- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

SHELBY, Iowa (AP) - A dispute over control of firefighter fundraising proceeds has ended, so some volunteer firefighters who’d been dismissed have been reinstated by the City Council in the western Iowa town of Shelby.

The fire chief has rescinded his resignation and also has returned to duty, according to The Daily Nonpareil (https://bit.ly/1zajgNT ).

The city had dismissed 11 firefighters on Jan. 26 because they wouldn’t abide by a City Council decision that the department’s $40,000 in fundraising money had to be under council control. The city attorney had said all sources of department revenue, including money from fundraising, were public funds and were subject to the same rules as tax revenue.

The dispute ended because the firefighters decided to honor the council’s wishes and turn over the money to city control.

The city of about 650 residents relied on mutual aid from the Avoca and Minden volunteer fire departments during the dispute.

City Councilman Bob Richmond told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the fire chief, Eric Wendt, contacted him after having second thoughts late last week. Wendt said he and some other firefighters had ceded control of the fundraising money to the city, Richmond said.

The council met in a special session on Sunday night and reinstated three of the five active firefighters who’d been dismissed, Richmond said. Wendt also returned to duty, but as assistant chief. It’s unclear why he has taken a lesser position. Wendt couldn’t be reached to comment on Tuesday.

The rest of the department’s active and inactive firefighters have been invited to return as well, Richmond said.

The council also accepted 17 more volunteers into the department on Sunday, he said.


Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, https://www.nonpareilonline.com

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