(72 Total References)
Scott Beu, right, was allowed to ...
Scott Beu, right, was allowed to air his complaints before the WVFD board Monday, May 9. Listening to Beu were (l to r) Board Member Kyle Stephenson; Board President Darrell Crymes; WVFD Chief Ronny Fite; and WVFD Capt. John Hargis. Leader Staff Photo/Don Treul
Listening to Beu were (l to r) Board Member Kyle Stephenson; Board President Darrell Crymes; WVFD Chief Ronny Fite; and WVFD Capt. John Hargis.
Beu authored a petition calling for the election of department leadership, specifically replacing Chief Ronny Fite, Assistant Chief Darrell Crymes and J.L. Hayes, who holds an honorary position of Second Assistant Chief.
said Monday that a firefighter may remain on probation for a variety of reasons.
A firefighter who signed Beu's petition, for example, decided to pursue a career as an emergency medical technician/paramedic and was unable to regularly attend the WVFD meetings, so he
remains on probation.
After Crymes addressed each of the points of contention in the petition, Fite
asked for a show of hands of any of the WFVD firefighters who wished to have their names removed from the petition.
One of the claims in Beu's petition was that after Fite resigned from his position as Whitehouse city manager in the fall of 2009, he started paying himself for the chief position before board members approved his salary of
Minutes of meetings that were approved at Monday's meeting indicated that the WVFD
board, not Fite
, approved the chief's salary and effective hiring date.
Kyle Stephenson, a member of the board, said the board originally discussed paying Fite instead for mileage used for WVFD business, but the department likely would not be able to afford the generally accepted amount paid for mileage and agreed to the one tank of fuel per month stipend instead.
Some of the firefighters who said they were informed by the petition that Fite
may have been in violation of the law regarding the assertions of him setting his
own salary, said they were quite satisfied with the board's explanation Monday.
The board, however, approved the minutes Monday and repeatedly informed Beu that the decision regarding Fite's salary and monthly fuel stipend was their decision, not Fite's, and that the decision was made before Fite was hired as chief.
said firefighters who work at the WVFD
receive frequent in-house training and have the option of attending additional training at Texas A&M University
twice each year.
"We have a great training program, period," Fite
said the department even paid for Beu to attend the firefighter's academy.
said Crymes spent countless hours volunteering his time without compensation helping with the new facilities.
Fite, who has been working with the WVFD for 40 years, Crymes and many of the firefighters expressed shock that Beu was pressing to remove J.L. Hayes, who has been with the WVFD since 1957.
After the board determined that the petition was not valid under the bylaws, Fite
said WVFD firefighters have been and will continue to be able to approach him about any concern and problem.
said if they do not agree with his
opinion or decision, they also may approach any of the board members since, as he
said, they are his
Regarding Beu assertions that the public lacks confidence in the WVFD
leadership or regarding the WVFD responding to calls, Fite
has a quality fire department.
"They do not have to worry about the fire department responding to serve them," he
A new fire marshal could take ...
A new fire marshal could take over in Whitehouse after Ronny Fite leaves the position at the end of the month.
Fite, who is volunteer fire department chief in Whitehouse along with his city fire marshal duties, received a termination letter this week from Whitehouse City Manager Mike Peterson.
services as fire marshal will be terminated effective Jan. 31.
He will remain fire chief, a position he has held since 1993 and is separate from the city.
received the letter a couple days ago, and it took him by surprise.
"Ronny is fire marshal but also fire chief.
plate is full, and he
and I talked months ago about finding someone else to do the fire marshal job," he
, who has inspected buildings such as schools and day cares, received $150 a month to help with fuel and other costs related to the fire marshal job.
Aside from the fire marshal position, Fite has served as emergency management coordinator.
notified the city that he
will no longer be in that position effective Jan. 31.
Given changes being made to the fire marshal's office, he
thought it was best to sever ties with the city completely.
Fite also resigned from his position as Whitehouse city manager in fall 2009.
does not want the city to dissolve the fire marshal's office, and he
believes the fire marshal should be more involved with tasks such as inspections.
Not having a fire marshal also would make it harder to accomplish a better Insurance Service Office rating, which affects homeowners' insurance premiums, he
has no hard feelings toward the city if dissolving the fire marshal's office is the direction it decides to go.
District Attorney Matt Bingham said his ...
District Attorney Matt Bingham said his office closed the investigation into Whitehouse Fire Chief Ronny Fite and former Police Chief Rick Waller after learning about new evidence.
In an email sent Thursday afternoon to Huckabee, Bingham said his office will not reopen an investigation into Fite
"If you have independent grounds to force the resignation of Ronny Fite
, which will withstand scrutiny, then you need to do so without using my office," Bingham said in the email to Huckabee.
was under investigation for financial irregularities in the fire department's budget, along with issues from when he
worked for the city, authorities said.
Authorities also were investigating other allegations against Fite, who resigned as city manager in 2009 and was terminated from his position as fire marshal effective Jan. 31.
Fite remains the city's fire chief.
Charges have not been filed against Fite
or Waller in these cases.
In the affidavit, Fite
also stated Waller was required to use his personal vehicle after his city vehicle was reassigned.
In that affidavit, Fite
said the arrangement was "known to the (former) City Finance Director/City Manager, Jed Dillingham and many others at the city."
However, in an emailed statement, Huckabee said the city had not directed the district attorney's office to close any investigation related to Fite
and possible misuse of fuel or any other criminal activity involving the City of Whitehouse
"Whether Ronny Fite
was permitting this action lawfully or whether he was lawfully obtaining city fuel himself while receiving a vehicle allowance will be up to the Smith County
District Attorney's Office," Huckabee said in the statement.
"I knew this might hurt the investigation, if something were to come of the (cases) of Fite
and Waller," Bingham said.
Fire Chief Ronny Fite is ...
Fire Chief Ronny Fite is currently being investigated for financial irregularities in the fire department's budget, along with issues from when he worked for the city, Rust said in a news release.
Other charges are pending.
As Fire Chief, Fite worked for the City of Whitehouse as the Fire Marshal and City Manager before being terminated from those positions.
City of Whitehouse - Directory
Ronny Fite City Manager