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Lou Witzeman, founder of the pioneering Rural/Metro Fire Department in Arizona, has reported to Reason that the International Association of Fire Chiefs held a roundtable on privatization at its recent convention in Atlanta. Included in the discussion were some of the main figures in the Dover and Willimantic controversies. Chief Charles Monzillo of Willimantic was the chair, and other panel members included Chief David Bibber of Dover, George Zoley of the Wackenhut Corp., and-representing the "established fire service traditions and management style"-Chief Paul Roach of Stoughton, Massachusetts (a state that has passed a law prohibiting the contracting out of fire protection).
The representatives from Dover and Willimantic recounted their towns' experiences with the issue of privatizing fire-fighting services. Bibber, for example, told of the shift in his own thinking, "gradually coming from a neutral position to one in favor of the private sector." Zoley then briefed the audience on the history of private-sector fire fighting.
Witzeman also pointed out that Falck and Zonen, a Danish firm that provides fire-fighting service to the majority of Denmark's citizens, has now joined the Private Sector Fire Association, started last year in the United States. As he said, it gives the organization "a fine international scope."