ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Monarch firefighters are said to be shocked over the resignation of Chief Tom Vineyard, in the midst of the ongoing battle between the Firefighters Union and board members Jane Cunningham and Robin Harris.
The Monarch Firefighters tweeted that Tom Vineyard has resigned and posted a statement on their website, calling Vineyard’s resignation “a huge loss for Chesterfield residents.”
Fire Chief Tom Vineyard Resigns: A Huge Loss for Chesterfield Residents http://t.co/OwNyobrSoh
— Monarch Firefighters (@MonarchOutreach) April 30, 2014
Vineyard has been chief of the Chesterfield-based district since January of 2012.
His resignation comes two months after the retirement of assistant chief John Borgmann and one week after Battalion Chief Dave Houston stepped down.
Firefighters Union Vice President Andy Stecko says Vineyard’s resignation was very unexpected, but understandable.
“We can probably understand why he’s making the decision he’s making, with everything that’s going on in the district,” he says.
That includes disputes ranging from the union logo being placed on breast cancer awareness T-shirts, to the re-hiring of an assistant chief who’d been fired in a gender discrimination case, to a plan to install old bullet-proof police vests in the board room.
Stecko says Vineyard probably had enough.
UPDATE [9:05 a.m.]: Monarch Fire Board Director Jane Cunningham says Vineyard did not give a reason for his resignation, which is effective May 9.
She says she’s not concerned that Vineyard’s departure is coming right after those of two other high-ranking officers.
“If you look at the age of our staff that’s up there, people stay on it for 30, 40 years,” she says.
Cunningham says the board hasn’t decided if it will look to promote from within, or look outside for a new chief.
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