- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, Ill. (AP) - The Washington fire chief who won state and national awards for his response to a 2013 tornado has announced his resignation.

Fire Chief Mike Vaughn, 55, made the announcement Thursday night after he spoke with volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians from the Washington Fire Department. His resignation is effective Nov. 1, the day after a 90-day extension to his contract expires.

Vaughn had been trying to negotiate a new contract with the board that oversees the department since his previous contract expired at the end of July. He says the board wanted to reduce his salary from $80,000 to $45,000.

“At the end of July, based on comments made by board members, I truly believed we would be able to work out an agreement,” Vaughn said in a press release.

Will Gallaway, president of the board, declined to comment about the resignation, the (Peoria) Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1zoJf5M ) reported. Vaughn was supposed to respond to the board about its latest contract offer by noon Friday, he said.

Brian Barron, a board member who represents the fire department, said the resignation is devastating.

“Few understand the impact of losing a fire chief like Mike Vaughn,” he said. “Mike has to do what’s best for him and his family. You can’t fault him for doing that.”

Mayor Gary Manier said Vaughn did a great job as the city’s first full-time fire chief in 2008.

Vaughn plans to spend more time with his family and look for a new job, he said.

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Information from: Journal Star, http://pjstar.com

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