Council suspends fire chief McCabe without pay ‘indefinitely’
Eudora's fire chief has been suspended without pay until further notice, the Eudora City Council decided Monday after meeting in private for about 30 minutes. The chief, Spencer McCabe, had been suspended with pay since Aug. 30 following his Aug. 29 arrest.
Olathe police arrested McCabe at an Olathe hotel, where Johnson County prosecutors allege he caused more than $1,000 in damage to a bathroom. McCabe's preliminary hearing is Oct. 28.
As per city policy, McCabe was suspended with pay until the Council made a decision.
Mayor Ron Conner said state statutes required the Council to word McCabe's suspension without pay as being on a weekly basis, although he said the suspension would stay in effect unless something were to change.
City Administrator Mike Yanez said the terms of the suspension were such that the fire chief could come back if or when the Council called him back. Deputy Fire Chief Mike Underwood and captains remain in charge of the 17-member volunteer force during McCabe's suspension.
Although citizens had asked to speak during the public comment section of the meeting, the mayor announced he wouldn't allow it. Cities are given latitude to discuss non elected personnel issues in private.
"It's a personnel issue, a legal issue, and it needs to remain as such," Conner said.
A statement from the city released Tuesday said the alleged incident at the Olathe Holiday Inn took place during a family birthday party. Although some media reports pointed out the party was attended by other off-duty city employees, Yanez said no incidents occurred with other guests. In the press release, Yanez took to task those who "escalated the story."
"There is no reason to question the rights of off-duty employees to participate in family social events in which personal conduct is proper and acceptable," he said.