2010-09-16 / Letters to the Editor

Markey officials should drop suit against firemen

About four years ago Markey Township found itself without a fire chief. The township board depends on the chief to be the liaison and report all department business monthly. The board pays the salary of the chief and pays the firefighters.

During the time while the board was looking for a new chief they asked their two captains to act as liaison and to do what was necessary to keep the department compliant.

The captains would report to the township board at the monthly meetings. The township board paid the captains the same dollar amount they would have paid a chief, split.

Paychecks are written by the clerk and signed by her and the treasurer. The board at the monthly meeting votes to pay the bills and wages.

Current Trustee Van Ostenbridge and current Clerk Rons were on the board then and had to be aware of what they were voting on or they weren’t earning their pay.

The captains were doing work that our board had authorized, keeping our fire department operating and keeping us legally compliant, and to keep our current insurance rating so our insurance costs stay reasonable.

This board decided to sue the captains for return of compensation that the board paid to them for services that they asked and authorized the men to do.

The Markey Township Board needs to withdraw the lawsuit and reinstate the captains because they did nothing wrong or illegal, only what was asked of them. The board needs to reinstate Carl Geiger also to his firefighter status.

Residents of Markey Township lost three dedicated men and that’s a shame. Men and women willing to volunteer to train, to respond to emergencies and to be on standby 24/7 and risk their lives to protect us should be honored, not sued. Volunteers are the pillars of our communities.

“Personal or political,” this vendetta the board has is ridiculous, asinine, childlike and possibly illegal.

The costly lawsuit for “illegal compensation” was filed against the wrong people and I believe nothing was done wrong by the firefighters.

If there was “Illegal compensation,” wasn’t it the township board’s responsibility? The “the board” knew all of the circumstances at the time, the clerk wrote the checks, the treasurer signed the checks, the supervisor did what was called for and I assume the trustees were doing their jobs that they were being paid for.

It is a shame that three outstanding residents and civic-minded volunteers have to put up with the ridiculous actions of this evidently incompetent township board.

We taxpayers and residents shouldn’t have to be afraid of the actions of our Markey Township Board members.

Name withheld by request

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