CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (KSDK) - The embattled Monarch Fire Protection District is losing its well-respected chief. Some of the department's firefighters are calling the resignation a huge loss as they express concern over the future of the department.
The concern comes from an intense ongoing fight between the firefighter union and the district's board of directors. The union says the fight is making the department a difficult place to work.
"We need to get back to serving the community. The political agendas and everything else that's going on needs to stop," said local firefighter union Business Manager Jeff Proctor.
There are a long list of disagreements between the firefighter union and the board of directors. One of them is the board's decision to re-hire a man fired a couple of years ago over gender discrimination, and appoint him assistant chief.
"Obviously we've voiced our views and concerns about that," Proctor said.
Chief Tom Vineyard tells Newschannel 5 about his resignation that he's "doing what's best for my career and my family."
"He was a great chief to the men and women of the Monarch Fire Protection District," Proctor said.
So, some firefighters are expressing deep concern over the resignation and accusing the board of making Monarch an unattractive place to work. The board denies that claim.
"I would suggest that an outstanding pay and benefit package is indicative of a district that's making sure its employees are well cared for," said Monarch Board of Directors President Robin Harris.
Harris also says the union is fueling the conflict by filing numerous grievances and complaints against them.
"I would love for this conflict to end," Harris said.
But firefighters say if that were true all they'd be worrying about, is doing their jobs.
"This has got to stop. This cannot effect public safety," Proctor said.
Chief Vineyard's last day will be May 9. Then, the controversial assistant chief will take over until a replacement is hired. The board says it will start the process of hiring a new chief at its meeting Thursday.