Turmoil continues among Mo. fire dept. board of directors

The Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District Board of Directors president returned as the head of the board after resigning more than a month ago

Lake Sun Leader

SUNRISE BEACH. Mo. — In an interesting twist, the former president of the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District Board of Directors is back in his seat as the head of the three-member board after resigning more than a month ago.

During a meeting earlier this week, Layman announced he had withdrawn his letter of resignation. The resignation was submitted after Layman alleged he felt threatened and was concerned for the safety of family from a comment made by fellow board member Bob Hemen. The board apparently took no action on the resignation during a closed session held on Sept. 17.

Layman said, "My letter submitted September 17, 2018 was never accepted nor denied by the board. With that being said, I've decided to fill my obligations as an elected member of this board."

Hemen and Layman, as well as Denise Dill, the third member of the board have been at odds in recent months over multiple issues.The issues include the resignation of Dennis Reilly, the former fire chief, who also alleged he had resigned due to ongoing harassment, bullying and threats from Hemen.

As far as board members, Hemen stands alone in his criticism of the board and department policies. Hemen has also filed suit against the district challenging Denise Dill's right to hold a seat on the board, alleging she was not properly elected after her appointment period ran out.

With Layman back on the board, the district moved forward with affirming Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Karl as the acting chief until a permanent replacement is hired. Layman and Dill voted in favor of Karl while Hemen voted no. The board did agree on forming a committee with representatives from the community to aid in the search for a new chief.

In other business, Hemen wanted to discuss the resignation of Layman, the hiring of legal counsel and the lawsuit he filed against Dill. His motion to add those items to the agenda died with no second and after legal counsel advised those were things that should be discussed in a closed session.

Another point of contention was a vote to allow online banking with the Bank of Versailles to continue. Hemen was the lone voice of opposition. As treasurer of the board, Hemen doesn't support online banking. The motion did pass with Layman and Dill voting in favor of it.

The board also discussed the possibility of increasing the size of the board from three to five members. Although the topic was tabled, the three members did agree to have their legal counsel research what would be required.

Copyright 2018 Lake Sun Leader

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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