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Will bad press ruin local fire departments?

The public perception of the department, and those associated with it, can also impact the success of the organization.

"Public support does play a role and can be a powerful motivator," Norcross said.

And for a department like CFD, who counts 100 years of volunteer service in the community this year, community support does not waver easily, even in light of unfavorable media attention or rampant rumors.

"For someone who has no other point of reference, the recent media attention can seem alarming, but for the members of the community who are more familiar with the reality and the facts of the situation there has been a strong showing of support," Norcross said.

Camillus Deputy Supervisor Kathy McRae said she thanked Norcross for working with the town in a true spirit of collaboration and cooperation.

"The town is committed to resolving this issue and if necessary will facilitate further meetings between all of the fire departments serving the town," McRae said in an e-mail. There were few residents in attendance during Tuesday's town board meeting, and no public comment or reaction to Norcross' letter, she said.

In spite of the harsh criticism of the press, Norcross said department membership does not seem to be affected.

"I was afraid it would, but we have been strong with member retention. New membership has been up these past few months so we are excited," Norcross said. "Once a prospective new member visits the department it is hard for them not to want to be a part of it. There is always something interesting going on."

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