Saturday, August 04, 2001

Chief who brawled with mayor says he's fired; mayor doesn't

The Associated Press

        The fire chief who crashed through a Sturgis City Hall window in a scuffle with the mayor this week said Friday that he has been fired.

        Chief Phil Edmondson and Mayor Earl “Dan” Quirey went through a plate glass window in the mayor's office after an apparent scuffle in Mr. Quirey's office Monday afternoon.

        Chief Edmondson said an argument broke out when he learned that he was being fired. Mr. Quirey wouldn't comment on the reason for the brawl but said Friday that Chief Edmondson is simply on unpaid leave for 10 days.

        But the personnel troubles in city government don't stop there. The western Kentucky city of about 2,000 people also is looking for a new city attorney and superintendent of public works.

        The town, in Union County about 50 miles southwest of Henderson, was thrown into turmoil last month when Mr. Quirey was unanimously put back into the mayor's office by the City Council. Mr. Quirey was mayor for 13 years before he was defeated in the 1998 election.

        The man who beat him, Clyde Maynard, resigned last month, saying he was tired of bickering with the council, on which Mr. Quirey was a member.

        And now, both the city attorney, John J. McKenney, and the public works superintendent, Mike Demoss, have left their posts. Neither could be reached for comment Friday. But City Council member Henry Hina said both men left for better-paying jobs. Mr. Hina said Mr. McKenney has agreed to stay until the cpuncil finds a new city attorney.

        Chief Edmondson said he was 28 months away from retirement before the scuffle with Mr. Quirey. He said he has abandoned any hope of getting his job back. Chief Edmondson said he had never been reprimanded during his 17 years with the department.

        “And this guy becomes mayor, three weeks ago, by hook or by crook, and he fires me?” he said.

        Mr. Quirey, 73, said Chief Edmondson hasn't been fired, but he would not comment beyond that. In an earlier interview, Mr. Quirey said the 44-year-old Chief Edmondson grabbed him by the neck during the City Hall fight and threw him through the window.

        Mr. Quirey called on the Kentucky State Police to investigate. No charges had been filed as of Friday.

        The choice of Mr. Quirey to fill out Mr. Maynard's term raised the ire of some residents during the July council meeting when he was appointed.

        One resident, Roland Gauthier, said at the meeting that Mr. Quirey isn't the choice of the voters.

        “Is it fair to put someone in when the people clearly voted not to put him in?” he said, referring to Mr. Quirey's loss in 1998. Mr. Maynard beat Mr. Quirey 222-211.


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