City council meeting heats up on Fire Chief Mike Vaughn's contract renewal

By WEEK Producer

City council meeting heats up on Fire Chief Mike Vaughn's contract renewal

July 7, 2014 Updated Jul 7, 2014 at 10:47 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, Ill. -- Monday the city of Washington heats up over the renewal the fire chief’s contract.

Last week the Washington Fire Board announced they would not renew Fire Chief Michael Vaughn’s contract. His current contract expires at the end of the month.

Four board members voted in favor of letting the contract expire, something the board president called "a difference in philosophies."

This comes just months after Chief Vaughn was honored with a Medal of Valor from the State Fire Marshal's office in Springfield. Vaughn was given the Medal of Valor for his efforts in protecting and helping his community during the November 17th tornado.

The Washington City Council was standing room only Monday night.

Popular opinion shows most people to be against the fire board not renewing the fire chief's contract.

"When you have gentlemen who are under your command, who come up and support you 100 percent and stand behind you” says Sandy Brace a supporter of Chief Vaughn. “That says something about the kind of boss and the kind of leader that you are. That's the type of leaders any community would be proud and honored to have. So I think they've made the wrong decision."

An online petition started by Washington residents has almost 13,000 signatures.

“Just as I never imagined what happened on November 17th, I likewise never could have imagined what’s currently happening” said Washington Fire Chief Mike Vaughn. “There are a lot of questions I have no answers for, but the one thing I’m sure of is my desire to continue to serve the members of the Washington Fire Department and the members of my community, as their fire chief”

Mayor Gary Manier said he wasn't surprised by the support for Chief Vaughn, but made it clear that the city council currently has no jurisdiction over the Fire Department Board.