Ind. Chief's 2nd Job Raises Questions

MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. --

Some are questioning how the new fire chief in a Morgan County township can fulfill his duties while working fulltime elsewhere.

Kenny VanSlyke has been promoted to lead the Madison Township Fire Department. But he also works fulltime as a fire inspector in Marion County's Wayne Township, 6News' Kara Kenney reported.

In Wayne Township, VanSlyke is tasked with inspecting all apartments and businesses, earning $40,560 annually.

"He does that four days a week -- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Most of our inspectors work four, 10-hour days," said Wayne Township Fire Department Captain Courtney Rice, who noted that it's common for firefighters to work second jobs with other departments.

As chief in Madison Township, VanSlyke will be expected to prepare the budget, oversee training, approve work schedule, provide guidance to firefighters, write performance evaluation and maintain good relations with residents.

He works two evenings and one day a week in that position, at a salary of $22,500 a year.

VanSlyke told Kenney that his job in Wayne Township is his top priority.

While on the clock in Wayne Township, VanSlyke said he cannot do any work for Madison Township, including taking phone calls, answering e-mails or responding to fires, unless he has approval from a supervisor to take paid time off.

VanSlyke also admitted to regularly driving his take-home car, paid for by Madison Township, to his Wayne Township job 12 miles away.

A vehicle policy obtained by 6News states township vehicles should only be used for official purposes, and that violating that could result in suspension or termination.

Madison Township Board member Larry Campbell called VanSlyke's hiring "disappointing" and a "poor choice," while others hinted at favoritism by the township trustee.

"I did not expect anything other than Kenny VanSlyke to be hired in the fire chief position. Trustee Jim Bolin has an ongoing record of taking care of friends and not doing what is best for the township," said board member Scott McDonough.

Some residents also questioned VanSlyke's hiring and take-home car admission, pointing out that he is married to former Madison Township Clerk Becky VanSlyke, who was fired by the board last month, but still works for the township in some capacity.

"The appearances are there of impropriety," said Susan Johnson. "(The take-home car) is an abuse of our taxpayer money. It's not necessary. He doesn't need to drive that car to his Wayne Township job."

"Take-home vehicles are supposed to be used for township business," said Gregg Terhune.

Bruce Hartman with the State Board of Accounts told 6News that the take home car arrangement would be something the agency would look at during an audit.

Bolin declined to comment on VanSlyke's hiring or the township's take-home car policy.

VanSlyke told Kenney he is confident he can meet the duties of both jobs.

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