Harassment from Outgoing Fire Chief
We have recently had a change in fire chiefs, and the ex-chief is livid. He has been Fire Chief for 16 years, but the last few have been rough on membership. I have been the 2nd Assistant Chief for 12 years and have noticed the difference also. When it was informed to me of the members wanting a change, I told them that I wanted to at least talk to the Chief and get him to setup a special meeting to bring all of this out in the open and try to resolve, at least partly, the differences. He wasn't worried, he said that we didn't need a special meeting, and that we would go to annual meeting and see what happens. Before the elections, he had called me a couple of times and threatened me that if I decided to run against him that he would be a pain in our butts. He would come to all the township meetings, fireboard meetings, and one way or another, get things done his way. He also stated to me that we had received a $ 7,500.00 DNR grant for suppression equipment, and that he was going to deny it, which he did. This was the deciding factor for my decision to run. If anybody thinks that taking away "free money" from the department and/or community, then maybe it is time for change. When we finished voting, as soon as the results came in, the ex-chief set down his radio and walked out, along with five others who had brought their uniforms and badges and also left their pagers. The 1st Assistant Chief stated that if the chief walked, he was also walking. So, we elected a new 1st Assistant Chief and also a truck captain. The next day, the ex-chief got in the faces of a couple of firemen, left a school bus in my driveway that the department had bought for practicing on, and had called my boss and said alot of bad things do disrupt my job. The next week on practice night, we were getting ready to practice and I was upstairs. When I came down, I saw the 1st Assistant Chief there, then one of the other members that had walked out, and the ex-chief. We have nothing in the by-laws that can handle this situation, so I held a special meeting to find out what was the problem. They stated that they never quit, so, I saw no other choice at the time but let them back in and give the officers their positions back until I figured out how I was going to handle this. I have made some phone calls and got our DNR grant back to us after telling the DNR the circumstances. The members that walked out are not being cooperative at all and the chief said that he is coming back on his terms only and that he was going to be a real ornry presence. He has a son that is our 2nd Assistant chief and is trying to stay neutral, while living at home with his dad yet. I would like to hear of what anybody else would do out there if they were in my shoes. I will get this done, but I want to put all my ducks in a row before I dive in. Getting caught flatfooted isn't one of my traits, and I truly believe that these members are coming back to just be an eyesore. Any help would be appreciated. We are a Volunteer department, and the Fire Board is really no more than a committee set up that is a financial group, they have no say in the department's decision in something like this. The Fireboard is very unhappy with what theex-chief is doing, along with the township chairmans. I knew getting into this that I was going to have a fight on my hands, so I'm looking for my fellow brothers to help me get through this, the members are behind me 100% and know that I want to get this done myself and not get them any more involved then they already are.