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Embattled fire chief could be on his way out

 

KINGMAN – Wayne Eder's run as chief of the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District could end soon.

The board of directors scheduled a special meeting to consider his employment after Eder listed complaints against two directors during the May 17 meeting.

 

Eder said NACFD board Chairman Jim Bailey and Clerk Mike Collins should be held accountable for initiating an investigation resulting in his indictment last July on charges of conflict of interest and misuse of public monies.

“Directors Bailey and Collins filed questionable statements against me to obtain criminal indictments through the grand jury,” said Eder. “This dubious information then was perpetuated by the (Mohave) County Attorney's office and the deputy county attorney to secure indictments. This is a violation of ARS 2907.0.”

Reading from a prepared statement, Eder said, “These actions have placed undue stress on both my family and myself. I have had a financial loss based on this indictment in the form of legal fees, which I would not have been subjected to if a thorough investigation had been completed by MCAO investigators.”

Eder complained that Bailey and Collins do not communicate with him and gain fire district information from battalion chiefs. He called it an obstruction of his duties that undermine his authority as chief.

“Your actions are disappointing. I've continuously worked to improve the service delivery and firefighter safety,” Eder said.

“I consider myself an effective fire chief with the best interest of the board and our community.”

Eder alleged that Collins and Bailey have violated open meeting laws. He said Battalion Chief Jason Scott informed him that Bailey offered him the position of interim fire chief.

“As my contract does not expire until December 6, 2018, I consider this a threat against my employment and livelihood and a continuation of a hostile work environment perpetuated by directors Bailey and Collins," Eder said.

He also alleged that he has also been harassed by newly appointed Director Carl Hays.

“Director Hays advised me on 5-3-18 that a resident of one of my properties was known to be a fire setter in our community and implied that I was harboring this individual. I passed this information on to NACFD fire investigator Mike Atchison, who investigated a complaint and found these statements to be false," Eder continued. “This is a serious allegation. I refuse to be the target of additional false criminal complaints by this board.”

Eder said he has suffered such stress that he filed a worker’s compensation claim. He said he did not care to share the results of a doctor's office visit due to privacy concerns.

Possible termination of Eder’s employment and appointment of an interim chief will be considered during a special board meeting set for 6 p.m. May 23.

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