Okla. volunteers resign after board appoints interim fire chief

Officials said tension arose when Bugtussle Fire Chief Trevor Tannehill and board member Jered Weeks had a disagreement during a board meeting

By Lacey Sudderth
McAlester News-Capital

BUGTUSSLE, Okla. — Eight volunteers submitted resignations from the Bugtussle Volunteer Fire Department prior to last Wednesday night’s special board meeting.

Tension arose when Bugtussle Fire Chief Trevor Tannehill and board member Jered Weeks had a disagreement during the September monthly board meeting, according to Chris Trainor, who was one of the firefighters to submit a resignation.

“We were going over the business of the fire department and one of our officers said ‘the board needs to help more with the stuff we have to do,’” Trainor told the McAlester News-Capital. “One of the board members, Jered Weeks, said the board members don’t need to help because they have family and this and that.”

Among the firefighters to submit resignations were Tannehill, Trainor, Assistant Chief Blake Thompson, Captain Garrett Carrion, Cameron Stewart, Erik McCoy, and Keelyn Mouser. Board Secretary Lynn Trainor also submitted a resignation.

Trainor said the firefighters submitted resignations prior to Wednesday’s special board meeting — although the board did not put an item on the agenda for the special meeting to consider action on the resignations.

The agenda for the Wednesday meeting did call for an executive session for board members to discuss and possibly act upon appointment of a new fire chief and an assistant fire chief.

The board returned from executive session having voted Weeks as interim fire chief and Doyle Morris as assistant chief, according to Trainor.

“Our chief has put in countless hours and time,” Trainor said. “He is out there all the time doing paperwork and stuff a board member should be doing.”

Tannehill has served for the Bugtussle Volunteer Fire Department for more than 10 years — including the last six years as fire chief — and is the manager at Tannehill Furniture in McAlester.

During Wednesday night’s meeting, several firefighters asked Weeks to resign from the board to prevent future arguments, according to Trainor.

“Jered Weeks said numerous times during the September meeting that if we wanted him to step down, we should tell him and we told him that we all talked about it and we wanted him to step down,” Trainor said. “He didn’t step down.”

Weeks told the News-Capital the board will address the issue during Tuesday night’s regular meeting and will not issue a statement until after the meeting.

“We have had some officers and members resign,” Weeks said. “Those positions have been temporary filled pending Tuesday’s regular monthly meeting; the board will release a statement after that meeting.”

Weeks said the meeting is open to the public at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at the Bugtussle Fire Department at 2295 Flowery Mounds Rd.

Weeks said he has been in touch with fire department regulator Larry Morgan at KEDDO, which is the Kiamichi Economic Development District of Oklahoma, concerning the matter.

“We have been in contact with the regulators on the situation and advised them how the fire department is moving forward and they are OK with the situation right now,” Weeks said. “After Tuesday, we will have a release for everybody from the board with all the details.”

Weeks emphasized there is still fire protection and the community is still covered.

Copyright 2017 McAlester News-Capital

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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