Scottsville Volunteer Rescue Squad surprised by decision

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- News that the Scottsville Volunteer Rescue Squad (SVRS) was being taken over by Albemarle County Fire Rescue came as a surprise to many people, including SVRS leadership.

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted to dissolve SVRS on Wednesday.

"We did not know it was going to be on the agenda. No one had given us the courtesy of letting us know," said John Waits, who served as chair of SVRS.

He says he thought SVRS and the county had reached a tentative agreement for the county to provide a professional chief to help with volunteer recruitment.

"It was a disappointment to have the county bureaucrats kind of scuttle our deal because I thought it was a model that might work to sustain other volunteer agencies in the future," Waits said.

Scottsville District Supervisor Rick Randolph disputes Waits' claim that a deal had been reached.

In a letter posted on Facebook, Randolph says the SVRS repeatedly failed to tell the county when it didn't have volunteers on duty, and that made response times longer.

Randolph also says before the meeting, the board gave public notice of a closed session to discuss a rescue squad in the southern part of the county.

"No board member going into the closed session discussion on this topic knew in advance what the other five elected representatives of Albemarle County would decide," he wrote.

Waits takes issue with the accusations in Randolph’s letter. He says there were times that volunteers were not able to fulfill their shifts, but he says it was also a problem with the paid Albemarle County EMTs who were assigned to work at SVRS.

Waits says it's not the decision to dissolve the organization that upsets him; it’s the way it was done. But after speaking with Albemarle Fire Rescue Chief Dan Eggleston, he says he can live with it.

"We were mostly concerned about having ambulance service in the southern part of the county originating in the southern part of the county,” he said. “I felt confident talking to Dan that that would continue to happen."

Eggleston says his department welcomes the Scottsville volunteers to continue volunteering with Albemarle.

"We'll sort through other matters with the squad, which we've had a long-term relationship with, a very productive and beneficial relationship," Eggleston said.

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