I recently read a letter addressed to the residents of Secaucus that was sent by the firefighters of the Secaucus Fire Department regarding three volunteer firemen who had resigned.
While I understand that the Secaucus volunteer firemen community has strong feelings of camaraderie for these three men, the facts of the situation should not be forgotten. Although the letter I read states "...we will not bore you with the details...", the fact is that the details are very important, and they are that two members of the Secaucus community were harassed and threatened on their own property by firemen who were attending a gathering on the firehouse premises.
The names of the alleged perpetrators were only discovered during the civil trial. Because this information had not been forthcoming, only the Town of Secaucus was named as the defendant. During the trial the firemen in question had the opportunity to express their side of the story but chose to avail themselves to the protection of the 5th Amendment. Since they were not named as defendants in the civil action, no charges could be brought against them.
In view of the information developed during the trial, the town decided to convene a departmental inquiry. Rather than face an internal department inquiry into their behavior, the three firemen chose to resign.
I am sure that the altruistic feelings that brought these men to volunteer as firemen resulted in many heroic actions but their underlying bias might have resulted in less than judicious decisions. Certainly their decision to resign rather than face a departmental inquiry brings into question their innocence as well as their judgment.
It is apparent to me that the authors of the letter to the Secaucus residents used funds for printing and postage costs that were donated by the Secaucus community. This money was not intended for that purpose but rather for the upkeep of the firehouse and the recreational comfort of the volunteer firemen. This use of donated monies is a gross misappropriation of funds.
I would hope that your newspaper will serve the community by explaining the situation in detail and publishing as much of the trial transcript as is palatable.