Written by Tom Hach, Concord resident for 30 years
Dear Fellow Concord Residents,
I am asking for a few minutes of your time to draw your attention to what I believe is a lack of effective leadership at the top of the Concord Fire Department.
As background, the Concord Township Trustees have placed a property tax bond levy on the November ballot as their proposed way to improve the fire stations in Concord. There is also a group of residents, including me, who have formed an all-volunteer group called Affordable Concord Taxes (ACT), and we believe there is a more cost effective way to begin addressing this issue.
On September 9th, members and supporters of ACT, including me, posed for a picture across the street from Concord Fire Station 2 on Prouty Road to avoid interfering with Fire Station 2 operations. We did this to draw attention to our well researched stance that the best way to balance the needs of fire fighters and taxpayers is to start by replacing Fire Station 2 using existing Township tax money, and then address Fire Station 1 in the future once the economic and pandemic situation is fully resolved.
Whether you agree with ACT or not, reasonable people should be able to civilly disagree in Concord, but that is not what is happening. Chief Sabo publicly attacked everyone participating in the photo saying “They are disgraceful”. Disgraceful for what? Expressing an opinion contrary to Chief Sabo’s?
The Chief also takes what was clearly the unintentional timing on when the picture was released to social media to deliberately assume the worst of the people supporting ACT.
Additionally, Chief Sabo called me out by name, and in a social media post refers to me as ‘#unamerican’ and ‘#classless’. While people, including Chief Sabo, are entitled to their opinion, it should be noted I served over 21 years in the Navy Reserves, deployed to Baghdad, Iraq (2006/2007) and had a 21 year career working for the Department of Defense. I am also part of four successive generations which have served in the military, including a great uncle who survived the Bataan Death March and WWII. Read his story here, it will be worth your while: https://lobbyistsforcitizens.com/2020/09/05/we-must-emulate-the-prior-generations/
As for the ‘#classless’ charge, readers are welcome to come to their own conclusion.
What started out as a tense and somewhat caustic campaign season has turned into an unrelentingly toxic environment where the Trustees have turned a blind-eye to the bullying, defaming and intimidation tactics perpetrated by Chief Sabo.
In my combined 33 years of service to the country, I know how to recognize a good leader, and I believe we have a problem in Concord Township.
Here is my opinion of Chief Sabo’s leadership abilities:
- Wrong man for the job – Dealing with a divergent community requires a leader to have tolerant temperament and coolness under duress, and as his comments regarding ACT make clear he has neither trait
- In over his head – He brings a fire fighter-only mentality to a position which requires a more sophisticated understanding of the role the fire department plays within the broader community
- Poor judgement and disrespectful – Attacking the people he is supposed to serve and who pay his salary fundamentally shows poor judgement and disrespect for those who disagree with him
To be clear this is about Chief Sabo in his role as Chief and not about Chief Sabo as a person, and if I were told he is a great husband, father, friend, community member, etc. I would not hesitate to accept these things as fact. I also suspect he was an outstanding fire fighter, or he would not have been promoted to Chief.
But setting these points aside, in my opinion, Chief Sabo has not grown into the position of Chief, and he is the wrong person to lead the Concord Fire Department.
As a result, I call on the Concord Trustees to censure him immediately.
Whether you agree with ACT or not, you have a stake in resolving this toxic environment in favor of ensuring free speech in Concord, if for no other reason than to preserve your right to speak out against those future Township actions that are not acceptable to you.
Please contact the Trustees and let them know you want your voice to be preserved and that Chief Sabo needs to be censured. Please find Trustee contact information below.
30 Year Concord Township Resident
Trustee Contact Information:
Carl Dondorfer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Morgan McIntosh: email@example.com
Amy Lucci: firstname.lastname@example.org