Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2007

Township suspends fire chief

July 26, 2007

The Eudora Township Board of Trustees has voted to suspend Eudora Township Fire Chief Barry Larson for six months.

The decision came at a special meeting July 9, Township Board Trustee Keith Knabe said.

The suspension came after Larson was involved in a minor personal dispute, Knabe said.

"It was taken care of in house. That's all I can tell you," he said.

The township fire department operates with volunteer firefighters. The board of trustees oversees the fire chief position.

Larson had no comment on the suspension when he was reached Tuesday. Asked if he expected to return as chief, Larson said that decision rested with board members and he would respect any decision they made.

The board chose township firefighter Richard Clark to serve as interim chief and supervise the department that currently has 25 volunteers. The position comes with a $46 a month stipend.

Clark said he was informed of his new position about July 8.

The morale of the township department is still high in the wake of the suspension, Clark said.

"Everything is going great," Clark said. "Couldn't be any better."

He couldn't comment further on the reasons behind the suspension or give details of the incident that prompted it, Clark said.

"It's all internal, and nobody needs to know about it," Clark said. "That's not something that needs to be talked about."

Clark confirmed Larson was relieved of duty for six months and that the board will re-evaluate him after that period.

Clark has met with Eudora City Fire Chief Randy Ates to discuss relations between the two departments. The initial meeting went well Clark said.

The two chiefs discussed mutual training exercises among other issues, Clark said.

"I think we'll get along just fine," Clark said.

Ates said he too was positive about the relationship between the two departments.

"I think that he's going to try hard to make a better working relationship with his side," Ates said.

"Of course, we're going to try hard from our side, as well."

Eudora Township firefighter Lt. Dustin McAfee was on duty Monday in the township fire station.

The issues affecting the chief haven't affected operation at the station, McAfee said.

"We'll just continue moving forward with things like we normally do," he said.

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