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Controversy Continues in Monarch Fire Protection District

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CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (KMOX) – No end in sight with the ongoing battles between the Monarch Fire Protection District Board and its employees. The latest controversy surrounds the elimination of the Public Education officer position.

In September, the Board voted 2 to 1 to eliminate Ray Antonacci’s position citing budgetary concerns. The next month, they approved expending over $2,000 for liability insurance to protect themselves and the district from litigation.

Both Board President Robin Harris and Secretary Jane Cunningham said Wednesday that the Public Education officer position, formerly held by Ray Antonacci isn’t needed and that firefighters can perform the job.

Monarch Board Treasurer Steve Swyers and Captain/Paramedic Chris Gelvin see it differently.

“We have people that can go out and do that, but if it’s not somebody’s priority to do that it’s not going to happen,” Swyers said.

“They are once again eliminating Ray’s position, eliminating a great service for the residents, ” Gelvin added.

Cunningham said the indemnity insurance is needed to protect her and the other members of the board from more litigation that could harm them.

“No one should serve on a public board and risk loosing their home, retirement, salary, car,” she said.

KMOX incorrectly reported Wednesday that Ray Antonacci was fired.

Board President Robin Harris said Antonacci was not fired, his position was just eliminated.

When asked if Antonacci would take up a new position within the organization, Harris said it was a “personnel issue” and that he didn’t feel it was appropriate for him to discuss a specific employee.

Cunningham said she “hadn’t talked to [Antonacci]” and that she has “no idea what his plans are.”

Antonacci came back from a serious motorcycle accident to earn his inspector’s permit and has spent the last nine months educating children and adults on fire safety and CPR.

He was paid $55,000-per-year.

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