Anne Arundel County's top fire official resigned today saying he was disgusted with the "self-centered attitudes" of some of the county's 1,400 volunteer firefighters.
Fire administrator Robert J. Dvorak, a 16-year county employe, cited personal reasons in a resignation submitted to County Executive James Lighthizer, but in a telephone interview he said, "I didn't need that kind of aggravation anymore."
He said he was disgusted with the "self-centered attitudes" of some volunteers who attended more to their own station's interests than those of the county as a whole. The county also has 400 paid firefighters.
"The county charter said there is one fire department and the fire administrator runs it," Dvorak said. "Individual volunteer companies, if they're going to survive, are going to have to be part of that department.
"Unfortunately, while we have a lot of good volunteers . . . there's a small group which, like the proverbial ostrich, hide their heads in the sand. This is a big, urban county and it can't be run like their own little pet projects any more."
He gave no details, but instead said it was a general attitude.
John Smith, one of three volunteer representatives on the county's fire advisory board and the board's chairman, disagreed with Dvorak's assessment and said: "I think that you got rotten apples in the paid and volunteer segments , but, overwhelmingly, the majority of paid and volunteer firefighters are willing to live with the system."
Smith said that for most of his 16-month tenure Dvorak was isolated from both volunteers and paid firefighters. Dvorak denied the allegation.
Dvorak also critized F.J. Zylwitis, the county executive's public safety aide, for siding with complaining volunteers against him and providing them a channel to the executive. Zylwitis responded that his job is to be a conduit between Lighthizer and community groups.