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Fire chief resigns

Commissioners accepted the resignation of fire chief Randy Snyder at their Aug. 26 meeting. Snyder has been Pike County’s fire chief ‘“ an entirely volunteer position ‘“ since May 2013. Snyder also served as interim fire chief and has been a volunteer firefighter in the county since he was 19. He was the former Zebulon fire department chief. County manager John Hanson recommended accepting his resignation and making it effective immediately instead of Sept. 8 as his letter indicated. Snyder plans to continue to serve Pike as a volunteer firefighter. ’I’d like to be assigned to a station as a firefighter/EMT so I might continue to serve the citizens of Pike,’ said Snyder. ‘My family and I have put much thought into this decision and come to the conclusion that now is the time for me to hand the department over to someone else. Given the circumstances, I’m leaving having accomplished quite a bit of what I wanted in my time as chief.’ In his letter, Snyder said the fact that files containing complaints against personnel were being discussed and passed among commissioners led him to resign. ’Commissioners have shown they have no trust in my capabilities to manage my department nor do they have any interest in making it better to serve our citizens,’ he said. ‘It’s also apparent they don’t trust my counsel in the day-to-day and future operations of my department. The recent issue involving leaked personnel information only highlights the disregard for policy, protocol and law. No other department head would tolerate the same.’ Snyder said the department budget is cut each year despite the fact volunteers save the county hundreds of thousands in salaries each year. He also noted the ISO rating may be impacted by a lack of newer equipment. ’The department is in grave need of a great deal of equipment, both everyday mandated operational equipment and life-saving rescue equipment,’ wrote Snyder. ‘We also lack any schedule for replacing apparatus, some of which is in excess of 35 years old and far out of compliance. As it stands today, the department is at a precipice, a breaking point. We’re simply unable to sell it to commissioners and community members. There’s someone out there who can do a better job at it than me. That person must be found, hired and empowered to move this department forward.’ Snyder asked that commissioners look at department personnel for a new fire chief and that a salaried chief not be hired until budgetary and equipment needs are met.

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