Pleasant Plains board terminates fire chief

PLEASANT PLAINS TWP. — More than a month after Pleasant Plains Township Fire Chief Marty Walker was suspended on Feb. 12, Pleasant Plains Township board members voted to permanently terminate Walker as fire chief during their meeting on Monday.

Pleasant Plains Township Supervisor Tammy Ghent stated the reasons for termination were insubordination, interfering with operations of Pleasant Plains Township Fire Department after Walker was suspended, making derogatory comments about township officials and other firefighters, improperly handling township fire equipment and vehicles and displaying lack of candor and truthfulness regarding fire department matters.

“The township has never given me the ability to state my side of the story,” said Walker in a statement to the Star. “They didn’t specify how I was interfering with operations after my suspension. They have not communicated with me about any allegations. If they handled this properly and talked to me in a personnel meeting, this could have possibly been resolved.

“I would be glad to give more information, but I have not received specifics. I donated a lot of time, money, blood, sweat and tears to help build up the new fire department and this is how I am treated — I am discredited.”

The board nominated interim fire chief Greg Shoemaker as fire chief for Pleasant Plains Township.

In other fire-related business, board members approved nominations for the Pleasant Plains Fire Advisory Committee including Vicki Pearse Gates, Sondra Lemm, Bonnie Hall and Heather Braginton. Trustee Debbie Russell also was appointed as member of the township board to be on the committee.

David Ghent expressed desire to be on the committee and a motion was made to approve him for the position, but the board withdrew the motion because of a conflict of interest due to him being the supervisor’s husband.

Webber Township Fire Chief Aaron Summers, a Pleasant Plains Township resident, addressed the board regarding their guideline to not allow a person from another fire department to serve on the committee.

“I would strongly reconsider your position to not allow persons on other fire departments to serve on the committee,” he said.

Also during the meeting, the board approved contracting Tony Gagliardo to make sure everything is within code for heating and ventilation at Harbor Farms medical marijuana facility.

In other business:

• Zoning Administrator Robert Sanders said he is starting an initiative to eliminate blight with focus on removing dilapidated RV campers.

“Anyone aware of dilapidated RV campers can report them to me. There are funds available to remove these,” he said.

• Randy Ehling was reappointed to Pleasant Plains Planning Committee.

• Craig Lemm was nominated to the Pleasant Plains Planning Committee in place of Kevin Braddy.

• The board rescinded their decision from last month to renew the one-year rental contract for the Baldwin Business Center. Instead, they will renew the contract on a month-to-month basis.