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The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Atkinson fire chief is in charge when disaster strikes

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson fire chief is in charge when disaster strikes

By Bryan Deyermond

ATKINSON — In case of disaster, residents can turn to Mike Murphy to lead the way.

Murphy, the town's fire chief, was reappointed as the town's Homeland Security director by selectmen on May 17. Murphy has held that position for more than 10 years.

"It's more of a coordination position," Murphy said. "We want to make sure we're taking care of the residents in a more systematic way."

Selectman Bill Bennett said the ultimate responsibility of the position is to respond to the needs of the town in a crisis situation.

The position was crucial during the severe ice storm that left many residents without power for days in December 2008. Murphy coordinated with town department heads, the Red Cross and power company officials to address the crisis.

Bennett wasn't a selectman during the ice storms, but remembered the work done by town officials under Murphy's direction.

"In 2008, the Homeland Security director was the pivotal person in charge," Bennett said.

The town used the community center as a shelter for residents without power.

"They turned out a pretty mean grilled cheese sandwich," Bennett said.

Bennett said Murphy's long-standing role as the town's Homeland Security director was also instrumental in the design of the town's fire station, built 10 years ago.

"He had the station built to standards that the federal government sets for disaster shelters," Bennett said.

The role was previously referred to as a civil defense director when it was created more than 50 years ago. While Atkinson isn't known as a hotbed for terrorist activity, Murphy said he had the title changed five years ago to help the community better understand his role.

"People understand it more with the names they're hearing thrown around in the news," Murphy said.


Anonymous said...

Nothing personal against Chief Murphy, but in the interest of full disclosure; and open and honest debate why aren't his credentials being discussed or mentioned in the article?

Chief Murphy is a paid call firefighter who is not appointed by the Town. He was elected to the fire chief position through the fire department itself.

So therefore it is possible that he could be voted out of office by his own people and go from wearing the white helmet of a chief, to the yellow helmet of a rank in file jake.

People love to critize how under qualified Chief Consentino is, but what are Chief Murphy's

I am not trying to denegrate either chief, but fair is fair, and if the citizenry of Atkinson is screaming that a part time police chief be replaced with a full time police chief; then shouldn't a logical companion argument be that a paid call firefighter who is elected to his position by his own department be replaced with a full time, fully trained and vetted fire chief?


Anonymous said...

If Mike, as HS Director, was in charge of the Homeland Security grant money, that never bought the communication equipment to put on the top of the FD, we'd probably actually have the equipment today.

Anonymous said...

So did they put the town computers at the FD? It would make sense if this is the main center of town. It was discussed.

Anonymous said...

At least Mike is elected. PC is neither elected nor appointed but he's here.

If Mike was not elected in the future, someone else could be appointed as HS Director. I don't see the problem or the correlation between Mike and PC.

I'd like to see qualifications for both of them, but PC isn't.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I don't hear anyone screaming for a FT Police Chief.

"then shouldn't a logical companion argument be that a paid call firefighter who is elected to his position by his own department be replaced with a full time, fully trained and vetted fire chief?"

That is not a logical companion argument because I have never heard anyone say we needed at FT Fire Chief. Your argument doesn't allow for a fully trained Police Chief that's fully vetted so why impose these extra requiremnts on the FD?

My bet is that Mike has more training and is more qualified in his job than Phil right out of the gate.

Anonymous said...

I also find it odd that it was Chief Murphy who changed the name from "Civil Defense" to "Homeland Security"...let's call it what it is. It is Civil Defense.

Second, why hasn't Homeland Security Director Janet Nepolotano...excuse me...Chief Murphy not applied for federal grants?

A neighboring town got federal money to pay for a 500k fire truck. Our fire department? Thye hit the tax payers up for 500k of tax payer money a few years back...a new rescue truch recently...and 60k every single year.

I agree with the first post. Fair is fair. If you are going after the police chief, then go after the fire chief. Hold them both equally accountable for their actions. If not, then it proves the point that this blog will only critize the police chief for personal reasons. Which, I thought were expressly forbidden in the preamble on the main page.

There is plently of blame to go around and plenty of questions that need answering on both sides of the the public safety aisle.

MAcciard said...

To 11:02pm;

Sorry but you have your facts wrong. The ladder truck cost $483,000 if I remember correctly. $120,000 was paid out of the capital reserve fund, the rest was done on a 5 year lease at $63,000/yr. at the end of 5 yrs. we own the truck for a buck.

We keep fire trucks for 30 years with a refurb at 15 or so.

The money that goes into the fire dept. cap reserve each year is to fund the fire dept. CIP. Chief Murphy has laid out a 30 year CIP to show each vehicles life span, when it would need to be refurbished or replaced, and the cost, the cap reserve fund is a savings account, that if continued will fully pay for each vehicle when they come up, so that there is no need for leases, bonds, or other financial hits.

Further the fire depts. budget has changed little over the last ten years. And when it has changed there is a corresponding expenses that necessitated it. Try applying that standard to the PD budget. It can't be done.

In 2008 the PD ran for a full year, accomplishing all of its duties and tasks, and spent only $634,000 to do it. The following year they claimed they needed $771,000 to do the same job, and our bobble head budget committee never bother to ask why.

Anonymous said...

If the money for the fire truck came the capital reserve and a 5 yr. lease, it still came from the taxpayers Mark.

tim dziechowski said...

"I also find it odd that it was Chief Murphy who changed the name from "Civil Defense" to "Homeland Security"...let's call it what it is. It is Civil Defense."

Google "NH homeland security" and you'll find plenty of information from the NH dept of safety. The decision to call it homeland security came from on high, and is part of an emergency management system which is supposed to coordinate responses among federal, state, and local responders.

"Second, why hasn't Homeland Security Director Janet Nepolotano...excuse me...Chief Murphy not applied for federal grants?"

He has and we got them. All of the FD's radio equipment was funded by a homeland security grant. We can only apply for whatever grants they offer, and so far there have not been any grant programs for fire trucks.

adillon said...

Who says he has no qualifications? No training, education, certification, etc. Has anyone ever asked?

Anonymous said...

It's Phil that has no education, training or certification. What does Mike have?

MAcciard said...

We have purchased all new digital communications equipment for fire dept. through Fed Grants mike applied for and town received. Can you name any police equipment we have gotten through Fed grants?

And yes Cap Reserve and leases ARE funded by taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

June 2, 2010 11:02 PM

Try doing a little research before you post nonsense. "Civil Defense" as a government agency has not existed for years.

But lets call a spade a spade. JMHO is trying to create a controversy where none exists. His posting shows me his true colors now. He's all about digging up dirt, most of it self generated.

"I am not trying to denegrate (sic) either chief". That is exactly what you are doing. And no, it is not fair. Please, show us in what aspect Chief Murphy is not qualified for his job. You imply he is. How about some facts to back it up.

MAcciard said...

I do not know what chief Murphy's qualifications are but I DO know what the police chief's are;

He passed a police officer test in 1980. he took annual refresher training classes from 1981- 1989. That's it.

By his own words he has had no annual refresher training or continuing education since 1989.

As a side note, his appointment as police chief expired on May 1, 1999, and has not been renewed since.

Carol Grant said...

Mike more than proved himself during that severe ice storm. He did a great job co-ordinating and taking charge of the big picture.

On top of that, Mike showed a compassionate and caring side to individuals. I can personally attest to that.

I had just had heart surgery and arrived home weak and on oxygen. When the power in Atkinson went out, there was no electricity to operate my Oxygen Condensor which I was in total reliance on. (It's a special machine that produces concentrated oxygen.)

Luckily, I had also been provided with an emergency tank of O2 but it only had a few hours of oxygen in it. Ken was desperatly trying to find a generator to operate the condensor on.

Unsuccessful, he then phoned Mike and explained the situation. Within a half hour, Mike pulled into our driveway with a fully gassed Fire Department generator for the Condensor.

He helped Ken set it up, said I could use it until the power came back on, and then Atkinson's white
knight drove off into the night.

Because of Mike's compassion and caring during a weather emergency, I got the oxygen I needed to get through a very rough time.

As far as credentials to serve as Atkinson's Homeland Security Director (or Civil Defense Director), Mike is more than qualified. He worked continually for the people of Atkinson during the aftermath of that ice storm.
He took on a lot of responsibility for making sure our townspeople got through it. Some people talk, while others like Mike DO, and DO IT WELL, including going out of his way to help those who had special needs.

Anonymous said...

Mike does not deny people services for political or personal reasons, he is respectful and kind, he does not voiolate the trust we have in him. I have never heard anyone question his qualifications, credentials or motives, except for one person who is jealous that the FD has showers.

Anonymous said...

Mike has been training as a fireman since he was a kid. He was a member of the Explorers of the Boy Scouts, sponsored by the Fire Department. At Christmas, the Fire Department has traditionally driven Santa around town to greet the kids. On Memorial Day, they hold a barbeque. The Annual Turkey Raffle is one big fund drive, at which everyone has fun. The money donated to, or earned by, the Fire Department goes to the Firemen's Association, and it's the association that decides how that money will be spent. The Chief may have some ideas, but I'm not sure he always gets his way. He only has one vote.

Training goes on during the year, probably every year. If there's an area where he feels the department could use additional or refresher training, the Chief makes sure they ALL get it.

It isn't often that you'll see Chief Murphy sitting before the Selectmen touting his department, or whining about money. How often do you see the Fire Chief being sued?

He's darned good at his job. I'm very comfortable knowing that Mike is there. You should be too.

Mike does his job, and does it well.

Anonymous said...

Phil who?

Anonymous said...

Well, JMHO. are you happy now?

Anonymous said...

hey tim, on june 3rd, EVERY YEAR THEY OFFER GRANTS FOR ALL TYPES OF EQUIPMENT. Google "AFG Grants" and you will see that it covers a wide variety of equipment for firefighters, please check your facts before you post..........and also, the radios were GIVEN to the fire departments by THE STATE after 9/11 when they created the NH dept of Homeland security...........the FD did not apply for them

Anonymous said...

anonymous June 5th at 2:11. what do turkey raffles and santa parades have to do with firefighting??? and Chief Murphy does a great job for a town that gets LESS THAN 500 calls a year? most of them being med calls that are handled by an IN HOUSE ambulance that is staffed 24/7......I would hope he does a "good job" considering most of the towns around atkinson get 500 med calls ALONE........just because someone has been in the position for many years, doesn't make them the best qualified.........

Anonymous said...

une 9, 2010 9:55 AM

And just because someone learned enough English to put two words together does not give the ability to determine the qualifications of another.

Chief Murphy is appointed to his position by his peers. A reasonable person, not necessarily including you, could conclude from this that he has the respect and abilities to those who elected him. Pretty high praise in my book.

What's your problem. You stub your toe and you didn't like the response time?