Indiana Fire Chief Threatens Resignation in Layoff Flap

KOKOMO, Ind. --

Kokomo's fire chief and assistant chief said they will resign on Friday if the mayor doesn't reverse his decision to lay off a dozen firefighters.

Chief Scott Kern said he was asked to turn in his work phone and vehicle, but a spokesman from Mayor Greg Goodnight's office said he couldn't confirm that information, 6News' Renee Jameson reported.

The issue was addressed at a town hall meeting Thursday night on the Indiana University-Kokomo campus.

Julie Davis' husband recently lost his job at the Kokomo Fire Department. She said she is concerned about her family and other firefighters still on the force.

The meeting was focused on economic development and job growth, but some of the conversation steered toward the fire situation.

"I feel very comfortable that the decisions I made are in the best interest of this community, and that's what I have to do," Goodnight said. "That's what I will do."

Goodnight said the layoffs are part of a cost-cutting measure and are made possible because the city partnered with local hospitals to run ambulance services instead of the fire department.

Kern said the cuts could hamper firefighting efforts.

"We took an oath together to do the best we could for the fire department and don't cross that line when it comes to safety," he said.

State Rep. Ron Herrell, a former firefighter, weighed in on the issue.

"As a firefighter, I know what those concerns are," he said. "I just had a conversation with the mayor today. Hopefully, we'll be able to get this thing turned around."

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