Mediator needed in fire-station dispute

Dear Editor:

Based on the Feb. 18 article printed in the Aspen Daily News, Snowmass Fire Chief Steve Sowles’ response to his firefighters’ complaints is strikingly arrogant and stubborn. Why not hire a neutral mediator to initiate conversation between the firefighters and management? A mediator would open communication and provide constructive criticism for both parties. There should be nothing to lose and only to gain by doing so, and the chief’s opinion that “the grievances are groundless” is not only irrelevant considering the grievances are against him, but it also seems to be a disproportionately narrow-minded response – unless he is afraid of what mediations may produce.

Just as unsettling is your disregard for the issues vocalized by the firefighters. You make the board of directors sound like an incestuous aristocracy rather than an effective management team.

We all have relied on or someday will rely on the invaluable services of our local fire and ambulance department. At this critical time, the most support we can offer in return is our voice. I encourage you and all residents of Snowmass Village and the greater Roaring Fork Valley to ask for a mediator to initiate open conversation between firefighters and management, as well as an investigation into to the practices of Snowmass-Wildcat Fire management.

Cate McLean

Snowmass Village