Proud of fire merger deal

Proud of fire merger deal

As a member of the Cumberland Town Council, I was always supportive of the fire district merger proposal. I, alongside my colleagues on the council, voted to put the question to the voters on the 2012 ballot. Eighty percent of the voters approved the idea of moving forward with the merger.

Now as an elected member of the R.I. House of Representatives, I continue my work on the consolidation from a different capacity. Throughout the 2013 legislative session, the Cumberland delegation, alongside Mayor Dan McKee, the four fire chiefs, and the unions, came together to work out an agreement between all parties.

After months of work, Senate Bill S-958A reflected the agreement of all parties involved. The legislation merges the four fire districts into one and it allows voters to elect a seven-member fire committee in November 2014. The bill passed the Senate unanimously.

When the bill reached the House, I was proud to join with two of my three Cumberland colleagues in voting in the affirmative on the final bill. While there were amendments offered, I opposed all those changes because they would have jeopardized the deal that all the parties had agreed to. I, along with the overwhelming majority of House members, voted to preserve the integrity of the agreement made after months of work on this issue. If any changes had been made, the bill would have been sent back to the Senate, where it could have been rejected and the whole deal would have been in peril.

With passage in both chambers, I am excited to see the consolidation process begin. This has come after many years of conversation. Voters will now have the chance to elect a fire district committee and most importantly, have one unified fire district. I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Cumberland, as well as Lincoln, to the best of my ability. As I did on this issue and all others, I always put forth the people's interests first.

Rep. Mia A. Ackerman

District 45, Cumberland-Lincoln