MONTVERDE -- Mayor Dale Heathman and several Town Council members are locked in another standoff over the town's charter -- this time stemming from a disagreement dismissing fire Chief Lawrence MacPhee.
refuses to fire MacPhee, arguing that only the mayor can hire and fire employees under Montverde's charter.
said certain fire-department purchases had not been adequately budgeted last year.
said, however, that he
did not realize that those non-budgeted purchases should have been brought before the council for approval.
"The council needs to be looking at me and not the chief," Heathman
said Montverde's charter gives him the ability to hire and fire employees.
But several council members say they have ultimate control because the charter also states "the mayor will perform all administrative duties necessary under the direction of the council and as provided by law."
The same type of dispute erupted last year, when several council members argued against Heathman's firing of former town clerk Nelda Morgan, who provided campaign support for Heathman's political opponent and former Mayor Steve Berry while she
worked at Town Hall
The mayor and council eventually dropped the dispute.But the truce did not last long -- Heathman later hired former council member Wayne Nichols to fill the clerk's job.
has considered asking a circuit court judge to interpret the charter and possibly resolve his
dispute with the council.