Pettis County Firefighters Take Leave of Absence in Protest of Board President
A majority of volunteer firefighters with the Pettis County Fire Protection District took a leave of absence following a September 11 meeting of the board of directors, and are calling for Board President Harold Ream's resignation.
Lt. Chad Damlo says that a majority of firefighters Tuesday night submitted a vote of no confidence against Ream for the second month in a row. "We presented it with him last month, and we presented it to him again yesterday (September 11) to ask him to politely step down from the board, because we don't feel that he has our best interests and our safety interests in mind."
"We believe that he has held up the other board members in getting us the proper equipment when needed," said Damlo. "There was about four months that he kind of stonewalled the other board members from getting the SCBAs, which is what we use to go in and breath air inside of a fire, and the newer, lighter ones that will save on our backs...there was about a four month delay on getting those approved. We've come to the point where we don't have the confidence in what he is providing the Pettis County Fire Department."
Damlo says that an overwhelming majority of Pettis County Firefighters, but not all of the firefighters, have signed the vote of no confidence. In the event of a fire during the leave of absence, Pettis County Firefighters that have not taken a leave of absence will respond, and will receive assistance from fire departments that have mutual aid agreements with Pettis County, including La Monte, Green Ridge, Hughesville, Houstonia and Sedalia Fire.
Lt. Damlo says that Ream's resignation is the only outcome he can imagine that would result in the protesting firefighters returning to the department.
KSIS News reached out to Pettis County Fire Protection District Board President Harold Ream for comment. Ream said that he is preparing a statement that will be released later today.