Gregory Mayor Fires Entire Volunteer Fire Department

GREGORY - The mayor of Gregory has dissolved the volunteer fire department as of Thursday night.
Gregory volunteer firefighters found out Thursday night that their services were no longer needed, leaving the residents of Gregory without any help if their homes catch fire.
During a training session at the Gregory Volunteer Fire Department Thursday night, members said the mayor and chief of police showed up to break the news that they were all fired and new people were being brought in.
"I asked him outright, 'what's your reasoning behind this?' and he wouldn't even look me in the eye," Gregory Volunteer Fire Department's Cassie Rosebrock said.
The members of the department said they still don't have a solid answer from the mayor or the city.
"To tell us that we are not needed and that we haven't helped at all, it's not right to any of us because we spend so many hours just trying to help," Sarah Warn, a volunteer firefighter, said.
"As being mayor, you are the voice of this city but you are not the dictator of this city. If you take an action, you need to have the backing of the city and in this event, I was told by three city council members they are not backing this," Michael Kohner, a volunteer firefighter, said.
The firefighters said they train mostly on their own time and rely on donations and fundraisers to make money for the volunteer fire department.
"We do it because we love it and we want to help people," Rosebrock said.
In all, 21 members were released from their duties.
The group claimed the mayor told them a former member of the volunteer fire department, Richard Lyons, will be brought in as chief.
In the meantime, the now former firefighters hope the surrounding fire departments will step in to help.
KRIS 6 News tried to reach Gregory Mayor Victor Lara but he has not returned any calls.
In addition, the next city council meeting is March 3 and the members of the volunteer fire department said they plan to be there to find out why the mayor and the city decided they were not needed.
Online Reporter: Jennifer Bordelon

the comment I wrote on the news site was this...

I love the community of gregory and the firefighters I work with. WE are NOT going to go down without a fight. The whole department the "real" and "dedicated" firefighters of gregory are going to stand up agaisnt the digracefulness of the mayor and the choices he made to our beloved fire department.
We have never called ourselves heros and we are not payed for what we do. We spend our own money being volunteers and countless hours on getting the station and the trucks in order. We also train every week and go to training outside of the department. The mayor out steped his boundries and the fire department needs justice for what horrible things that have happened this Thursday. We all brought something to the fire deparment that made it a wonderful department. I am proud to be a firefighter and to be working with such dedicated and great people. We are all normal people who give our time to help others and an amazing community; who we hope come help us at this next meeting.. Please be there to support our fire department!

Please help spread the word and any ides to help, feel free to comment!

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Comment by Kirk D. Baughman on March 15, 2009 at 11:30pm
very sad for a mayor to do this to volunteers that put their lives at risk every time the tones drop to answer a call. as a volunteer my self i enjoy does this for the county that i do this in. like you guys did. i sure hope you guys can get answers and get back working like you guys did before this happen to you. please keep everyone in touch on the lates news about this.
Comment by Mike on March 2, 2009 at 11:44pm
Sarah, If the fire department is selfgeverned. Who owns the trucks and the building? Best of luck.
Comment by jonathan on March 2, 2009 at 12:37pm
heres my quseton can the mayor do that i mean i know he runs the city an all but can he legaly do that
Comment by Sarah on March 1, 2009 at 9:58pm
The Mayor of the city of Gregory, Fires the entire Volunteer Fire Department.

The GVFD is a self Goverened department that relies on donations and fund raisers and grants to operate. Since my role as chief I have implemented SOP's, Stringent training requirements, Fire ground accountability. Some of the existing members did not agree and left. As chief I felt the obligation to the community and neighboring mutual aid departments to provide a professional service to our customers. Since our call volume has increased. A new mayor took office and older members went to him (he also being a prior member) Fired the entire department to re-implement the old members and old ways, beer and BBQ on training nights. Doing so without city council approval. Help support us by spreading the word of this. It is on the secret list, not yet on but has been submitted.

Thanks....Former Chief Mike Kohner

that was a letter from my former chief on
Comment by Joe Guthrie on March 1, 2009 at 12:09am
How can you fire a volunteer? How does the mayor and the new fire chief plan to handle the call load now? The public should be in an uproar at this point. If someones house burns down then I believe the mayor can be held liable in a civil case. Are your taxpayers fully aware of what is going on. You guys really need to get out and make the public aware. I wish your community the best of luck.
Comment by Joey "BigShow" De Piano on February 28, 2009 at 11:10pm
I gotta go with some one getting their palm greened under the table and this mayor wanted or owed this past member a big one and put him in or the mayor made a deal with him by placing him in..either way be aware if your not you will have to check your State on this but I am almost certain it pertains to all Depts.. they have 2 weeks from time of dissolve to place and have a full working crew read y to go or they must pay a dept to respond in..having said that you might also look into your town regionalizing to a larger or more finacial gainful nieghboring town which would be cause for the Dept. to be terminated as well. You also need to get into the heads of these replacements and ask if as brothers they are going to help screw you over. and if they are by all means tell us their names so we can cold shoulder the backstabbers
Comment by Muriel on February 28, 2009 at 9:27pm
Firing Volunteers what the heck! Everyone made good points here...makes one wonder what the new chief has on the mayor .sounds like a blackmailing snake...
Comment by rescueortruck on February 28, 2009 at 9:12pm
I hate to say it but it sounds like there might be a snake in the water. The article stated that a former member became the new chief, I can only think that he is paid and the city is going with a paid department now. It sounds like he had a hand in it from the start. Well the best of luck to you and your crew at the town metting.
Comment by FIRE BEAR on February 28, 2009 at 7:40pm
i know how these fellow firefighters feel i went theu this in michigan 2 times one time for our ambulance the 2 years later the fire dept there was never no reason giveing to any of us either when we went to the meeting they had state troopers there and when we tried to ask we was told to be quiet and sit down or get excorted out well i lasted a whole 5 mins there not for me but for my community we was told if we wanted a millage we had to go out and get it ourselves talking to the people of the township they were pissed when we got let go and found out the township was going to pay another dept to cover what we was doig for free
Comment by Scott on February 28, 2009 at 5:16pm
If this is a volunteer fire department, that has used fundraisers, etc to buy their own apparatus and equipment etc, and the members are recieving no pay, where does the mayor have the AUTHORTY to disband the fire dept? Especially without giving the member the grounds for kicking them out. Sounds wierd to me!

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