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City fires Martin as fire chief
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McMinnville Fire Chief Keith Martin has been fired.
The move came six months after he rejected a severance package to resign and less than a year after he was hired.
Martin was employed by the city on April 1, 2013. He relocated from Burley, Idaho, where he was serving as that city’s fire chief.
Complaints from city firefighters are nothing new. However, complaints increased after Martin came on board and enacted restrictions that included eating breakfast before coming to work, no dining out, no use of personal communication devices, and no TV before 5 p.m.
In mid-September, Martin was offered a four-month severance package to resign by McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley, who is also interim city administrator.
“I don’t know what’s going on exactly,” said Haley at the time. “No one seems to be happy. I don’t know where the problem lies or what the solution is.”
Rather than accepting the offer, Martin sought the legal services of a Chattanooga law firm, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel.
City officials asked the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to perform a review of the fire department and provide an assessment to the city.
MTAS provided a 40-page report detailing issues within the fire department. Its assessment pointed to firefighters resisting the transition from a relaxed leadership style under former fire chiefs to one that was more rigid under Martin’s leadership.
When contacted, Martin refused to comment.
City officials declined to comment on Martin’s termination, saying they don’t discuss personnel matters.
In addition to a fire chief, the city is also searching for a new city administrator.