Waynesboro fire chief placed on leave

November 08, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

Dale Fishack, Waynesboro's paid fire chief since 1997, has been put on administrative leave indefinitely by Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger and Councilman Clint Barkdoll, Barkdoll said Friday.

Barkdoll said he took the action as chairman of the council's Property and Public Safety committee in accordance with borough rules.

Neither Barkdoll nor Council President Douglas Tengler would say what prompted the action against Fishack. Fishack did not return telephone messages Friday.


Tengler said Fishack is being paid while on administrative leave but he would not say how long the leave would last.

The Borough Council had no role in the action, Tengler said. The two other members of the Property and Public Safety committee, Councilmen John Cook and Allen Porter, did not vote on Fishack's leave.

Porter declined to say if Fishack will return to work for the borough.

Fishack's duties are being handled by volunteer deputy fire chiefs Jody Sanders and Chris McGarity. Both hold full-time jobs with the borough, Sanders in the maintenance department and McGarity as a borough policeman, Barkdoll said.

Fire department by-laws state that deputy chiefs take over in the absence of the fire chief, Barkdoll said.

Sanders and McGarity will not assume Fishack's salary during his absence, Barkdoll said. Fishack earns around $36,000 a year.

Tengler declined to say if Fishack was discussed during a lengthy executive session following Wednesday night's regular council meeting.

Barkdoll, Hamberger and D. Lloyd Reichard II, the borough's attorney, sought legal advice before taking action against Fishack, Barkdoll said.

Barkdoll said he and other borough officials received strict guidelines from the attorney, whom he declined to name.

"The Property and Public Safety committee has jurisdiction over fire department issues," Barkdoll said. "This is classified as an administrative leave. No more, no less."

The next step will be a meeting between Hamberger and the Property and Public Safety committee to come up with a formal recommendation for the full council's consideration, Barkdoll said. That meeting will be closed and will not be formally advertised.

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