease and desist or they will cut off all discussions with them on any front because it appears to me that once again the Rumford selectmen are jeopardizing the entire ambulance service to the other communities. If they don't realize when they are looking a gift horse in the mouth with Med-Care I surely wouldn't think any other town would want to jeopardize their taxpayers to the Rumford control. It is clear that Rumford only wants it for financial reasons as they have shown with the Fire Dept. they don't have the ability to understand the delivery of service side of the equation or anything else for that matter. They are lost and out of touch and I will close with this - Our Rumford selectmen accuse the Med-Care Board members of being out of touch HA! Our selectmen haven't looked beyond their own personal agendas since day 1 and have no clue what the common taxpayers needs are.

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Timeout on Wed Dec 17, 2008 6:07 pm

Just to be clear, the sustainability model is not a linear function...it is comprised of three overlapping circles. The area of intersection is where we should focus our energies. Think venn diagram, where each circle represents a type of resource - economic, societal, environmental:

Not that this thread is intended to be about Med-care, but anyone can measure the success of Med-Care for themselves by evaluating its overall operation in this context. Does it satisfy a social need? Does it operate in an efficient, resource-preserving manner? Does make the best use of economic resources? Not hard to say yes to all of that. So, what is served by anyone wanting to eliminate Med-care? True we don't agree on the new building but to throw out the entire operation is not rational. Back to the point, there are tangible methods of measuring the benefits of regionalization...a sustainability model is one of them.

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by KevinNSaisi on Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:07 pm

Wow Time0out, I haven't heard technical talk like that since college. I hope that everyone here has their degree. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by xmashen on Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:10 pm

It sure spun MY head around... i am still dizzy!

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by xmashen on Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:12 pm

I think she could give JSN a good run for her money any day!

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by xmashen on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:13 pm

I was just watching the " tribute to GOVERNOR (the neocons always have to use that preface) Sarah Palin" on TRR (ok, so slap me, i went there!) and I really wanted to slap somebody... ANYBODY!. Some people can't just let a poor shot moose die in peace!

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by 911Dispatcher on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:39 pm

LMAO.....you watched the whole things....I got to about 5 seconds. Jen thinks fiscal responsibilty is so important she should google MatMaid Dairy, or look at how the state HAS to make budget cuts after she gave everyone is the state 1200 (not that I'm complaining cause I did cash the check)

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by 911Dispatcher on Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:54 pm

Oh and did you also hear shes getting a raise.......oh the double standard!

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Timeout on Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:32 am

Okay, maybe the words are technical but the sustainability model is simple. Here's an example that's closer to home:

Consider a family's needs: When the family bases all of its daily choices and actions around making money, earning money, spending money, saving money and worring about money, what is the quality of family life?

If the parents forego a few hours of ot and spend more time with junior on that crazy "project" he's working on in the barn, is there a payoff? Either short term, long term or both? Does it benefit the family? The community?

When the family focuses on reusing, recycling and redistributing it's "stuff", is there a realized savings? Is there a long term benefit to junior's future? Is there a benefit to the community?

It's not rocket science but sustainability is a way of life that requires a more wholistic kind of thinking. I believe plenty of people here in Rumford can understand what I'm talking about...especially those with thrifty New England Yankee values.

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Timeout on Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:57 am

Here's another example of sustainability in a small business:

My snowblower wouldn't start yesterday. A friend who uses a local repair shop called them and asked if they could help me.

Abrupt: Did you buy it here?

No (got it from a friend - no idea where they bought it)

Yeah, well, we make people who buy here our first priority...(lovely sentiment, if I had bought it there).

You'll have to wait at least a day or two because we can't get out to Rumford Point.

Okay, what if I bring it in myself?

Same thing - a day or two.

Yup, okay, well, nevermind.

Guess where I won't be buying the new snowblower if I need one?

You got it.

Taking care of the regular customers...good.

Ignoring future customers...not so good.

There's got to be a balance in here somewhere.

Sustainability is about balancing needs, both short term and long term.


Last edited by Timeout on Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:52 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Timeout on Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:03 am

PS - See what I like about Adley's? I didn't buy my car there but he still fixes it...go figure.

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Timeout on Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:12 pm

Okay, I know you're all dying to know what happened with the snowblower. This morning I called Bailey's in Bethel or Locke Mills or something and the guy told me how to fix it over the phone...some little adjustment to the carburator. Ta dah! I'm ready for snow...bring it on...(but not too much please)...lol

Oh, btw...no charge. Guess who I'll be recommending for service?

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by FireDawg314 on Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:35 am

I must say that in all the time that I've done research on regionalization in the fire service I have never seen the sustainability model brought up. It really is an excellent concept, though and essential for any agency or business's survival. I have actually spent quite a bit of time looking into fire service regionalization over the past several years, most of it being a few years ago when I was still in school. It is an interesting topic with a lot of options and factors that can come into play.

Timeout, I'm glad you pointed out the primary purpose for regionalization because I agree totally. Could a couple of the other departments in the valley successfully regionalize? Absolutely! Would it save money, potentially. Would it provide more effective, streamlined delivery of service with potential for increased scope of service, most definately.

This is what's holding up a more extensive look at regionalization throughout the valley... the Rumford selectman. Other towns dont want to bear the burden of what "Rumford" doesnt want to pay for, and I can't blame them one bit. Hopefully we will see them start letting Gary to the job they hired him for... Managing the Rumford Fire Department.
And as was stated, Med-Care is a perfect example of how a regionalized service can work over the long run. There have been problems other than the recent ones, but they've been solved and the agency is better for them.

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Vigs on Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:33 pm

You can spend all day making graphs, talk about figures but the whole concept is to have hands on to train and deliver. You can talk till you blue in the face so no matter if your a college grad or even a high school drop out if you want it bad enough you can do it.

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:13 pm

Quite simply, it isn't being done because nobody really wants it. The Mexico board won't do it with Rumford unless it saves them money. They ignore the increase in service, and the potential savings in insurance premiums to the homeowner. Rumford won't do it because they don't want to be paying the lion's share of the bill. In order for these departments to come together, the combined budget would have to be less than Rumford's current budget. That would make Mexico's share a little less than their current budget. But the two departments cannot run effectively at that rate unless we drop some full time firefighters. So, what do we do?

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Timeout on Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:26 pm

Firedawg, I'm glad you appreciate the sustainability model. Obviously I didn't make the model up but I know it's how I live personally.

We all have different thinking styles. This diagram will speak to some and not to others. I like it because it de-personalizes the discussion about who will or won't cooperate.

Here's the black and white thinking model:

If we are just looking to save money, then we can go ahead and cut departments and eliminate town government. That will save money and eliminate the need for taxes...municipal services are what the taxes are for.

or,

we can provide every single service everyone wants without thought to cost and keep raising taxes.

or,

The sustainability model is absolutely harder work, no doubt. But it provides those shades of grey, those middle of the road possibilities. If we want more efficient, stream-lined services for people, then we have to find a way to work through it, without getting rid of tax supported services.

The model is just a framework for thinking about a balanced solution.

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by 911Dispatcher on Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:34 pm

You know there is funding that you guys are forgetting. Has anyone factored in grants and ear marks. There is tons of federal monies available for programs like these. I know because I help file for them in my department yearly. We've gotten new radio towers, encrypted radios, etc. all from federal grant money. It will help cut the cost to the tax payer. Also while were at it if Rumford is the largest town (population) they are going to have to deal with paying the lions share, its called common sense. Not only that but are we only looking at combining Rumford and Mexico...why not tap the tax bracket in other towns like Peru, Dixfield, Roxbury? Like Vigs said if you want it bad enough you can do it.

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Vigs on Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:35 pm


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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by Dave on Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:21 pm

Timeout makes some excellent points regarding regionalization. In particular, the "The primary focus of regionalization should be efficiency and improved services. If the primary focus is purely financial savings, the effort will likely fail. The benefit of regionalization is an outcome of efficient and improved services.".

Like simliar communities throughout Maine, the road to regionalization is a slow, balky one. Most towns view it on the "what's in it for us" perspective, in particular, "will it save us money".

This is inherently the wrong focus.

Let's look at Mountain Valley High School as an example. As a proud graduate of Mexico High School, I would of welcomed being part of a consolidation high back then. Just from the aspect of being able to have higher level Math courses, higher level Science courses, better music programs, and additonal after school extracurricular activies. Unfortunately, the communithy mindset at that time was as stubborn as it is now. Not until both sides of the river had horrific football seaons did the community decide it was time to merge the schools.

This is perhaps oversimplified, but the same groupthink issues are involved today

Let's be realistic. If there wasn't a river flowing through the valley, there never would of been two towns created to begin with. And there is certainly no reason to have two towns now.

Fire Departments are a necessity to the region. But there are far more requirements and standards than there was once were. For example, needing 4 people to fight a fire.

The communities now have some type of sharing committment, but that has been strained by inadaquate Rumford Firefighting funding. Just how far is it from the Rumford fire station from the Mexico one?
Not far.

It is ridiculous to continue with two seperate forces, just from an operational efficiency persective. Would you save money by combingin them? Maybe a little. But that's not the reason to do it.
You'd gain a more efficient, effective, and strong force.

Frankly, I think it's preferable to just combine the towns, and then the rest of integration would follow. But if not, regionalization of fire service is certainly a good start.

Don't listen to naysayers like Ms. Norris and Mr. Therriault who want to reduce services to the town. Their thinking is simply penny wise, and pound foolish, in my humble opinion.

Sometimes it's easier to change the people then to change the people. Citizens of Rumford should change a few Selectman and enable the regionalization process to start.


Last edited by Dave on Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:43 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

Post by 911Dispatcher on Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:26 pm

Here Here applause

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Re: Regionalization - What's holding it up?

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