I had a difference of opinion with one of the commissioners, Wahlers explained by telephone. Im a very pushy person. The frustration boils over. Im stubborn. They were shocked. I wasnt willing to do what they wanted me to do and they didnt give me any options. And they were the bosses.
There are five fire commissioners in the town of Somers. It is a publicly elected position.
Somers has four fire houses and around 130 volunteer members. As Fire Chief, Wahlers was in charge of all of them. He was voted into the post of Fire Chief in May by his fellow firemen. Before that, he was Assistant Chief for three or four years.
As Fire Chief, he said, youre the manager a lot of the time, telling people what to do. I missed doing hands-on when I became chief. We do things besides fires. We go to car accidents and medical emergencies. I get a happy feeling helping people who cant help themselves. Unfortunately, you dont remember the good things so much. Its the bad things that stick in your mind.
Wahlers graduated from Somers HIgh School in 1982 and joined the fire department right afterward. He has five children, ranging in age from 9 to 16. One of his past assignments in the department was teaching children about fire prevention. As a fireman you get a lot of respect, he said. Too often, people dont realize its an emergency until its too late.
Wahlers made a point of saying he is happy working with the fire department and plans to continue. He just feels he cannot act as fire chief unless he can do things his way.
No one on the Fire Commission was available for comment.
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