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City asks new fire chief to quit
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McMinnville Fire Chief Keith Martin has been offered a severance package to resign. Disgruntled firefighters could end his stay with the city approximately six months after it began.
“I did offer him severance if he wanted to resign,” said McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley. “We sat down and went through a long list of items: Is he happy? Is this where he wants to be? If he saw himself here long term. The offer was four months severance.”
Martin was hired April 1 and given a beginning salary of $70,179. Four months severance would be approximately $23,400 and it would require city board approval.
According Haley, he has been bombarded with complaints from Fire Department employees.
“I don’t know what’s going on exactly,” Haley said. “No one seems to be happy. I don’t know where the problem lies or what the solution is.”
Speculation is that firefighters are unhappy with restrictions placed since April 1, including no dining out, eating breakfast before coming to work, no use of personal communication devices, increased training hours, and decreased TV watching (no TV allowed before 5 p.m.).
Martin has been given a few days to consider the offer.
“I told him to take a few days and discuss it with his wife,” said Haley. “If he doesn’t want to resign, a lot of work needs to be done to turn things around within the department. We need to work on morale and policies that will bring the department back together as a team.”
Attempts by the Southern Standard to contact Martin on Tuesday were unsuccessful.