Fire chief investigation
Fox: 'Formal charges' on policies possible this week
Mike Fox, the West Licking Joint Fire District board member representing Pataskala, said he hopes a Sept. 13 board meeting would bring an end to a months-long investigation of Fire Chief David Fulmer, who is on paid administrative leave.
"Potentially, it could be over the 13th," he said. "My understanding is formal charges will be presented at the next meeting."
Fox said the "charges" are not criminal but are points that need to be discussed. After discussions, the board will decide whether to terminate Fuller or place him back on duty.
He said Fulmer has the right to ask for an extension.
"I'm not aware of any request for (an extension)," he said.
Fulmer was placed on administrative leave May 29 following a decision reportedly made during a May 23 executive session. No public vote was taken at that time. Board members then met in an emergency session June 4 and voted 5-0 to place Fulmer on administrative leave.
Fox previously said the board's legal counsel, Marc Fishel of Columbus-based Downes Fishel Hass Kim, advised members not to discuss the reasons Fulmer was placed on leave other than to say it was not a disciplinary action for any sort of malicious intent but rather for policy disagreement between Fulmer and the board.
During a special meeting June 7, the board hired R.L. Emmons and Associates, a Centerville-based investigative services and legal support team, to investigate Fulmer.
According to information received last week from a public-records request, Fulmer was interviewed about the following topics, which might not reflect the formal charges:
* Failure to submit a zero-based budget.
* The purchase of 50 challenge coins.
* A change to a 19-day schedule.
* Divided purchase orders.
* Signing his own purchase orders.
* Costs incurred in exploring a new fire station.
* Misplacement of a cellphone.
* Reporting his work hours.
* Employee vacation policies.
* Use of a credit card and his relationship with vendors.
* Whether Fulmer submitted purchase forms in timely manner.
* Questions regarding on-call pay.
* Whether he changed the date on a leave sell-back request.
Fox said he is ready to close the investigation.
"We're paying this man," he said. "It gets frustrating."
He said specific laws dictate how the investigation process must proceed and it takes time. He said board members would have been unwise to hurry the investigation, and they are relying on attorneys and R.L. Emmons and Associates to ensure that the entire process is handled legally.
"We're staying at arm's length on this one," he said.